Early Newborn Care
The arrival of a new baby has most parents reading up a storm on baby books, taking prenatal classes, decorating the nursery and picking out baby names. Once the newborn arrives, new parents may find they have unexpected questions. Boys Town Pediatrics offers quick and helpful early newborn care tips for new parents.
Did you know that babies usually sleep about 16 to 20 hours in the first few weeks of life? That is almost the whole day! Most babies do not start with a regular sleeping schedule and can be awake during the night and asleep during the day. Unfortunately, your baby may not sleep when it is convenient and parents should try to sleep at the same time as their baby in order to be well rested.
The first few weeks of your baby’s sleep schedule may be erratic and your baby might sleep in increments anywhere between 20 minutes to 4 hours. Try to establish a routine sleeping pattern with these tips:
- Draw the curtains when it is time to sleep and turn on lights when it is time to wake up.
- Give your baby a bath or sing a lullaby to establish a routine before sleeping.
- Develop sleep independence with your baby by laying them down awake and letting them drift off to sleep on their own.
- Make sure to put your baby in the crib by himself/herself without any additional blankets, pillows or stuffed animals in order to prevent
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Feeding a newborn is a round-the-clock commitment with most newborns feeding every one to four hours, about eight to 12 feedings a day. Breast milk or formula will provide the necessary nutrients for your newborn. Weight gain is an indicator that your baby is getting enough to eat. Parents should watch for following feeding signs from their baby:
- Signs of hunger include stirring, sucking, crying, rooting and being fussy.
- Signs of being full include milk leaking from side of mouth and turning away from the nipple or bottle.
Consider vitamin D drops for your baby if you are breast-feeding. Sometimes breast milk may not provide enough vitamin D, which helps your baby absorb calcium and phosphorus and the development of strong bones.
Even though your baby is still tiny and doesn't interact much at this early stage, playtime interaction and bonding will help the process of learning and developing. Parents can encourage this growth by:
- Snuggling and cuddling your baby as much as possible. You cannot spoil a newborn and you are reinforcing that you are a protector.
Reading to your baby. Although your baby may not understand what you are saying, you can develop language and familiarize your baby with your voice.
- Clapping, smiling and speaking in friendly tones when acknowledging your baby when he/she is making noises. This helps your baby began to understand your signs of praise as a good thing.
Check out our newborn care tips as we answer more of your baby’s milestone steps!
Newborn Expo: Breastfeeding vs Formula
Gina DiRenzo-Coffey, M.D., Boys Town Pediatrics
I'm Gina DiRenzo-Coffey. I'm a pediatrician here with Boys Town and actually right now you are sitting in my waiting room and Boys Town has asked me to come in today and talk about breast feeding versus formula.
The first few weeks are stressful. They are hard, there is a learning curve. You have to figure out what you're doing, the baby has to figure out what they are doing. Give it that time. When you bottle feed a baby you can look at the bottle and see that they took an ounce and a half, that's perfect. When you breast feed a baby you don't have that objective number.
Trust yourself ok. Give yourself a break. Give yourself a few days to a week for your milk to come in. Give yourself three to four weeks to see how it's going. If you feed your baby and they'll sleep from anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half, to two hours, that is content That is a content newborn. Don't expect your newborn to sleep more than 45 minutes, if they do that's great but don't expect it.
If your baby sleeps that long and wakes up smacking their lips, they are ready to eat again.
Breastfed babies spit up less. They are less gassy. They are less colicky. There are lots and lots of nutritional benefits and lots of health benefits in terms of infections, cancers, auto immune disease, allergic disease, and SIDS prevention.
It's always available, it's always the right temperature, it's always mixed correctly, and there is really no downside to it. Breastmilk is free, formula is not cheap ok. I will tell you that not all babies tolerate the inexpensive formulas so you get progressively more and more expensive formulas.
Do venting bottles make a difference? Sure if your baby is gulper, that get a lot of gas and is very fussy and irritable when you try to burp them, they do help.
Not every baby will take every bottle but you don't know if your baby will take the really expensive one or the really cheap one so wait until your baby gets here, use what you have. Most babies will take whatever bottle you give them if you decide to do a bottle.