Newborn Care

Mindy Weighing Newborn

FOR THE BABY:

  1. Watch your baby. No one knows your baby as well as you do.  Call your midwives if you are concerned about anything with your baby. 
  2. Watch the cord. There should be no oozing at the cut end nor any redness where attached. Please do not use alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or honey on the cord. Also do not use mineral oil on the baby (it leeches vitamins out of the skin). If you decide not to take herb baths with the baby, you might want to sprinkle some goldenseal powder on the cord stump until it heals. Disposable diapers are stiffer and therefore easier to keep away from the cord. Do not let the cord become urine soaked. You might want to use disposable diapers just through the meconium and cord coming off, then, if you choose, use cloth diapers.
  3. Your baby should urinate and have a bowel movement within the same limits as the mother.
  4. Keep baby warm, but not smothered. Remember, heat rises, so keeping the head warm is really important. Watch for tight fitting ribbing.
  5. Nurse when baby wants to nurse. Babies cannot tell time so schedules are out of the question. Be grateful for frequent nursing; it will keep mother from getting engorged and from excessive bleeding. Nursing will protect baby against jaundice and dehydration.  Babies need to nurse a minimum of 8-12 times in a 24 hour stretch so at least every 2 hours. 
  6. If your baby looks yellow, uncover him/her completely, and put baby in the sunshine. Even through a window or on an overcast day, the sun’s ultraviolet rays are a safe and effective treatment for normal jaundice. (See La Leche League International’s reprint on jaundice) Nursing often is a must.
  7. If baby is a “lazy nurser”, here are a few tricks you can try: stimulating the baby with skin-to-skin contact, singing, stroking the cap of the baby’s head, or taking a bath with baby. Nursing often is a must.
  8. A newborn screening (PKU etc.) blood test is scheduled at 48 hours for babies born at home.
  9. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend routine circumcision.  There is no medical reason to circumcise (In fact, there are medical reasons mot to.) Please consider reading some books on the subject. If circumcision is required please consider waiting until the 8th day (when newborn clotting factors peak) to prevent hemorrhage. Also please consider staying with your baby during the procedure.
  10. Communicating with a newborn is mostly through touch. Stay near or with baby. Cuddling, rocking, carrying your infant in the sling, family bedding and lots of body contact is a language that even the newest babies understand. You cannot spoil a baby. Baby them while they are babies and you will not have to later.
  11. Enjoy your baby’s infancy. For the moment, the baby comes first. Be ruthless about this, or you will be overwhelmed with conflicting demands and feel awful about the baby being neglected. There is a honeymoon phase of parenthood when the new baby is all-absorbing, and this is as it should be. Do not let society rob you, and your family of the full enjoyment of this short time with baby. His / her needs, though consistent, are few and simple: and momma is the only one who can fully meet them during the early weeks. Baby’s infancy is so short and time flies – in 6-8 months he/she will be crawling away from you to meet the world and you will have to let baby go more each day. Enjoy this in arms time while you can.

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