Today, most healthy, full-term newborns and their mothers go home from the hospital within 48 hours of birth. When you first get home, meeting your newborn’s basic needs can seem overwhelming. Your baby will need around-the-clock help with nutrition, breathing, bowel and bladder functions, as well as keeping his body temperature normal. Don’t panic—it takes a little time to learn how to look after a newborn and to get used to being a parent with a new baby.
While you are getting to know your newborn, it is common to wonder if your newborn’s actions or habits are healthy and “normal,” especially if this is your first baby. Keep in mind, “normal” covers a wide range. Just the fact that you are at home with your baby means your baby has been checked carefully and no problems are expected. However, an important part of caring for your newborn for the first few weeks is deciding what is healthy or “normal” and when to seek medical advice or care.
The purpose of this booklet is to give you basic guidelines, not medical advice. No one should be directing the medical care of your newborn except your pediatrician or someone from your pediatrician’s office. During the first few weeks, many mothers worry about “what is healthy and normal” and when to call the pediatrician. Hopefully, this booklet will make you a little more certain about what is normal and what should be checked-out with your baby’s doctor.
For purposes of this booklet:
• the guidelines in this booklet apply to a healthy, full- term baby up to one month old.
• the “doctor bag” marks pages that refer you to your pediatrician.
• “call your pediatrician” means call during office hours, or it may be okay to wait and call as soon as the doctor’s office opens the next morning.
• “call your pediatrician right away” means call now—even if it’s 2 o’clock in the morning.
Unless your pediatrician tells you otherwise, use the guidelines in this booklet when trying to decide “should I or shouldn’t I call”. When in doubt, check it out! If it’s Friday afternoon and you are worried about your baby—call your baby’s doctor. It will give you peace of mind for the weekend.
Caring For Your Newborn
Table of Contents
Caring Begins at Birth
Your Newborn’s Hospital Check-up
Ten Fingers and Ten Toes
Special Care for Your Newborn
When Your Newborn Cries
Changing Your Newborn’s Diaper
Feeding Your Newborn – breast or bottle feeding
Feeding Your Newborn – spit ups, weight gain, BMs
Bathing Your Newborn
Dressing Your Newborn
Shhh!! We’re Sleeping
Keeping Your Baby Safe
Your Newborn’s Admirers
Taking Your Newborn Out
If Your Newborn Gets a Cold
If You Have Questions
When to Call Your Pediatrician
Take Care of Yourself, Too