As the parent of a newborn, you face great joys and a lot of responsibility. Your pediatrician wishes to partner with you in caring for your precious baby. Here are some practical tips to help you navigate through the first few months of life.
Seeing Your Newborn’s Doctor
Your pediatrician will see your baby soon after birth and on a regular schedule thereafter until the one-year mark. Your appointment schedule will look something like this, based on your baby’s age:
- 2 weeks old
- 2 months old
- 4 months old
- 6 months old
- 9 months old
- 12 months old
Your doctor will assess your baby’s physical condition, length, weight, and other important markers during each appointment. Your child will receive routine immunizations at these well-baby visits, as well. We use the immunization schedule published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for all our patients.
Breast- or Bottle-Feeding Your Baby
The choice is yours, but research indicates that nursing your infant for six months to one year of age optimizes nutrition, mother-infant bonding, and the newborn’s immune system. Even mom receives important health benefits when she nurses.
We have lactation specialists on staff and available to you if questions and concerns arise. Whatever feeding method you use, you should understand your baby’s feeding needs and schedule. Most little ones have milk every one to three hours, with feedings spaced further apart as they grow. As a parent, you’ll need to understand the best feeding positions, when and how to burp, and how to deal with the inevitable spit-up episodes.
Bathing and the Umbilical Cord
Your newborn will have a remnant of the umbilical cord still attached for a few days to a couple weeks. Brownish in color and hard/rough in texture, the cord stump must remain dry until it falls off. So, do not bathe your newborn right away. Rather, spot clean their body while avoiding the bellybutton area.
Also, newborn skin is delicate, and while gentle cleansing with wipes or a warm washcloth is important, overbathing irritates the skin and may even cause itchy, uncomfortable rashes.
Finally, many babies spontaneously develop a scaly scalp condition known as cradle cap. This common problem, while mysterious in origin, is unsightly but totally benign. Don’t scrub it, but gently massage it with a damp washcloth and comb to loosen it. Gradually, cradle cap resolves on its own.
Soothe and Calm
Every baby requires substantial time just to be with mom and dad. Skin to skin contact right after delivery builds strong ties with parents. Additionally, your newborn will eat better, sleep better, and develop normally when swaddled, held, and rocked. Motion soothes the baby, particularly during naptime or bedtime.
When putting baby down for a nap or at night time, place them on their back. Side sleeping has been linked to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Make sure no pillows, blankets, or toys are in the crib with the baby while they sleep. Additionally, always use a properly installed, approved infant car seat when transporting your baby in a vehicle.
Ask For Help
New parents–and even experienced ones who have a new baby–need assistance and respite. So, before you deliver, line up reliable relatives and friends to pitch in with meals, light housekeeping, errands, and whatever you need help with.
Additionally, make time for yourself. Allow your trusted assistant to care for your baby while you take a walk, go for a cup of coffee, or just relax or nap in-house. You’ll be amazed at how a little time for yourself can refresh and energize you, making you a capable and loving caregiver for your precious infant.
Complete Newborn Care in Palm Harbor, Trinity, Westchase, and Lutz, FL
At Children’s Medical Center, our highly qualified team of pediatricians provides compassionate, state-of-the-art care for newborns through 18 years of age. We strive to provide excellent care for children and families throughout our practice area.
So, feel free to call us with any questions or concerns you have regarding your newborn, or choose a location to set an appointment. Call (727) 787-6335 today.