Guidelines for newborn care from Dr. Kevin Dahlman, Medical Director of Aurora Children's Health
They are some of the most commonly asked questions of pediatricians.
While the answers might seem obvious, old wives tales and myths sometimes can get in the way for a new parent.
Dr. Kevin Dahlman recently visited with the CBS 58 News at 4 to answer basic but vital questions in easing a newborn's arrival home.
How often and how much should I feed my newborn?
·While the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months, that's not possible for every mom.
·Whether you are nursing, feeding your baby formula, or doing a combo, talk with your pediatrician about your strategy to make sure your newborn gets the nutrition he needs.
·Oftentimes babies who breastfeed eat on demand are able to instinctively regulate their calorie intake - eating when hungry and stopping when full.
·Bottle-fed babies are more prone to feeding on a schedule. You can see exactly how many ounces bottle-fed babies consume, which helps caregivers regulate feedings.
·Depending on the feeding strategy you follow, ask the pediatrician how frequently the average infant nurses at your baby's age, or how much formula the average infant consumes daily. And ask about recognizing your baby’s cues of hunger and satiety to help you keep his eating habits within the normal range.
What should I expect to find in my baby’s diaper?
·Once your baby is feeding well, he/she should produce about eight to ten wet diapers a day.
·If your baby doesn't seem to be producing many wet diapers, ask your pediatrician to make sure things are moving in the right direction.
·As for newborn poop, there is a lot of variability in frequency, color, and consistency - and it changes as your baby gets older and starts eating more. While there can be many acceptable shades of poop, be sure to tell your pediatrician if you see stool that is red, black, or white, since these could, in rare cases, signal a medical issue.
How can I make sure my baby is sleeping as safely as possible?
·Experts recommend you put your infant to sleep on his back to reduce the risk of sudden infant-death syndrome (SIDS)
·Swaddling is safe if done correctly.
·Consider removing pillows and blankets from the baby’s crib/bed and adding a guardrail to the side of the bed.
·It is okay for newborns to fall asleep in their car seat as long as you keep the seat in the car or flat on the ground - not up on a table.
Are my newborns sleeping patterns normal?
·Most newborns sleep at least 16 hours per 24-hour period, but sleep patterns vary widely from baby to baby.
·Help your baby differentiate daytime to nighttime by keeping the house bright during the day and dark during the night so the baby learns to understand that sleep is for nighttime and alert periods are for daytime.
·Depending on your baby's weight and age, some pediatricians suggest waking newborns after 4-5 hour stretches of sleep in order to fit in feedings and keep weight gain steady.
·Once your baby has reached a certain weight and/or age, your doctor may tell you to let your baby sleep at night for as long as possible so that you can all get some much-needed rest.
How do I care for my baby’s Umbilical Cord?
·While you'll be happy to know that most pediatricians now recommend that you simply leave the cord alone to dry and fall off (within one to three weeks), you'll probably want to ask your baby’s doc to show you how to handle it and how best to keep it clean.
·If you notice any signs of infection, such as oozing, let your doctor know.
How should I bathe my baby?
·In your newborn's early days, there is no need to fill up the tub. In fact, it's a good idea to hold off on full baths until the umbilical cord dries up and falls off. Similarly, if you've circumcised your boy, doctors usually suggest avoiding full baths until that area has healed.
·Sponge baths are the way to go, paying special attention around the mouth, behind those little ears, under the arms, between the itty-bitty toes and skin folds, and to the diaper area.
·Newborns usually only need a bath 2-3 times a week with just a touch of an extra-gentle fragrance-free cleanser.