Welcome to Parenthood!
We’ve compiled some helpful tidbits of information to get you through the first few weeks of parenthood. Parenting isn’t easy, but it’s definitely one of the most wonderful experiences in life. Be prepared to call up your reserves of common sense, patience, endurance, and humor so that you can enjoy the “fun” of the job. Babies grow into children quickly so relax and enjoy them now!
We want to see you and baby in our office one week after birth.Please call the office during office hours today to make this appointment. Some parents find it helpful to jot down questions prior to this visit.
Babies need to eat every 3-4 hrs. For the first few days, your baby will be sleepy and difficult to arouse. By the time you get home from the hospital, however, she may need to eat more frequently. Unless instructed differently, wake your baby every 3 hours during the day to eat. Never wake a sleeping baby at night! (You need the rest, too!)
Babies do some pretty amazing things which frequently concern parents.
You might notice some of the behaviors below in your baby. Most are harmless reflexes caused by an immature nervous system and disappear in 2-3 months.
- Chin trembling.
- Lower lip quivering.
- Frequent yawning.
- Passing gas.
- Noises caused by breathing or movement during sleep.
- Spitting up (small amounts) or belching.
- Startle reflex (a brief stiffing of the body in response to noise or movement).
- Straining with bowel movements.
- Throat clearing or gurgling caused by secretions in the throat (no concern unless baby has difficulty breathing).
- Irregular breathing (again, no problem as long as she is content, breathes less than 60 breaths per minute, pauses between breaths less than six seconds, and doesn’t turn blue).
- Trembling or jitteriness of the arms and legs during crying that stops with a gentle touch.
The following list outlines some of the common characteristics of newborn babies. Even though we’ve assured you your infant is normal and healthy, he still might look peculiar to you. Remember babies don’t usually have the perfect body you see in baby books until they are 1-2 weeks of age. Be assured that the physical oddities below are usually temporary and harmless. Please call us if you have questions about your baby’s appearance this list doesn’t address.
Fontanel – This “soft spot” is found in the top front part of the skull. It’s diamond shaped, covered by a thick, fibrous layer of tissue and usually pulsates with each heartbeat. It’s safe to touch this area. The Fontanel normally closes over with bone between 9-12 months of age.
Molding of the Head – Baby might have a long, narrow, coneshaped head as a result of passage through a tight birth canal. The head will return to normal shape in a few days. Scalp Hair – Baby hair is usually dark at birth and falls out at 1 month of age. Don’t worry if your baby seems temporarily bald. Permanent hair generally appears by 6 months. It might even be a different color!
Body Hair (Lanugo) – This is the fine downy hair sometimes present on the back and shoulders of newborns. It rubs off naturally. Folded Ears – Infant ears are commonly soft and floppy. They’ll be normal shape within a few weeks. Blocked Tear Duct – If baby’s eye waters continuously, she might have a blocked tear duct. It’s common and usually opens itself by 1 year of age.
Swollen Eyelids – Puffy eyes are due to pressure on the face during delivery and will clear in about three days.
Hemorrhage in the Eye – Flame- shaped hemorrhage in the white of the eye is caused by breaking blood vessels during birth, is harmless, and disappears within three weeks.
Eye Color – Permanent eye color is usually uncertain until age 6 months.
Sucking Callus or Blister – This results from the constant friction on the center of the upper lip from breastfeeding or bottle feeding. It will disappear when your child learns to drink from a cup.
Epithelial Pearls – Little cysts containing clear fluid or shallow, white ulcers along the gum line or roof of the mouth may be present. They’re the result of blockage of normal mucous glands and will disappear within 1-2 months.
Feet ‘Rimed Up, In or Out – Feet might be turned in any direction inside the cramped quarters of the womb. As long as they’re flexible and can be moved easily to a normal position, they’re normal. The direction of the feet usually straightens between 6-12 months of age.
“Ingrown” Toenails- Many newborns have soft nails that bend and curve easily. They aren’t truly ingrown, however, and resolve themselves without treatment.
Swollen Breasts – Both male and female babies often develop swollen breasts during the first week of life. The swelling is caused by Mom’s hormones from pregnancy. Ignore this condition unless signs of infection such as tenderness, general redness, or red streaks are present.
Female Genitals/Swollen Labia – Newborn girls may have a swollen labia as a result of Mom’s pregnancy hormones. The swelling usually goes down in 2-4 weeks.
Vaginal Discharge – Newborn girls may have a clear, white, or pink discharge in the latter part of the first week of life as Mom’s hormones decline in the baby’s blood. This is normal and should not recur once it stops.