Congratulations on your new family addition! Bringing home a newborn is such an exciting adventure – new memories will be created, a new grandchild to spoil, and a new minion for its siblings. During their first month of life we need to take special care of our new munchkins so they thrive, so let’s get down to baby basics:
1) Feeding: There’s 2 options to feed our new babies, breast milk and formula. As a pediatrician we always say “breast is best” because it provides newborns with nutrients, immunity, and reduces future allergies. Breast fed babies should eat about every 2-3hours with 15-20 minutes on the breast (try alternating breasts with each feed). Make sure the baby has a good latch where you see active sucking motions in their cheeks, as well as, swallowing along their throats.
Now, for those mommies who do not wish or cannot breast feed, it’s perfectly acceptable to use formula. I know medical professions prefer breast-feeding for the reasons I mentioned above, but my primary concern is that the infant grows well and thrives, and if formula is the way, then I am happy with that. Formula fed babies should eat about every 3-4hours, taking 1-2oz (30-40ml) during the first week of life and 2-3oz (50-60ml) by the second week of life.
2) Umbilical cord care: The umbilical cord is essentially the belly-button of the newborn. During pregnancy it allows the mother to share blood, oxygen, and nutrients with the baby. After the baby is born, the umbilical cord will slowly dry out, shrivel, and fall off around the second week of life. Make sure to keep it dry, dry, dry – no water or alcohol (exception: if it becomes red, odorous, or has discharge, apply alcohol or hydrogen peroxide and inform your pediatrician).
3) Dirty Diapers: Ok – let’s talk about the dirty D’s! The number of wet diapers a baby should have in the first week of life correlate to how old they are. Example: if they are 3 days old, they should have 3 pee-pee diapers, and so on. After the first week, you should be changing 6-8 wet diapers per day! More pee = better hydration!
Now for the poops – there will be a difference in breast fed vs formula fed poopy diapers. Breast fed babies’ poopy diapers will be yellow and slightly loose, whereas formula-fed diapers will be yellow and softly compact. There’s no specific amount of poopy diapers you should be changing, but we never want to see any red, white, or black poop (if any of those happen – immediately call your pediatrician)
4) Sleeping: A well slept baby is a happy baby. With that said, we want to make sure our sleeping angels are comfortable and secure. They should be placed in a crib or self-standing bassinet in your bedroom or nursery, laying on their back, swaddled in a onesie. Please refrain from placing stuffed animals, other blankets, or bumpers next to your baby – newborns don’t require much to fall asleep peacefully.
5) Sniffles and Sneezes: Whenever a newborn arrives, so do the visitors! Our munchkin’s body isn’t used to the germs from the outside world, so during the first month of life, minimal visitors are best. When family or friends do wish to visit, everyone must wash their hands and refrain from kissing the newborns’ face or hands. If someone coughs, sneezes, or sniffles, kindly tell them to return when they’re better, as we don’t the baby to get sick. If the baby does get sick and you think they have a fever, take a rectal temperature – a fever in a newborn is 100.4F – call their pediatrician, and take them to the nearest pediatric emergency room to evaluate viral vs bacterial illnesses.
Whew! Now that’s a lot to review! Please contact me with any questions – stay tuned for more about our Wee Ones! Happy reading! 🙂