Newborn Information

Sleep

Infants sleep the majority of a 24 hour period with brief episodes of awake time to eat.

Infants must be put on their back or side to sleep. The safest place for babies to sleep is in their own crib or basinet. Make sure the mattress is firm and there are no pillows, toys or fluffy blankets in the crib with them.

Feeding

Whether you are breast or bottle feeding your baby, this is a wonderful bonding experience between parents and infants. Make sure you hold your baby close and in an upright position.

Breastfeeding

Please refer to the Breastfeeding Info section

Breastfeeding

You should offer your newborn 3-4 ounces every 2-4 hours at 6-8 feedings a day. Try to go 4 hours between feedings at night to get some rest. Do not heat the bottle in the microwave; this can cause hot spots in the formula. The best way to warm a bottle is to warm under a faucet of warm running water. Always test the temperature of the bottle on your forearm. The formula or expressed breast milk should be room temperature during feeding. Feeding with a bottle should take no longer than 25 minutes. Burp your baby every 5 minutes or if the baby stops sucking. Be prepared with a burp cloth because most babies spit up a little bit.

Powder vs. Ready to Feed

Powder formula comes in a can or in 4 oz drop in packets. This is usually less expensive than ready to feed. Make sure you follow manufacturer's guidelines on mixing the formula correctly. You may use tap water to mix with formula if you do not use well water. If you do have well water then need to use sterile nursery water.

Bottle Cleaning

Most bottles and nipples now can be placed on the top shelf of the dishwasher. Make sure you rinse all of the dried formula out of them before you put them in the dishwasher. They do make special baskets to put nipples and nipple rings in for the dish washer. Dish soap and hot water can also be used with a bottle brush. After you wash the bottles, make sure they dry completely before storing them.

Pacifiers

These are a personal choice. Most Lactation Consultants recommend that you establish breastfeeding before offering a pacifier. Make sure the pacifiers you choose are safety inspected. Try to discontinue pacifier use by 15 months of age.

Bathing

Since newborn babies aren't crawling around getting dirty, you can bathe them less frequently that an older babies. Bathing only 2-3 times a week is sufficient as long as you clean their diaper area well after each diaper change and wipe face clean after eating

Newborn babies can not have a tub bath until their umbilical cord falls off. If they are a boy, they need to wait until their circumcision heals. Until then, they can have a sponge bath or be washed with wet washcloths.

Bathing Steps

Make sure you have all of the supplies close by before you start the bath. You will need mild baby soap/shampoo, wash cloths or sponges, a couple towels and a baby brush or comb. Start with wetting the cloth with warm water and applying soap to the cloth. Start under the neck and work your way down the body careful to not miss all of the cracks and crevices. Try to keep the umbilical cord dry at all times. Use another wet wash cloth to get the soap off of the baby. Dry the baby off and wrap body in the towel. Then with a clean wet wash cloth, clean the eyelids starting at the inner corner going out. Wipe the face with just a wet paper towel. Dry off the babies face. Finally on with the hair, Wet babies head and apply a mild baby shampoo. Massage shampoo onto scalp. Rinse babies hair and towel dry.

Umbilical Cord Care

Umbilical cords generally fall off within 14 days. This may happen sooner or later. Keep the umbilical cord dry at all times. Keep tight clothing off of it since air drying is the best way for it to dry up. No tub baths until the umbilical cord falls off. Make sure to push back the skin around the umbilical cord to expose that skin to the air. You can wipe an alcohol swab around that skin to clean off any discharge. Call the doctor if the umbilical cord has a foul odor coming from it.

Fingernail Clipping

Although their nails are soft they are really sharp. Babies' nails grow really fast. It is important to keep them trimmed so they won't scratch themselves. The best time to trim nails is while they are sleeping. You can easily tear the nails off right above the fingers, or use an emery board or nail file to file them down. Clipping a babies nails with nail clippers is not recommended until their nails are harder.

Wet and Dirty Diapers

Wet diapers are good indicators that the baby is getting enough fluids. Babies should have at least 5-6 wet diapers a day. Dirty Diapers can vary. Some babies may have up to 8-10 stools a day. It is not unusual for a baby to go 4 days without one dirty diaper at times. You should not become concerned about your babies bowel movements unless they go longer than 5 days without one, they have a watery consistency or if the stool is hard and dry. Notify the doctor if any of these occur. Breastfed babies' stools are usually very loose. Formula fed babies stools are thicker but still have a soft consistency. The color and consistency of the stool can change on a daily basis.

Car Seats

All newborns must ride in car seats facing backwards. They may face forward when they are 20 pounds and 1 year old. The safest place for your baby to ride is in the middle of the back seat. Never put a car seat in the front with an airbag. Please read all of the directions when installing the car seat in the car. It is very important to get it in very tight. You can have your car seat installed or checked at some of the hospitals or fire stations.

Fussy Baby

Always check to see what is making your baby upset. Change their diaper, make sure not hungry, or too hot or cold and make sure that the clothing or diaper is not poking him. Some babies are especially sensitive to stimulus. Be careful not to over-stimulate your baby. Babies get fussy from time to time. Here are 5 steps from author Harvey Karp MD that may help console your baby.

The 5 "S"

Swaddle securely. Babies are used to this snug, firm comfort of the mother's uterus
Side lying or Stomach Positioning in a parent's arms.
Shhhh - Make this noise in your baby's ear. White noise is calming to them.
Swing or rock your baby
Sucking at breast, bottle, parent's finger or pacifier.