Newborn Care

Medium250newborn_care.jpgCongratulations! You have become proud parents! After months of preparation, pregnancy, and then labor and delivery, a moment's relief in the hospital and now reality and panic have set in! What now?

No one is taught to be a parent. What you know about parenting usually comes from your own parents, and with a newborn there will be many people offering advice. Some of these ideas may be true, and others are misconceptions. Although it will feel clumsy and can be incredibly tiring, parenting does not have to be difficult. It is important to know that it is difficult to do anything wrong as long as you show love and give stimulation.

Babies need simply to be clothed, fed, changed and cuddled. If you are worried about something the baby is doing, or about what you are doing please call the office (during office hours except for emergencies, please and we would be happy to help.

How Your Newborn Acts

The new baby is born fully equipped to carry on all functions of living, with an emphasis on eating and growing. He likes to be well-fed, warm and comfortable. He likes comfort and security. Her senses of hearing, tasting, and touch are acute but those of position and balance are poor. Her visual mechanism is intact and can see best 6 to 18 inches away, but what he sees does not really register on the developing brain; most behavior is instinctive and primitive. The baby's main fear is that of falling, and he makes clutching movements when startled. She sleeps about 75% of the day, and cries to be fed about every three to five hours. After the initial normal weight loss during the first week, he gains about five to eight ounces per week and grows about one inch per month. 

Baby's Home Environment

The baby may sleep in your room but preferably in his own, depending on your convenience and desires. It is recommended that babies be put to sleep on their back or side, and not on their stomach. The baby should learn to sleep through the normal household noises. The room should be easily accessible, light, airy, and comfortably warm. The room may be any temperature to which the family is accustomed. Your baby will accommodate to your way of living. Drafts and air conditioning do not cause illness. Additionally, the baby may be taken outdoors after one week of age. Protect the baby's skin and eyes from direct sunlight with covering or clothing.

Brothers and Sisters

Some thought must be given to instilling "pride of ownership" and enthusiasm for the new baby on the older children. If you focus too much of your attention and affection on the baby, you will foster jealousy and antagonism, particularly in the two or three year old. The moment of your arrival home form the hospital is an importantly one, for your children will have missed you very much. We suggest that you let your partner carry the baby, while you go ahead and greet the children enthusiastically. No matter how "grubby" the older child looks, she should be allowed to see and touch the baby (although having her wash her hands first is logical, and it impresses the important of being clean around the baby). Allow him to share by helping in the baby's care when possible. If you let him hold the baby occasionally he is less likely to do so at times when you are not around. It is quite safe for her to hold the baby, if she is seated in the middle of a sofa or bed with you nearby.


Except for persons with known infections such as colds, diarrhea, boils, or during epidemics such as influenza, there are no restrictions. In general, family members should be allowed to handle the baby.

Babies are Babies

All babies yawn, burp, have hiccups, pass gas, cough and cry. They may occasionally look cross-eyed. They tend to be "noisy" breathers, breathing mostly through the nose. Sneezing allows the baby to clear her nose and coughing allows him to clear his through. These are all normal baby activities. All babies do a certain amount of spitting-up. As long as the baby is growing and gaining weight, you know that he is getting plenty of nutrition and the spitting up is not significant. If there is persistent vomiting or projectile (shoots across the room) vomiting, you should call.


Your baby is born with an effective way to communicate needs: by crying. Crying represents the baby's reactions to many different situations, some of which are not readily explainable. As you become familiar with your baby you'll discover what most of the different cries mean. Crying can mean, "I'm, hungry, I'm uncomfortable, I'm wet, I'm upset or I'm bored". Your will learn that when he is upset, your voice and movement will often soothe him. Babies need cuddling and rocking. Other times they need stimulation, listening to your voice or music, or looking at your face, colors, or in a mirror. There is no benefit to ignoring the cries; you should answer them as soon as possible. At the same time, crying doesn't hurt the baby as long as you are doing all you can to respond to him. If crying for an undue length of time, please feel free to contact the office for assistance. 


Some infants may cry excessively after the first few weeks of life, drawing their legs up as if they are in pain and screaming uncontrollable. These infants are said to have colic. Although frustrating, there are several ways to deal successfully with an infant that has colic. Medications are not necessary. If your baby has colic, be reassured that your baby is healthy, and that with time the colic will resolve on its own.


In newborns and infants less than two to three months of age, fever may indicate a serious infection and should be urgently brought to medical attention. Learn how to take the baby's rectal temperature as this is the most accurate way of checking for a fever. Normal rectal temperature is 99.6 F (37.6 C) with a range of 98 F (36.6 C) to 100.4 F (38 C). A fever is a temperature above 100.4 F(38 C)

Avoid Burnout: Take Care of Yourself

It is surprising how much work it really is to take care of a newborn, and how stressful especially if your baby is colicky .For the first month or so you may feel chronically sleep-deprived. Previously-working mothers sometimes find themselves socially isolated with a new baby. These feelings are probably at their worst at one to two months when the novelty of the experience has worn off, when the baby is still awakening at night and has not yet begun to smile and has not yet become socially responsive. What can you do? Trade off with your partner or other care-giver. Get a few hours away, for yourself. By one month, recruit a reliable babysitter and make a date with your spouse or spend time with friends. Get some exercise; meet up with some friends, perhaps with other parents of newborns, for strolls, trips to the park, etc.

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