Caring for a Newborn

Posted at 3:39 PM on Jun 7, 2022

Who’s new to the Northwest Family?

One of our longtime patients, Katie, and her husband gave birth to their second son in March 2022. Dr. Purifoy had the honor of caring for Katie throughout her pregnancy and now sees Baby, too.   

Like other parents, Katie and her husband have made lots of changes to accommodate their growing family. She says, “I just keep going”. Caring for two small children takes patience and lots of energy.

katie-children1.jpeg“We didn’t realize how much of a difference it is going to the same doctor, like Northwest Family Clinics. When my husband and I found out we were pregnant, for the second time, we started to see Dr. Purifoy at NWF. She was there to answer all our questions from start to finish, and it didn’t end when our son was born. She took time out of her day to visit us in the hospital. That meant a lot to us. We now bring our healthy two-month-old to see her for all his checkups. When we walk in, we feel like family.”


You have just welcomed home a new baby. While elated with joy, you probably feel a bit nervous and overwhelmed, especially if this is your first baby. It is important to remember to breathe and know that help is always available during this time. We know, each time you grow your family, it can be stressful for parents and siblings.

What to Expect When Caring for a Newborn

Whether this is your first child, or it’s been several years since having a newborn in your home, here are some things to expect when caring for a newborn:

  • Babies cry – It is normal for a new baby to cry for a total of about 2 hours each day. If your new baby is crying more than this, it is a good idea to consult your physician.

  • Babies sleep a lot – For the first few months, newborns will sleep 14-17 hours a day. However, don’t expect them to sleep through the night. It is very common for new babies to wake up every 2 hours. It takes time for a baby’s brain to mature so they sleep when it’s dark outside and wake when it’s light outside.

  • Newborns poop daily – If your baby is not pooping at least once per day, you should talk to your doctor. Breastfed babies often poop more often than formula-fed babies.

  • Change baby’s diaper every 2-3 hours – In addition to pooping, your new baby will pee every 1-3 hours, so you may need to change them more frequently. If babies go too long between diaper changes (especially if they pooped), you may notice a diaper rash.

  • New babies eat every 2-3 hours – The amount they eat will change as they grow. They often start eating only about a thimble amount in the first few days of life and then eat 2-3 ounces per feeding by 1 month of age. If you are breastfeeding, you should equally allow them to feed from each breast for 10-15 minutes each.

  • Their necks are not fully developed – You will need to cradle your baby's head most of the time until about three months of age when they can begin to control their head, and neck muscles have developed. Tummy time can start around 1-2 weeks of age, so baby gets daily sessions of strengthening her back and neck muscles. Each session takes just 2-4 minutes.

  • Bonding – Your baby will bond parents and caregivers through holding and cradling them. Skin-to-skin contact is highly beneficial for this bonding and soothing time. You can never give your baby too much love and affection.

  • Most newborns like to be swaddled – Swaddling them involves wrapping them securely in a blanket that limits the movement of their arms and legs. This can help simulate being back in mommy’s belly, giving them a sense of security and warmth. Your nurse can show you how to swaddle baby before you go home from the hospital.

  • Only sponge baths for the first 1-4 weeks – Baby should be sponge-bathed until their umbilical cord falls off. After this occurs, the baby can start to be more submerged in water for a true bath. Even then, you only need to bath baby 1-3 times per week. There are also special considerations if your baby is going to be circumcised.

  • Baby should sleep on his back – Baby should, ideally, sleep in a crib or basinet in parent’s room. This has shown to be safest; however, each family may decide a different way works best for them. Avoid excess or loose blankets, bumpers, pillows, or stuffies where baby is sleeping.  Consult your doctor for questions on sleep safety. 

Your Physician is Your Number One Resource

Your physician is there for you and your baby. We genuinely care about your growing family and look forward to helping you through uncertain times like caring for a new baby. Parents can feel rest assured that we are here to help. If something doesn’t seem right with your new baby, always contact your doctor as soon as possible. Also, we encourage you to come to baby’s well child check-up visits with lots of questions. We are happy to discuss anything on your mind.