Bringing a new baby home is an exciting and overwhelming experience. No matter how prepared you are, you’re bound to have many questions about your newborn. It helps if you have some idea of what issues come up and how to deal with them. Before your baby’s birth, or before you leave the hospital, go over this list of questions about newborn baby care with your paediatrician.
1. How can I protect my baby from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)?
Experts in newborn care say the best way to protect your baby from SIDS is to always put her down to sleep on her back. Ask your doctor about other steps you can take to reduce your baby’s risk.
We also suggest:
- Keeping soft bedding, toys, pillows, and crib bumpers out of baby’s sleeping area.
- Sleeping in the same room as your infant -- but not in the same bed.
- Breastfeeding your baby.
- Avoiding devices sold to reduce the risk of SIDS, such as sleep positioners.
- Dressing your child in a way that they won’t overheat.
2. Will my baby and I bond right away, and what should I do if we don’t?
Many parents worry if they aren’t overwhelmed by adoration at the first sight of their newborn baby. Try to be patient when it comes to bonding. These early days aren’t easy for you or your child and it will take a while to get to know each other. Talk to your doctor about what to expect.
3. When will my newborn have her first physical exam after we leave the hospital? What will happen at that first checkup?
Most doctors schedule a first checkup at age two weeks, especially for the first baby. Ask about vaccines and early screening tests your newborn will receive. All newborn babies need to be checked and begin routine immunizations by age two months.
4. How should I care for my baby’s umbilical cord stump and circumcision area?
Your doctor can give you detailed directions for caring for your newborn’s umbilical stump and circumcision area. Your doctor can also advise you what to watch for in terms of infection.
5. How much will my baby sleep, and how can I tell if he is sleeping too much?
Newborn babies sleep a lot during their early days. Your doctor will be able to tell you what is normal and whether you should wake your baby to feed.
6. How often should my baby eat, and how should I deal with any feeding problems?
Ask your doctor or hospital staff for names of lactation consultants, in case you have any breastfeeding problems. A qualified consultant in newborn baby care will help you and your baby get off to a good start. Breast milk is the “perfect food” for newborn babies for at least the first six months of life, and thereafter for as long as mother and baby desire. It provides benefits, such as protecting against infections through the transfer of maternal antibodies, that no formula can.
7. How often will my newborn go to the bathroom, and how will I know if there are problems?
Elimination is right up there with sleeping and eating on a newborn’s list of activities. Your doctor can tell you what problems to watch out for.
8. When and how often should I bathe my newborn?
Ask your doctor when you should give your baby her first bath, and about basic infant hygiene. Don’t overdo it: newborn babies don’t have an opportunity to get very dirty, and too much bathing can irritate delicate skin.
9. How can I tell if my baby has jaundice? Are there other newborn health conditions I should watch out for?
Many newborn babies have mild jaundice because their livers are not fully developed. Ask your doctor about jaundice and other newborn health conditions.
10. When should I call the doctor?
Find out what symptoms or behaviours warrant a call or a visit to the doctor.