As new parents you ultimately will have many questions and concerns about caring for your newborn. You are not alone. New parents have many important decisions to make, and it can feel overwhelming.
There is now so much information at our fingertips about caring for newborns that can leave you feeling confused. Especially since there seems to be contradicting advice. Let’s keep it simple by answering the most common questions parents have about caring for their new baby.
10 Questions Every New Parent Has About Caring for Their Newborn
1. How Often Does Baby Need to be Fed?
Newborn babies who are less than a week old will eat frequently. Their stomachs are very small (about the size of a bean); so, you can expect them to eat every 1-3 hours (up to 24 times per day). Once Baby gets a little older (even by 2 weeks of age) they will feed less often, about every 2-4 hours.
2.Why is my Baby Crying?
Babies cry, and it is completely normal. Newborns may cry 2-3 hours per day. Be sure that they are fed, burped, and in a clean dry diaper. If you have done these things, baby may be tired, scared, or have an upset stomach. Sometimes they just want the comfort of being held close to Mom and Dad. Learn more about why your baby may be crying and when to seek help.
3. I am Breastfeeding, how do I know if Baby is Getting Enough Milk?
Breastfeeding is unlike bottle-feeding, where you can visibly see how much Baby has eaten. With breastfeeding, that is not an option. In general, your body will produce enough milk for your Baby’s needs. However, trusting in the process can be very difficult for new moms. There are specific signs that indicate if baby is getting enough or if they need more. Read our article, “How do I Know if My Baby is Getting Enough Breast Milk?” to learn more.
4. How do I get my Baby to Sleep?
My baby won’t sleep. As you say, choking back tears from exhaustion…We have been there and understand the frustration you are going through. When baby doesn’t sleep, that means you don’t sleep either. This can leave you emotional, likely crying next to baby as you beg them to close their eyes.
Every baby is unique and therefore their sleep schedule and tactics to get them to sleep will vary. Here are some tips to help get your baby to sleep.
5. Can my Newborn Have Water?
No, newborns under 6 months old should not be given water unless advised differently by their doctor. Newborn’s kidneys and digestive tracts are still developing and by giving them water this can increase their risk of water intoxication and nutrient loss.
6. How Often Does Baby Need to Burped?
If breastfed, it is advised to burp baby when switching to the other breast and if bottle feeding every 2-3 oz. Again, every baby is unique they may need to be burped more or less frequently. When in doubt, burp more frequently, placing Baby in different positions to get all the gas out.
7. Do I Need to Wash Baby’s Clothes Before Their First Use?
Yes, baby’s clothes should be washed before wearing them. This will help to remove any potential chemicals, allergens, dirt, dust, or other harmful irritants.
How to wash baby’s clothes in a washing machine:
- Use cold water
- Select the gentle cycle
- Use a special baby laundry detergent and skip any other additives like bleach, scent beads, etc.
- Rinse twice
- Sanitize the washer at least once per month
How to dry baby’s clothes:
- Tumble dry
- Use a low heat setting
- Avoid dryer sheets and opt instead for natural wool dryer balls that are chemical-free
8. How to Choose the Right Diaper for my Baby?
Choosing the right diaper may be a game of trial and error, meaning you may need to try different brands and diaper types to find the right one. Also, keep in mind newborns (under one month of age) will go through 8-12 diapers per day.
Choosing the Right Diaper:
- Select the right size diaper size for your baby based on their weight
- Disposable versus reusable diapers
- Disposable diapers are generally more absorbent and can retain more liquid. They also are more convenient as new moms may simply not have the time to reuse and wash numerous diapers daily.
- Reusable diapers can be more cost effective but require more clean-up and will need to be changed more frequently. Additionally, they may be a bit more comfortable and better help prevent diaper rash since baby is being changed more frequently.
- Avoid diapers with added scent or lotions that may irritate baby’s bottom
9. Should I Have Anything in my Baby’s Crib (pillow, blankets, stuffed animals)?
Avoid placing any loose material of any kind in your baby’s crib. This includes comforters, blankets, loose fitting sheets, stuffed animals, etc. Your baby only needs adequate clothing to keep them cozy and comfortable while sleeping.
Newborn babies may prefer to be swaddled while sleeping, which involves tightly securing a blanket around Baby and placing them on their back to sleep.
How to swaddle your baby:
- Use only a thin (ideally cotton) blanket
- Spread the blanket out flat, with one corner folded down
- Lay the baby face-up on the blanket, with their head above the folded corner
- Straighten their left arm and wrap the left corner of the blanket over your baby's body, tucking it between their right arm and the right side of their body
- Then tuck the right arm down, and fold the right corner of the blanket over her body and under their left side
- Fold or twist the bottom of the blanket loosely and tuck it under one side of the baby
- Make sure their hips can move and that the blanket is not too tight. You want to be able to get at least two or three fingers between the baby's chest and the swaddle
10. How Often Should I Bathe my Newborn?
Newborns should be bathed about once per week and no more than three times per week. In between baths be sure to check your baby’s skin folds and use a moist washcloth to clean areas as needed.
Have More Questions About Caring for Your New Baby?
Undoubtably, you will have more questions about caring for your new baby, and we are here to help. Your physician knows best and can be your support system, answering any questions you may have.