There are so many complicated and controversial topics surrounding newborns. Nearly everyone you meet will have their opinion, and probably a few suggestions for you. When your newborn is here, however, there are some basic questions you might have that haven’t been answered yet.
Q: Is my baby eating enough?
A: As long as your baby is growing normally, you can trust them to tell you if they need more. Feed them when they are hungry. Don’t worry about the exact amount they consume. Their growth will show on the scale. Please consult with your provider if you are concerned.
Q: How do I get my baby to sleep through the night?
A: You can’t. At least, not at first. A newborn will need to eat frequently. They are also adjusting to a whole new world outside. As time goes on, your baby will learn your schedule and adjust, and will need to eat less frequently.
Q: Do newborns need a bath every day?
A: No. Babies can develop rashes and dry skin from too many baths. While your infant still has their umbilical cord stump, be sure bath time is limited to sponge baths (wiping down with a damp cloth instead of using a tub).
Q: Will I spoil the baby if I hold them too much?
A: Nope. Babies are meant to be held. They just spent 9 months growing in the womb, constantly touched and rocked. Babies don’t cry to control adults, they use it to communicate their needs. If holding your baby is a daunting task or you just need your hands free, try out wraps, ring slings, or soft structured baby carriers.
Q: Is their poop normal?
A: Newborn poop can vary from green, light yellow, brown or seedy mustard in color. Usually you can ignore the color unless it is white and chalky or thick and black or red. If you’re concerned it is abnormal, consult your pediatrician.
Q: How many layers of clothes should I dress the baby in?
A: Rule of thumb on infant dress is to put them in the same amount of layers as you have on, plus one. You can feel the back of baby’s head to determine if they are too hot. If the back of their head is sweaty, just remove a layer. If you are wearing the baby in a carrier, however, your body heat is warming them up and they usually won’t need that extra layer.
Q: How much spit up is normal?
A: Spitting up after a feeding can be perfectly normal. As long as your baby is gaining weight, there is usually no reason to be alarmed. However, if your baby is increasingly spitting up, if it seems to bother or upset them, if it is forceful, or accompanied with a hard or distended belly, you should call your pediatrician. Common reasons your baby may be spitting up are overfeeding, reflux or swallowing air while feeding.
Q: How often should I change baby’s diaper?
A: Follow your baby’s urination and bowel movement habits. Wetness and ammonia in urine and digestive enzymes in stool can irritate the skin very quickly. Some babies require 6-8 diaper changes a day while others may require 10-12. As the baby gets older, the frequency will change.
Q: I’m feeling overwhelmed with the baby and all of this information. What should I do?
A: Reach out for help! Babies don’t come with an instruction manual and no parent has the right answers. You would not be the first person to feel overwhelmed with a new baby. Ask family, friends and your significant other for help, if possible. Reach out to coworkers, your church, social groups, or hire a postpartum doula to help you adjust to your newborn.