Welcoming Your Newborn

Sleep
Sleep Safety
Feeding
Breastfeeding
Formula Feeding
Skin Care and Bathing
Illness and Fever
Tummy Time
Stools and Urine Output
When to Call Us
Choosing Which Doctors You Will See
Online Resources for New Parents
More Resources

Congratulations! As a new parent, you’re on an amazing adventure, getting to know this new little person. Even if you’ve had a child before, you’ve probably discovered that no two babies behave quite the same. These first few months can be exhausting, thrilling and bewildering, all at the same time. Remember to try to get as much rest as you can. And if you feel overwhelmed, be sure to ask for help.

During the next few weeks you will be spending a lot of time tending to your baby, resting and recovering. As you get to know your baby, trust yourself and use the following guidelines to help care for your baby.

Sleep

Day and night confusion is very normal for babies in the first 2 weeks of life. They often sleep a lot during the day and have long wakeful periods at night. Unfortunately, there is no secret to correcting this situation. We recommend that at night you speak quietly, minimize socializing with your baby, and keep the lights dim. By contrast, during the day you can open the window blinds, speak in normal voices and stimulate your baby.

Sleep Safety (based on the most recent American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines to prevent SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)

  • Babies should sleep on their backs. Side sleep is not as safe as back sleep.
  • There should not be anything soft in the crib or bassinet such as a pillow, cushion, sheepskin, heavy blanket or stuffed animal that could accidentally suffocate the baby.
  • The crib should have a firm mattress with a tightly fitting sheet. Bumper pads are no longer recommended.

To promote good sleeping habits, try to lay your baby down before he is fully asleep. If this is not possible then hold him until he is asleep, but continue to try to put him down awake as he grows older. Generally, it’s a good idea to feed your baby upon wake-up, not as a way to get him to sleep.

However, a study of babies and sleep recommends delaying how quickly you respond to your baby at night for feedings compared to during the day. If you delay your response at night by a few minutes it can help break the association that babies make between waking and feeding.

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Feeding

Most babies initially feed 10 to 12 times per day. Until your baby has shown good weight gain, it is best not to let him go more than 4 hours between feeds. On the first couple of days you may need to wake your baby more than one time per day. However, by 3 to 5 days of age your baby should be waking up on his own to feed.


Breastfeeding

  • Most babies will feed every 2 to 3 hours in the first weeks of life.
  • Frequent feeding in the first 3 to 4 days will help the mother’s milk come in quickly.
  • Breastfeeding mothers need to eat a calcium-rich diet, drink approximately 8 glasses of fluids per day and continue prenatal vitamins or multivitamins. If you have a special diet such as a vegetarian or vegan diet, let your pediatrician know.
  • We recommend giving your baby a liquid vitamin D supplement of 400 units daily. Read more about vitamin D supplements.
  • If you wish to offer a bottle, it is best to wait until 3 weeks of age. At this age breastfeeding is well established, but your baby is still flexible and will be willing to take a bottle. Thereafter, offer a bottle with some regularity to keep it an option. Bottle-feeding gives the father the ability to participate in satisfying the baby’s hunger. Initially offer your baby 3 oz. of formula or breast milk.
  • Contact our office to speak to a nurse regarding any medications you may be taking.


Formula Feeding

  • If your home is supplied with city water, you don’t need to boil your water or use bottled water to make formula bottles.
  • Always make formula following the directions on the can; never give your baby diluted formula.
  • Never use a microwave to warm a bottle as it can heat unevenly and create hot spots. Submerge a bottle in a mug of hot water or run it under hot water to heat it. You can also use warm tap water to make the bottle. Always check the temperature of the formula or breast milk on the back of your hand before giving it to your baby.
  • Ready-to-feed opened formula can be kept in the refrigerator for 48 hours. Formula mixed from powder can be stored in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  • Babies can regulate themselves and should never be encouraged or forced to finish a bottle when they have shown signs that they are finished feeding.

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Cleaning Bottles and Nipples

Before first use, bottles and nipples should be boiled for 5 minutes to remove any chemicals from the manufacturing process. After that, they should be washed with hot soapy water or run through the dishwasher after every feeding.

Water
Infants do not need to be fed water. Formula is largely water in its content. If infants are hungry, it is better that you give them formula or breast milk.


