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5 Things You Should Prepare For When Bringing Your New Baby Home

5 Things You Should Prepare For When Bringing Your New Baby Home

Barring a surprise early delivery, you have a solid seven or eight months to get ready for your baby’s arrival. But, no matter how well you lay the groundwork for a smooth transition following this life-changing event, it’s difficult to truly prepare yourself for the wonderful, demanding, and sometimes exhausting reality of taking care of a newborn. 

Fortunately, our seasoned providers at Pediatric Practitioners of Oklahoma are ready to help. Here, we explain what you can expect when you bring your baby home from the hospital, and we also discuss important aspects of newborn care, so you can be prepared. 

Your baby’s first weeks at home

Your baby is a neonate, or newborn, until their one-month birthday. Developmental changes are rapid — and many important events occur — during this intensive neonatal time. 

This is when parent-baby bonding begins and feeding patterns are established. It’s also when the risk of serious illness from certain infections is higher and congenital health problems are often first noticed.  

Preparing to care for your newborn 

Knowing what to expect can go a long way toward making routine aspects of newborn care seem less mysterious or nerve-wracking. It can also help you feel more confident and prepared as you find your bearings in the first month of your baby’s life. Let’s take a closer look at five key aspects of newborn care:

1. Feeding patterns and concerns

In the first week of life, your baby is learning how to eat, just as you’re learning how to feed them. Breastfed infants typically nurse 8-12 times in a 24-hour period, while formula-fed newborns usually consume a few ounces of formula every 2-3 hours.

Whether your baby receives breast milk, iron-fortified formula, or a combination of the two, “easy” feeding largely depends on how well your baby latches and/or suckles. You will have gotten troubleshooting tips at the hospital, and our team is always here to answer feeding questions or concerns. 

2. Diaper changes and skin care

Many new parents wonder how many diapers they can expect to change in the first week. It’s normal for a newborn to have wet, watery poop after every feed. Infants don’t produce solid bowel movements until they start eating solid foods around the age of six months.   

Newborn poop also usually changes day by day. At first, it will likely look black and tarry. Then, it will likely look greenish. Finally, it will likely be a yellowish-brownish color. You can prevent diaper rash with frequent diaper changes and gentle skin cleansing. 

3. Sleep expectations and safety

Newborn babies haven’t yet developed their circadian rhythms and don’t yet produce the sleep hormone melatonin. So, even though your baby may sleep a lot in their first weeks of life, they may also wake easily if they need to feed or need a diaper change. 

Before you bring your newborn home from the hospital, you need to have a separate, safe sleep space just for them. This will help reduce your newborn’s risk for accidental suffocation. This is often called sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).   

4. Bathing and umbilical cord care

Your newborn’s umbilical cord stump should fall off within their first two weeks of life. Given that keeping the stump dry helps it separate and detach more readily, it’s best to stick with sponge baths during this time. Using a soft, damp washcloth (no soap necessary), give your newborn a sponge bath once every three days. More frequent bathing could dry out their skin. To remove drainage from around the umbilical cord stump, use a damp cloth.  No alcohol should be used to clean the area.  It is ok and necessary to gently move the stump to clean it.

5. Infection and illness concerns 

While newborns receive protective antibodies from their mother and from breastmilk if they nurse, they’re still susceptible to infection and illness. Because newborns can get sick easily, it’s important to keep your baby away from anyone who has obvious respiratory symptoms, such as from a cold, the flu, or COVID-19. It’s also important to wash your hands frequently and ask others to do the same.

Give us a call if your baby develops a fever (100.4 taken rectally), has a runny nose that makes it hard for them to breathe (especially when feeding), or has tearing and eye discharge, which could indicate a tear duct blockage. 

Your baby’s newborn care appointment

You should see us for a newborn care visit within 24-48 hours after you and your baby come home from the hospital. At this appointment, we:    

Starting with the first-week newborn care visit, the recommended schedule for well-child visits includes pediatric exams several times during your baby’s first year of life. At the end of your first visit, you can schedule an appointment for your baby’s next appointment, usually at 2 weeks of age, followed by their one-month well check-up. Vaccines are generally given starting at 2 months of age.

If you want a great team by your side as you bring up your newborn, call 918-283-4660 or book an appointment online with Pediatric Practitioners of Oklahoma today.

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