Life with a newborn can be a fascinating, yet challenging journey. For new parents, this period is filled with joy, but also with numerous questions and doubts. This article aims to answer some of the most common questions about life with a newborn, providing insight and guidance for this incredible life phase.
- How often should my newborn eat?
Newborns have small stomachs but grow rapidly, which requires frequent feeding. Typically, a newborn baby needs to be fed every 2 to 3 hours or on demand. This includes nighttime. Breastfeeding mothers can watch for signs of hunger such as increased alertness or activity, mouthing, or crying. Bottle-fed babies generally need about 2 to 3 ounces of formula per feeding during the first few weeks, gradually increasing over time.
- How much should a newborn sleep?
Newborns sleep a lot, often up to 16 to 18 hours a day. However, they wake up frequently for feedings and diaper changes, so their sleep is spread throughout the day and night. Establishing a regular sleep routine can be beneficial, but it may take a few months for newborns to adapt to a more predictable sleep schedule.
- Is it normal for my baby to cry a lot?
Crying is a primary means for newborns to communicate. They cry when they’re hungry, tired, uncomfortable, or need a diaper change. Some babies also have periods of unexplained crying known as colic, usually starting a few weeks after birth. Colic is defined as crying for more than three hours a day, three days a week, for three weeks or longer. If your baby cries excessively or you’re having trouble soothing them, it’s always a good idea to consult a pediatrician.
- How can I ensure my newborn’s safety during sleep?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that newborns sleep on their backs on a firm sleep surface, in the same room as the parents, but not in the same bed. This practice, known as “room-sharing,” can reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Avoid pillows, blankets, crib bumpers, and stuffed animals in the crib to prevent suffocation or entrapment.
- When should I take my newborn for check-ups?
Your newborn’s first check-up typically occurs a few days after you leave the hospital. After that, most pediatricians recommend check-ups at 2 weeks, 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and 9 months. These visits are essential to monitor your baby’s growth and development, administer vaccinations, and address any questions or concerns.
- How should I bathe my newborn?
During the first week or so, until the umbilical cord stump falls off, it’s best to give your newborn sponge baths. After that, you can start bathing your baby in a small tub. Newborns don’t need daily baths; two to three times a week is usually enough. Use gentle, hypoallergenic soap and shampoo, and always keep one hand on your baby during bath time for safety.
- Can I take my newborn outside?
Yes, but it’s wise to avoid crowded places in the first few weeks to minimize exposure to germs. Dress your baby appropriately for the weather, use a car seat when traveling by car, and always keep your baby in sight when in public places.