Giving Vitamin D Supplements

Recent studies have shown that many people are vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone health issues and has been linked to asthma and immune system dysfunction. If a mother is deficient in vitamin D, an exclusively breast-fed infant can become deficient as well. Therefore, we recommend that parents give all breast-fed infants a vitamin D supplement orally once daily to prevent this deficiency.

This supplement is available as Trivisol (vitamins A, E, and D) 1 ml. once per day = 400 IU of vitamin D. There is also a D-vi-sol which is also dosed at 1 ml. once per day = 400 IU. It is not necessary to supplement your baby with iron so it is best to buy a vitamin drop without iron.

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Skin Care and Bathing

Babies shed a layer of skin in the first 1 to 2 weeks of life so it’s normal to see some peeling, dry skin. Any skin that appears red and cracked should be brought to the attention of your pediatrician.

Babies should be sponge bathed until the umbilical cord has fallen off and, if applicable, until the circumcision has healed. Avoid using soap on the baby’s body until the baby is about 2 weeks old. After that, use hypoallergenic baby soaps.

Powder is not recommended as it can be accidentally inhaled by the baby and get into the lungs.

Illness and fever

We worry about fever in babies less than 2 months old. If your baby is lethargic, irritable, not feeding well, or feels warm, then measure his/her temperature. The most accurate way to measure the temperature is rectally (in their rear-ends). You should call our office immediately for a temperature over 100.4° F.

To avoid illness, it is best to limit the number of visitors until your baby is older. Avoid crowded, closed-in areas such as restaurants, busy stores and airplanes. Remember that younger children can be contagious with illnesses before they have symptoms. Encourage good hand washing for anyone handling your newborn.

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Tummy Time

This refers to the current recommendation that we place babies on their stomach when awake. Since babies now sleep on their backs, we have noticed that babies are developing some flatness on the back of their head. In addition, babies can benefit from an opportunity to exercise their back muscles.

For these reasons we recommend that you sometimes place your baby on his stomach when he is awake. Place your baby on the floor on a mat or blanket to provide a firm surface on which to push. You might wish to do this for a few minutes at a time many times a day.

Stools and Urine Output

Your baby might have a bowel movement after each feeding or one stool every 2 to 3 days. The stools can be yellow, brown or green. The worrisome colors are white, bright red, and black like tar. If you see the worrisome colors call our office.

Constipation

Constipation is defined by the hardness of the stool, not the frequency of the stool or the amount the baby strains to have the stool. It is common for babies to strain when they are passing stool. If your baby has small hard pellet stools, that is considered constipation. If this occurs repeatedly, call our office. As long as your baby is eating well and urinating, don’t worry if your baby goes 3 to 4 days without a stool. This can be normal and is not constipation if the stool remains soft.

When you are breastfeeding it may be difficult to know if your baby is eating enough. One way to be reassured is by the number of wet diapers your baby has. Your baby should have a minimum of 4 to 5 wet diapers in a 24-hour period.

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When to Call Us

If you have an emergency, call 911 immediately!
For urgent after-hours situations, you can reach us 24 hours a day by calling our Emergency Answering Service: (513) 771-4279 (See below)

We are here to give you guidance and counseling in caring for your baby. We ask that you confine your non-urgent calls to regular daytime business hours. This is when we are fully staffed to answer your questions. You may always leave non-urgent questions on our answering machine and we will return your call the following day.

Get more in-depth information about when you should call us.

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Choosing Which Doctors You Will See

We are a group practice, and we manage information in patient charts so that any provider will feel comfortable seeing any patient in our practice. You may choose either a doctor or a pediatric nurse practitioner to be your child’s primary care provider. We hope that you’ll get to know several of us, and choose at least three of our twelve providers that you would like to see regularly. For your convenience, you may be able to see another provider if your preferred provider is unavailable when you bring your child in for a sick visit. If you want to see a specific provider, please make that request when you call.

Online Resources for New Parents

Child Development Institute
An excellent site for developmental information, and parenting and behavior resources.

KidsHealth Sleep and Newborns
Learn what’s normal and how to help your newborn develop healthy sleep habits.

La Leche League International
In-depth breastfeeding information and mother-to-mother support, as well as links to La Leche League organizations throughout Greater Cincinnati.

Medline Plus
In-depth information about diseases, conditions and wellness issues from the National Institutes of Health, including a guide for first-time parents.

Zero to Three
Information to help parents make the most of their babies’ critical first three years of development.

More Resources You Can Download Here

Infant and Toddler Safety Checklist
Immunization & Check-Up Schedule

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