When a baby arrives, everything changes for these new parents. Suddenly, they have someone else to take care of and provide for. There is someone who will keep them up at all hours of the night. This someone also cries a lot and needs very special care. But even though it seems like a huge challenge, for most parents, it's totally worth it. Especially when they see their baby smiling, rolling over, and learning to do many other things.
When it all happens for the first time, parents have loads of questions for their pediatricians. They want to know how long their babies need to sleep, how often they need to feed them, how to make sure that the little one is fine, and what to do if something goes wrong. In fact, what should be considered wrong anyway? What degree of fever is bad for the baby and what's a safe level to wait out? What kind of stool is fine and what should cause a serious concern?
The questions new parents ask are, at times, endless. But some parents are embarrassed to ask some of them, or they don't want to reach out to their pediatrician to ask every teeny detail on how to take care of their baby.
For this reason, we've gathered the most frequently asked questions all new parents have at some point, found answers of professional pediatricians, and listed them in this article. Go ahead and read it to know what to do in any situation!
20 In What Cases Should I Call A Doctor?
It must be the first and foremost question that concerns all new parents. "Should I call a doctor if anything unusual happens? Or should I only call in emergency cases? And what cases should I consider an emergency?"
Of course, there are situations where parents can help the baby relieve their unpleasant symptoms by themselves. For instance, doctors say that "between three and six months, for mild illness with or without fever, a parent may administer acetaminophen for a few days." If symptoms continue, it's highly recommended to take the baby to a doctor. In addition, if an infant is too irritable to sleep or eat for a few days, or has diarrhea or vomiting, it's also the time to call a specialist.
19 What Should I Do When My Baby Has A Fever?
The majority of calls to a pediatrician's office come from the parents whose babies have a fever. But is it necessary to call any time an infant has a fever, or are there instances when parents can deal with it by themselves?
In fact, any infant three months or younger should be seen by a doctor right away in case of any fever. If the baby is older than three months, specialists say that parents should call a doctor if the fever becomes too high (over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit for babies under 3 months old and over 104 degrees for babies older than 3 months old).
If the temperatures are lower, parents can give their baby acetaminophen. It'll reduce the fever by one degree and let the little one sleep comfortably.
Important note: Talk to the caregiver about the medication and its dosage before giving it to the baby.
18 Why Should I Swaddle My Baby?
Swaddling is a comfort measure for babies. It lets them feel soothed because it reminds them of how they felt while in the womb. For this reason, it helps them sleep better.
Typically, it's recommended to swaddle a baby up to four months of age. Meanwhile, parents should watch the child carefully to know when to stop doing it. As soon as the child learns how to roll over by themselves, parents need to stop swaddling them. If a swaddled baby turns on their belly, they'll lie down on their face and won't be able to turn back, because their hands will be restrained.
Alternatively, it's also possible to swaddle a baby below their arms, so that their arms and hands are free. But if it's no longer comforts a child, swaddling should stop.
17 Why Is My Baby Crying?
Most often, there's nothing wrong when a baby is crying, because it's the only way they can express their emotions. But it doesn't mean that parents shouldn't pay attention to a crying baby. Instead, it's necessary to understand what the baby wants. Perhaps it's the time to feed them or change their diapers, or maybe the baby's hot or cold. At times, of course, crying can mean that the baby's unwell. So it's also recommended to check for any symptoms of a medical issue.
In any case, parents gradually learn to understand what the baby's crying means in every situation and deal with it accordingly.
16 When Is It Safe To Start Taking My Baby Out?
If the baby and the mother are feeling well, it's perfectly okay to start going out a few days after returning home from the hospital. Fresh air and movement of the baby carrier will be beneficial for the baby and help them sleep better. Just make sure to dress the little one properly and avoid going out if it's too cold or too hot.
You should remember that at an early age, babies are susceptible to germs because their immune system is only developing. So don't take the baby to a mall or a supermarket during the first six to eight weeks and avoid crowded places.
And, of course, anyone who wants to hold the baby needs to wash their hands first.
15 Should I Be Concerned If My Baby Is Spitting Up?
Most parents get scared if their baby's spitting up after most meals. However, it doesn't necessarily mean that the kid is having a medical problem. In fact, regurgitating is normal for over two-thirds of healthy babies. Most likely, your infant will outgrow it by the age of 1. You can help the baby with it and relieve their unpleasant symptoms if you eat less spicy and fatty food (if you're breastfeeding) and if you feed them smaller and more frequent meals.
