NewbornCongratulations on the birth of your new baby! Below is some information that we hope you will find helpful but if you have additional questions please feel free to call our office at 503-297-1025. We are here to answer your questions.
Travel: Your baby should always ride in a car seat for safety in the back seat of the car. The baby should be facing backwards until he or she is two years old.
Positioning: Lay your baby on his or her back and not on the stomach or side. Vary the direction of the baby’s head is turning, so as to avoid flat spots.
Bathing: Sponge bathing should be done until the umbilical cord falls off. For bath tub baths, use water that is not too hot. Never take your eyes off the baby. Give a bath daily or every other day. Wash the face with just plain water using a soft washcloth. For the body, use a baby wash. If baby gets a rash, contact our office.
Navel: The cord will fall off within 1-2 ½ weeks. Notify us if an area of redness is greater than ½ inch appears around the cord.
Circumcision: Use Vaseline to prevent the penis from sticking to the diaper for about three days.
Color: The feet and hands may be bluish and cooler than the trunk. This is called acrocyanosis and is common during the first few weeks. As long as the rest of the baby is warm and pink, it is not of concern.
Jaundice: Jaundice is a yellow discoloration of the skin caused by the deposition of the bile pigments. This commonly occurs on the second or third day of life when the liver is not yet fully functioning and is not able to metabolize all the red cell breakdown products. If jaundice develops in the hospital, we will bring it to your attention and may draw a blood bilirubin level. If the level is high, the baby may need to go under phototherapy lights. Occassionaly jaundice will develop as late as five to seven days after birth. Examine your newborn’s skin daily in natural light to look for yellowing (yellowing of just the face is not worrisome, but if the trunk or extremities are yellow, you should let us know).
Normal Newborn Behaviors: Newborn breathing is often irregular and slow breathing alternating with periods of rapid breathing. Hiccups and sneezing are very frequent as well.
Hormone Effect: Vaginal mucous discharge and bleeding are common in newborn baby girls within a few days after birth. These are related to the maternal hormonal stimulations of the baby’s uterus. Likewise, the breast may be increased in size and even produce some milk in baby boys and girls due to the stimulation of these hormones.
Spitting Up: Spitting up is very common. Do not be concerned unless the amount of spit-up is more than an ounce (pouring out some measured formula can help estimate the amount).
Vomiting: Projectile vomiting or vomitus with a green or yellow color is abnormal and you should call us if this happens.
Bowel Movements: Newborns pass meconium, a dark, sticky substance, for the first few days. Gradually the bowel movements become more yellow or yellow to green in color and will be unformed and loose in consistency. Breast fed babies will have fairly frequent stools, especially during the first few days. They may occur as often as after every feeding (up to eight to ten per day). Diarrhea is indicated by a frequency of more than eight to ten stools per day or a large water ring around the stool. As the breast fed baby gets older, the bowel movements may occurs as infrequently as once every four or five days and still be considered normal as long as the stool is soft and the baby is not straining. Constipation is uncommon in breast fed infants but may occur in formula fed infants. With constipation, the stools have a pebbly consistency and the baby may be straining a lot. Call the office for instructions if your baby is having constipation or diarrhea.
Vitamin D: Infants need vitamin D supplements. We recommend products which contain 400 IU of vitamin D in a full dropper. Common brands include D-Vi-Sol, Tri-Vi-Sol and NOW liquid vitamin D3 drops. We discourage highly concentrated forms of Vitamin D, such as products that contain 400 IU in only one drop.
Fluoride: Ask your doctor about fluoride toothpaste if your water isn’t supplemented with fluoride.
Skin Care: Use a lotion that is hypoallergic and fragrance-free, such as Cerave or Cetaphil, for dry, scaly skin.
Diaper Rash: A good approach to prevention is frequent diaper changes (every one to two hours during the day). Be careful to cleanse the area carefully with water or a pre-lubricated baby wipe with each diaper change. At the first signs of redness, apply a thick coating of petrolatum ointment. For babies that are prone to diaper rash, it may be helpful to apply any zinc-based diaper cream after every diaper change.
Colic: Colic is the most common cause of recurrent crying and unexplained fussiness in infants less than four months of age. However, many other things need to be considered before the diagnosis of colic can be made. Colic may occur at the same time each day, and typically it occurs in the late afternoon or early evening but can occur at other times. Colic can be distinguished from other more serious causes of crying because you typically can relieve colic by comfort measures such as holding and rocking, riding in the car, or other movements. Excessive crying makes the child swallow extra air and become distended. Typically the infants in every other way are healthy and gaining weight. The colic usually goes away by four or five months of age. For more information visit www.healthychildren.org
When to Call The Doctor
For fever (rectal temperature greater than 100 degrees fahrenheit), jaundice, repeated vomiting, especially if it is projectile or green in color, diarrhea, not being interested in feeding (after five or six hours), lethargy, or any time you think something is seriously wrong with your baby. We have advice nurses available 24 hours-7 days a week.