New Baby Tips – Some Frequently Asked Questions From New and Expecting Mothers

say what babyWhat Equipment will I need before I leave the hospital with my infant?

Before your infant goes home from the hospital, you will need a car seat, formula bottles (if you are not breastfeeding), rectal thermometer, nasal aspirator/bulb suction, and diapers.

What constitutes a newborn emergency?

Some things which may not constitute an emergency in an older child are a cause for concern in a baby under 3 months of age. Please call us immediately if you feel there is any problem with your baby or if your baby has any of the following:

  • A rectal temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or more or 98 degrees and below
  • A sudden decline in feeding pattern lasting over two consecutive feedings (6-8 hours)
  • Persistent crying lasting over one hour without interruption
  • Significant vomiting (not just spitting up) or spitting up green material
  • Diarrhea/frequent loose, watery stool
  • Jaundice/yellow color of the skin, eyes
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Unusual rash
  • Listlessness
  • Color changes

What is the importance of newborn temperatures?

Fever or low temperature in newborns is a sign of illness and requires immediate evaluation. For this reason, getting an accurate temperature is very important. The temperature does not need to be taken routinely, but should be taken anytime you have concerns about the baby. If your baby feels warm, is fussy, is not feeding well or you see any signs that cause you concern, you should measure the temperature. A rectal temperature is best for newborns.

How do I take a rectal temperature?

  1. Clean the end of the thermometer (do not rinse with hot water)
  2. Put a small amount of lubricant (petroleum jelly) on the end
  3. Turn on the thermometer and insert the tip .5 to 1 inches into the anal opening
  4. Hold in place for 1 minute, until you hear a beep
  5. Remove the thermometer and check the digital reading

How much should I feed my baby?

Every baby is different and feeding efficiently takes practice for a new baby. Additionally, nursing mothers will not know exactly how much the baby is getting. Most full term, bottle-fed newborns are taking 2-3 oz per feeding by the end of the first week of life. The best gauge of adequate feeding is a satisfied baby along with frequent stooling and urination.

How much should my baby sleep?

Sleep requirements vary greatly, but most newborns will sleep an average of 17-18 hours per day in the first week. As the baby becomes more alert, the amount of sleep will decrease to around 15-16 hours/day in the first month. Don’t expect this sleep to be continuous, as most newborns will only sleep for short intervals at a time, in between feedings.

When will I get my own sleep?

Parents will always enjoy better sleep when the baby starts to sleep for longer intervals. Most babies start to sleep better by the end of the first month and about half are sleeping continuously through the night (7-9 hours) by 2-3 months. If things are not getting better by that time, then you should talk to your physician about some ways to improve the baby’s sleep pattern.

What do I do about the umbilical cord?

Different hospitals give different recommendations with regard to cord care. Some may have you do nothing while others recommend cleansing with an alcohol swab. The goal is the same: to keep the cord clean and dry so that it falls off by itself over 1-4 weeks. You may notice a clear to slightly blood-tinged discharge oozing from the navel for a few days after the cord falls off. You should call your physician if there is drainage that lasts longer than 2-3 days, has a foul odor, or if there is redness in the skin surrounding the cord.

How many diaper changes will my baby need?

This varies depending on the urination and stooling pattern of the baby. Change the diaper whenever the baby is soiled or wet. Initially this will probably be every feeding but usually gets less frequent when the baby gets older.

How often do I clean my baby?

You will be cleaning the diaper area frequently, so bathing often isn’t necessary. Bathing every few days is fine. Giving a bath can be enjoyable and soothing, however, so giving one each day as part of the baby’s routine is also okay.

What is your Circumcision philosophy?

This is a cultural decision. Medical benefits including a decreased risk of urinary tract infections and penile cancer are negligible as these disorders are so rare to begin with. It is, however, a decision that should be discussed prior to delivery of the baby. That way you are not put on the spot to make this decision immediately after the baby is born.

What do I do if my son is circumcised?

Clean the circumcision site gently with plain water, and then apply a small amount of antibiotic ointment (usually supplied by the hospital) or petroleum jelly with each diaper change. Continue this for 2 to 3 days after the procedure and keep the diaper loose until the area is healed. It is normal for the circumcised area to have a slight amount of bleeding for several hours after the circumcision. If the bleeding continues after you get home, you should call your physician. Some yellow scabs may form around the penis, stay for about one week and should not be removed. This is a normal part of the healing process.

What is your breast vs. bottle feeding philosophy?

Breast feeding is always the healthiest choice for both mother and child. We have a lactation consultant on staff that all breastfeeding mothers see to help with any problems they might encounter.

Am I breastfeeding the right way?

Breastfeeding is a natural process, so if things feel right and your baby seems satisfied, is urinating, stooling, and gaining weight, then those are all good signs that you are doing well. Involving a lactation consultant in the initial weeks of breastfeeding is recommended can be very helpful, even if there are no concerns about the feeding.

What does all the crying mean?

Crying is a baby’s way of communicating and could mean any number of things from hunger to discomfort. Over time, as you become in tune to your baby’s temperament, you will get a better idea of what the crying means. If it is prolonged however, and the baby cannot be consoled, you should seek the advice of your physician.

How can I soothe my baby?

Rocking, swinging, playing music or any number of things may be helpful in soothing your baby. Sometimes a baby just wants to be picked up or carried. In the first few months of life, you cannot “spoil” your newborn, so you must attempt to console in whatever way works. A great book or video called “The Happiest Baby on the Block,” by Dr. Harvey Karp gives great recommendations on ways to soothe crying babies and get them to sleep for longer intervals.

Choosing your child’s health provider is one of the most important decisions you can make affecting your child’s normal growth and development. Please use this webpage as a guide and a resource as you choose the right practice for your family. Most parents begin by visiting our office and meeting with our staff. These complementary visits allow you to observe our offices in person and to talk to a doctor about your concerns. Many expectant parents have questions about immunizations, circumcision, breastfeeding, bottle feeding, and newborn care.

Contact Us (859-525-8181) if you have any questions or would like to setup a complimentary visit!

Pediatrics of About Pediatrics of Florence

We believe that children are more than just “little adults.” They have unique personalities, challenges, and life circumstances and we have made every effort to make our offices and care as “kid friendly” as possible. We have an aquatic theme in the waiting rooms (separated for sick and well children) as well as themed examination rooms. All of our physicians are Board Certified Pediatricians and members of the American Academy of Pediatrics and our nurse practitioners are all licensed Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and are available to see both well and sick children.
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