Newborn Handout

Helpful Tips For You And Your Newborn

Photo by Humphrey Muleba

DIET

1. Newborns tend to feed-on-demand. For the first few days, try to feed the baby at least every 3 hours.
After that, some babies will occasionally have longer periods between feedings, but try not to let him
go more than 4 hours without trying to feed.
2. We encourage breast-feeding. Try to encourage at least 10 minutes per breast to allow the fatty milk
at the back of the breast to be let down. Feel free to allow your child to feed until he is full.
However, if he is falling asleep while nursing he might be using you as a pacifier. This can lead to
nipple soreness. If you are having trouble breastfeeding you can check out La Leche League
www.llli.org or ask us for a referral to a lactation consultant.
3. Some mothers prefer not to breast-feed. Infant formulas are perfectly acceptable in this case. Please
use an iron-fortified formula. Powdered formula is just as good as pre-made and much cheaper. Do
not heat bottles in the microwave – use a pan of warm water.
4. It is now recommended to supplement 400 IU Vit D (i.e. Trivisol infant vitamins) for all babies. As
an alternative breastfeeding mothers can take 6,000 IU of Vit D.
5. Some degree of “spitting up” is normal for most babies. They tend to outgrow it by 6 to 9 months of
age. It usually requires no treatment. However, if the vomiting is very forceful or “projectile”, give us
a call.
6. Many parents of newborns report their babies seem gassy. This is perfectly normal and no medication
is needed.

MEDICAL ISSUES

1. Many babies develop some degree of jaundice or yellowing of the skin. It often progresses gradually
over the first few days of life, peaks by day 4 or 5, and then starts to resolve. As jaundice increases in
severity it progresses down the body from head to toe, so that the lower down it is, the worse it is.
Babies get rid of jaundice by eliminating the chemical bilirubin in the stool. So frequent feeding and
stooling will help. If you notice increasing jaundice (especially of the eyes) after you’ve gone home,
give us a call.
2. Try to avoid contact between your baby and people with an illness or cold sores. These infections
could lead to significant illness in your child. Before people handle the baby they should wash their
hands. It’s a good idea to have a bottle of hand sanitizer in the diaper bag.
3. Hiccups and sneezing are normal. Jitters when startled are also normal. They are part of the baby’s
immature nervous system and generally resolve by 2 to 3 months of age.
4. Newborns often have some degree of nasal congestion, often present for 1-2 months after birth.
Usually no treatment is needed, but if it’s making the baby uncomfortable, you can try some nasal
saline drops, such as Ocean Spray or AYR. Place 2 drops into one nostril, wait 15-30 seconds, and
then bulb suction that nostril and repeat the process for the other side.
5. Fever is especially worrisome in an infant less than 2 months old. If your less than 2 month old baby
has a rectal temperature above 100.4, please call us right away, day or night.
6. Rashes are common. Little white spots on the nose, milia go away with time. Red circles (sometimes
with yellow bumps) called erythema toxicum typically fade around 7 days.

7. Having a baby is a great incentive to quit smoking if you smoke. Even smoking outside exposes your
baby to harmful chemicals that are carried on your clothing. We can refer you to a program
Quitworks to help you quit if you desire to make this healthy change for you and your family.
8. Between 3-12 weeks most babies have a fussy period every evening. This can last 1-2 hours. Babies
get over-stimulated throughout the day and then need to settle out before sleeping at night. You can
check that the baby isn’t hungry and does not need a change. Then you can briefly hold and re-assure
the infant and place it back in the crib. The less stimulation the better. If you continue to stimulate the
infant the 1-2hr period can stretch to 4 hours. This stage of development with fussing peaks at 8 wks
and is often gone at 12 weeks. No medication or treatment is needed.

SLEEP HABITS

1. Babies normally sleep18-20 hours a day. In the first few weeks, their wakeful hours are spent mostly
eating.
2. Nighttime sleep habits vary in babies. Most babies do not sleep through the night until 4-6 months of
age. Some sleep for longer stretches than others initially. Please feel free to discuss your questions
with us.
3. Most importantly, please remember to place your child on her back to sleep. Never place your infant
on her stomach to sleep. [This recommendation has been found to decrease the risk of Sudden Infant
Death Syndrome (SIDS or “crib death”).]
GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT
1. Babies typically double their birth weight by 6 months of age and triple it by 1 year. This is the
period of most rapid growth. Growth spurts are often accompanied by increased hunger in the infant.
2. Your baby can already focus on objects within 12 inches of her face. She likes to look at faces and
the contrast of light and dark objects.
3. Your infant should respond to sounds and smells. Although he can respond to sounds, he will not be
able to distinguish from where the sounds came.
4. You can’t spoil a baby in the first few months of age, so feel free to hold her as much as she seems to
need.

SAFETY

1. Babies typically can’t roll over until 3 to 4 months of age, but sometimes they manage to do it on
occasion much sooner, so be mindful not to leave him unattended on a changing table, bed, or sofa.
2. Crib and bassinet mattresses should be firm and any sheets should fit snugly to the mattress. Avoid
blankets or fluffy things that the baby could get her face stuck in.
3. It’s safer not to have hot liquids around the baby. You never know when you might have a spill.
4. Use an approved car seat correctly at all times, facing rearward until at least 2yrs of age or they reach
height and weight allowed by car safety seat’s manufacturer ( see attached car seat guidelines). The
seat belt should be secured firmly holding the baby in place and the car seat belt buckle should be at
the level of the baby’s armpits. You can have your car seat checked: http://cert.safekids.org
5. Keep plastic bags, pillows, safety pins, buttons, stuffed toys, and talcum powder out of the baby’s
crib and hands.
6. Do not use a microwave oven to warm the baby’s bottle as it heats the fluid within the bottle
unevenly, leading to “hot spots” in the liquid which can burn the baby’s mouth. Rather, place the
cool bottle in a dish of hot water and let it warm slowly. Test the liquid’s temperature prior to giving
it to your baby.
7. A baby’s skin can burn easily in the sun. Avoid direct sun exposure and use hats, sunshades, and
umbrellas to keep the sun off the baby.

8. Your hot water thermostat should be set below 120 degrees F to prevent accidental burn injuries.
9. Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors should be present in your home.
10. Post-partum depression is common. If you are feeling down contact us or your doctor for help. If you
feel unsafe towards yourself or your baby call 911 or proceed to the emergency room.
11. Never shake a baby. It can cause permanent damage and death.

 

READINGS

Vaccines and your child: Separating fact from fiction. Paul Offit, MD
The American Academy of Pediatrics New Mother’s Guide to Breastfeeding. Joan Meek, MD
Touchpoints – Birth to Three. T. Berry Brazelton, MD
Caring for your baby and young child, American Academy of Pediatrics.
Baby 411. Ari Brown MD

Websites

La Leche League www.llli.org Breastfeeding support
CDC Vaccine Page www.cdc.gov/vaccines
Domestic Violence Hotline 800-799-SAFE (7233)
Food Assistance WIC 1-800-WIC-1007 and SNAP www.mass.gov/snap
www.healthychildren.org Site by pediatricians about variety of health topics
App: Pediatric Symptom MD – variety of pediatric advice

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