But if spitting up is accompanied by poor weight gain, irritability, and sleeping problems, check your baby with a doctor and see if there're any problems.
14 Should I Wake Up My Baby To Feed Him?
Most parents are afraid of waking their babies up when it's time to feed them, thinking that when the baby's hungry, they'll wake up on their own and cry. However, this is not true. Specialists say that in the first few weeks of life, the baby can't tell if they're hungry. It means that feeding must be regular. The parent needs to feed their infant every few hours and wake them up if they're sleeping.
As they grow, babies will need less frequent meals and it won't be so necessary to wake them up that often to feed them. But it's better to do it during the first weeks in order to ensure healthy weight gain.
13 For How Long Should I Breastfeed My Baby?
It's up to the mother to decide when to stop breastfeeding her baby because a number of personal factors affect this decision. However, according to expert opinion, for a baby to get all the possible benefits from the mother's milk, it's recommended to breastfeed them for 6 months exclusively (with no other fluids or solids) and for 12-24 months combined with other foods.
But the actual amount of time can differ from situation to situation, from mother to mother. Some mothers need to go to work soon after giving birth and for others, breastfeeding can cause certain problems. For this reason, it's a personal choice of every mother. So remember how important it is for your baby to get all the nutrients out of your breastmilk and continue breastfeeding for as long as you want.
12 When Can I Start Giving Supplements To My Baby?
Even when the baby is breastfed, it's recommended to give them vitamin D supplements, because breast milk doesn't always provide enough of it. Specialists say that the baby should receive a dose of 400 international units of this vitamin a day. As soon as the child turns six months old, you should also give them a multivitamin supplement that contains vitamin D and iron.
But if you're feeding your baby with baby formula, you most likely don't have to give them any supplements. Most formulas are fortified with all the necessary nutrients to make sure of the baby's proper growth. So check with the package to see if the formula you use has the necessary dosage.
11 Can My Baby Sleep Through The Night?
Experts claim that no infant can sleep through the night. "Even the ones that quietly proceed through the night without waking their parents are waking about every hour and a half," specialists say. As infants grow, these sleep patterns go away and they are able to sleep longer hours.
Parents also need to know that, overall, babies sleep about 16-18 hours a day. Most of this time, they sleep during daytime. To help them set proper day and night patterns, during the day parents should put them to sleep in a common room where they're performing their daily activities, and keep the night time quiet and dark.
10 How Do I Take Care Of My Newborn's Umbilical Cord?
Normally, the umbilical cord should fall off within 1-2 weeks after the baby is born. Until then, parents need to see that it's kept clean and dry. "As it starts to crust and/or fall off, and you want to clean it, use a small amount of rubbing alcohol a couple of times a day," specialists say. "If you notice a lot of redness or foul odor, have your baby seen by the pediatrician."
Don't be afraid to touch the umbilical cord, Because it doesn't have any nerve cells, so you won't hurt your baby. Just make sure that you don't put too much alcohol on it and don't tug on it.
9 What Should I Do If My Baby Has A Rash?
Most parents become worried when they see that their baby is starting to get a rash. However, in most cases, it's nothing to be worried about. It's common for babies to get rashes, especially on their cheeks. They can develop it when they're only a few days old, because their sensitive skin is adapting to new conditions. In this case, it'll go away by itself within a few weeks or months. Rashes can also be caused by food allergies, so you should watch your own (if you breastfeed) and your infant's diet. Consult with your pediatrician to make sure you know what foods are safe to eat.
However, if the rash doesn't go away and is accompanied by other symptoms, you should see a doctor.
8 How Often Should I Feed My Baby?
Specialists recommend feeding an infant every three hours (sometimes more often). As the baby grows older, they'll need to eat less often. This means that during the first month, the baby needs to be fed about 8 to 12 times a day, and when the baby is 4 to 8 weeks old, they'll require 7 to 9 feedings.
Feeding sessions can take as long as a whole hour at first, but they'll become shorter after some time. "Within a few weeks, your infant should be done within 20 to 30 minutes," specialists say. If it takes longer, most likely they're doing it only for comfort, so you may give them a pacifier instead of a bottle or your breast.
7 I Find It Hard To Breastfeed. Will It Get Easier?
Most women feel uncomfortable breastfeeding their baby during the first 2-3 weeks. The main discomfort is caused by the baby hurting mom and causing irritation. For this reason, some new mothers can get so uncomfortable that they decide to stop breastfeeding their baby.
