Expectant Parents: Frequently Asked Questions
What medications and tests should I expect my baby to receive in the hospital?+
- Your baby will receive a Vitamin K shot, which helps prevent bleeding after birth.
- An eye ointment containing Erythromycin will be applied. This will prevent infections that could damage your baby's eyes.
- Your baby will receive the first of a series of three Hepatitis B vaccinations. This series of vaccinations helps reduce the chances of your baby getting Hepatitis B, a serious liver disease that could lead to cancer.
- Additionally, your baby will be screened for additional treatable diseases. This screening will be repeated at your baby's two-week checkup to make sure that all is well.
How often should I feed my baby?+
- Before your milk supply is established, you should breastfeed your infant whenever your baby is hungry, which will generally be every 1-1/2 to 3 hours. As your baby gets a little older, she will nurse less often. Newborns should not go more than 4 hours without feeding, even overnight. This means that even if your baby doesn't wake up hungry at four hours, you should still wake him up to feed him.
- Breast milk digests very easily and moves through your baby's digestive system fairly quickly, so you should expect your newborn to nurse 8 to 12 times per day for about the first month.
- By the time your baby is 1 to 2 months old, nursing will probably be down to 7 to 9 times per day.
When should I start feeding my baby solid foods, and what foods should I start with?+
- Most infants don't need solid food before 6 months because they receive all the nutrients they need from breast milk or formula.
- However, you can try sooner if your baby shows signs that she's ready, such as mimicking your mouth movements while watching you eat or grabbing your food. However, if she still doesn't seem interested at 6 or 7 months, don't try to force-feed her. The most important goal is to encourage the development of a healthy attitude toward food.
- In the beginning, try foods that are close to breast milk and formula in consistency and taste, such as rice pudding or mashed bananas. Try putting a little on your finger and then using your finger to put a little bit on your baby's lips, then let her suck your finger. Gradually increase the amount while watching her facial expressions; if she grimaces and spits it back out or if she turns her head away, try again in a few days.
- As he gets more used to these foods, you can begin to expand the menu.
What can I expect in my baby's diaper?+
- Your baby should have a bowel movement within the first 48 hours of life. A baby's bowel movements will differ from one day to the next. Most infants will have several bowel movements in one day, but will sometimes go all day without having one. As long as their stool is soft and there is no blood, everything is normal.
- Your baby's stool will start off blackish brown and will change to green to yellow over the first week or so. Although the color can be expected to vary, call your baby's doctor if you see blood in the stool.
- Babies will pee several times a day, and almost every time they nurse. Over the first few days, you may notice a reddish tint in their urine. This is normal and is caused by crystals in their urine; however, if you have any concern that it may be blood, please call your baby's doctor.
Why does my baby cry?+
- Babies cry to communicate. They may cry because they are hungry, because they are in pain, because they are tired and sleepy, because they feel fear, because they just want to be held, and for any number of other reasons. Sometimes they even cry for no reason at all.
- A crying baby can be stressful for a parent. But crying is their only method of communication. NEVER SHAKE a baby. Shaking a baby can cause severe and permanent brain damage. If the crying is getting to be too much for you to bear and you are losing your temper, set your baby down in a safe place and walk away. Find a quiet place where you can calm down.
- If your baby simply will not stop crying and does not need to be changed, and will not eat, don't hesitate to call your pediatrician.
- For more information on why babies cry and how to soothe and calm them, visit BabyCenter.com