Congratulations on your new baby! If you are a first time parent, the next few months will be both rewarding and incredibly challenging as you adapt to the newest member of your family. This information is designed to answer common questions for both new and experienced parents of infants less than 2 months old, but please contact your baby's primary care provider if you are concerned that your baby may have a serious medical condition. Our clinic nurses are also available through the Call Center (619-532-8225) to provide advice during the day, 7 days a week, for parents of children enrolled in one of our pediatrics clinics.
Concerns that require urgent medical care for your less than 2 month old baby (go to the Emergency Department if you can’t get a same-day appointment or if it is after-hours):
How to take a rectal temperature:
In the beginning newborns should feed every 2-3 hours, but at least every 4 hours. Exclusive breastfeeding is best for both baby and mother, and is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics for the first 6 months of life. Many mothers worry that their baby is not getting enough breast milk during the first few days. However, a normal breast milk supply won’t “come in” until around 3-4 days after birth, and babies are born with extra water weight for this very reason. Breast milk works on the supply and demand concept; in other words, more breastfeeding encourages the milk supply to come in sooner. Formula supplementation is not necessary unless recommended by your baby’s nurse or provider. If formula supplementation is necessary for poor weight gain, be sure to still breastfeed 20 minutes before giving formula to encourage breastfeeding and to develop a good breast milk supply. Exclusively breastfed babies do need Vitamin D supplementation starting at 2 weeks – 2 months of age; please ask your child’s primary care provider about this if it is not recommended. Click here for additional breastfeeding information.
Formula fed infants generally do not require special formulas. Except in extremely rare cases, lactose intolerance does not develop until several years of age, so babies with a family history of lactose intolerance do not need soy formula. Formula manufacturing is highly regulated so the brand name does not matter for nutritional reasons. If your baby’s provider recommends a special formula, it will most likely be available from a few different companies (there are a few exceptions to this). Please ensure that special formulas are mixed as directed and used consistently until your baby’s provider recommends otherwise.
Newborn infants sleep a lot. However, they should be woken to feed at least every 4 hours until feeding and weight gain are well-established (at least the first 2 weeks of life). Generally this is not a problem, and your baby will want to feed more often.
Babies should always be put to sleep on their backs in a warm secure crib or basket. Avoid the temptation to place stuffed animals and fluffy blankets / pillows in the crib as these can cause suffocation. Many parents also like the convenience of co-sleeping (allowing your baby to sleep in bed with you), but this is clearly associated with an increased risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) due to suffocation hazards from comforters, pillows, and tired parents rolling in their sleep. The SIDS rate in the United States has dramatically dropped since education campaigns began advising parents to put their babies to sleep on their backs in a separate crib.
Normal Newborn Quirks:
Newborns can do things that seem strange to parents but are completely normal at their age. These are common parent concerns about newborns that are actually ok:
Statistics tell us that the majority of parents do not secure their childrens’ car seats properly. Every car seat is different so it is difficult to provide advice for your specific one, but many fire and police stations will help you with proper car seat placement. Car seat fairs also are occasionally held at children's stores. The following guidelines apply for all car seats:
Other Safety Considerations:
Postpartum depression can occur up to 6 months after delivery, even in mothers who did not have depression before the delivery. It is quite common, and is not a marker of poor parenting or coping skills. Our pediatric clinics screen all mothers for postpartum depression during early well child visits, and can connect you with social work or mental health resources if you are experiencing depression. If you would like individual assistance another resource is Military OneSource (http://www.militaryonesource.com) which has a 24/7 toll-free number for phone-based counseling. They can also link you to free, private counseling available in your area. If you believe that you might hurt yourself or someone else (including your baby) and can’t get in touch with a family member or friend immediately, it is ok to call 911 and ask to be taken to the Emergency Department.