However, this issue is not the reason to give up breastfeeding. Specialists say that the discomfort usually goes away after the first 2-3 weeks. Moms won't be so sore anymore and their baby won't gorge themselves as much. Besides, you'll learn to recognize the signs that your little one is full and end the feeding earlier.
6 If I Want To Use Formula, Which One Should I Choose?
The answer is simple: choose a high-quality one. Most doctors recommend a formula made with cow milk, but if the baby is allergic to it, you can also buy a soy based one. Make sure that you read the ingredients list and guaranteed analysis attentively and choose the formula that contains everything your baby needs.
An important rule is to stick with the brand as soon as you choose one. Don't interchange the formulas, because every time you make changes to your baby's diet, their digestive system needs to adapt to the new food. It may lead to some discomfort for the baby as well as increased fussiness.
Therefore, if you want to change a baby formula, do it only when it's absolutely necessary and consult your pediatrician about it beforehand.
5 Why Should A Baby Sleep On Their Back?
First of all, it's absolutely necessary that an infant sleeps on their back because if they sleep on their belly, there's a risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) because of suffocation. So be sure to put your baby on their back into the crib and check on them a few hours later to make sure that they didn't turn themselves on their side or belly. Only when the baby learns to roll over can you let them sleep on the side.
Additionally, don't put anything else into the crib until the baby is about 5 months of age. That means no stuffed toys, pillows, or blankets (they can be a suffocation hazard). The only thing that should be in your baby's crib is a good firm mattress.
4 My Baby's Poop Is Weirdly Colored. What Does It Mean?
Baby poop actually comes in all kinds of colors. So don't be afraid if you see something that looks like a rainbow in your little one's diapers! If you breastfeed your baby, their poop will be yellow or mustard color, and if you feed them with baby formula, it's going to be darker. But still, the infant's stool can vary at times and turn green or brown. So don't fixate on the color of your baby's poop!
But keep in mind that there're three colors that signify that something's wrong with the baby. If the poop is red (blood), black (old blood), or white (a liver problem), contact your pediatrician immediately.
3 Should I Sterilize Bottles And Pacifiers After Every Use?
In a perfect world, all parents should sterilize everything their baby puts into their mouth. But if you fail to do it every single time, it's okay. You can wash your baby's pacifiers and bottles with warm water and soap and sterilize them overnight. This way, you will kill most bacteria that got into them during the day.
It's also important to remember to wash your hands with soap before you hold your baby and never, ever "clean" your child's pacifier or bottle by putting it into your mouth. Pediatricians say that it can be bad for the child, because "a human's mouth is the germiest one on the planet—even worse than a dog's!"
2 Is It Okay If I Hold My Baby All The Time?
The truth is, nothing bad will come of this. "Evolutionarily speaking, babies are meant to be held. That's why they're so cuddly and irresistible," pediatricians say.
However, there's an important detail that you need to keep in mind if you decide to hold your little one a little longer. It's okay to do it during the day, but when it comes to night time, it's better not to hold your baby too often. This is because it can interfere with their sleep and keep them from drifting off by themselves. Besides, it can lead to them waking up during the night more often, and you certainly don't want that.
So it's better to put your baby in their crib when they're drowsy but still awake. This way, they'll learn to fall asleep by themselves and will sleep deeply.
1 How Should I Dress My Baby?
The general rule of thumb is to have your baby dressed in one more layer of clothes than you do. This means that if you're wearing only a t-shirt, your baby will need a t-shirt and a light jacket. If you're wearing a t-shirt and a jacket, your baby will need a blanket along with these clothes. So it's rather easy to figure out what clothing your baby will need for a walk. But, remember not to overdo it. Try not to put on too many layers on them.
It's also recommended to put a bonnet on the baby's head when you're going outside. This way, the little one will stay nice and warm all the time.
Sources: Babble.com, Babble.com, BabyCenter.com, Mom.me, Babble.com, ClevelandClinic.org, PregnancyAndBaby.com, Babble.com, ClevelandClinic.org, Babble.com, MotherForLife.com, Mom.me, Babble.com, Baby-Chick.com, Babble.com, NHS.uk, WebMD.com, Parents.com, Baby-Chick.com, WebMD.com, PregnancyAndBaby.com, Parents.com, Babble.com, Baby-Chick.com, Parents.com.