Newborn Expo: Early Newborn Care
Dr. Heidi Johnson, Boys Town Pediatrics
Babies usually sleep about 16 to 20 hours in the first few weeks of life which is most of the time. A lot of times those times that they are awake are during the night which is not so convenient for you because you are trying to sleep at night and they decide that its daytime and they want to be awake, but that will usually work itself out within a few days to a few weeks that they'll get flipped back around and realize what is nighttime and what is day time.
We want them to be in the crib by themselves. They don't need extra blankets or pillows or stuffed animals. All of these rules are to prevent SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome.
Usually babies eat every one to four hours. They shouldn't be going more than three to four hours when they are first born. And all they need to eat is either breast milk or formula. They don't need anything else, no water or juice or food. That has all the calories and nutrients that they need.
Babies are pretty good about regulating how much they need to eat and they'll let you know when they are hungry. If they are crying and fussing, try giving them a bottle and see if they'll eat something, so they are pretty good about letting us know.
As long as they are gaining weight well, then we know they are getting enough food in and we don't have to worry about it.
Even though your baby is very little and doesn't seem to interact a whole lot at this age it is still important to play with them and talk with them. That is how they are learning and developing. They are getting that interaction and are having that bonding. At this stage you really can't spoil them. You can snuggle tem and cuddle them as much as you want.
It's also important to read to your baby. They don't really understand a whole lot right now but again it's that language and development thing and whenever babies start to making noises praise them. Be really happy for them, clap. They interpret those signs as good things and then they understand that oh, making noise is a good thing. I should make more noise. And that is sort of their early development of talking.
Dr. Heidi Johnson, pediatrician with Boys Town Pediatrics, offers information on early newborn care to new and expecting parents at our Newborn Expo.