Your Baby”s Appearance
Every new baby is unique and beautiful. Don’t be surprised,however, if your baby doesn’t look like the babies you see on television commercials or in magazine advertisements. Your baby may have lumps on his head, puffy or crossed eyes, a flat nose, a small chin, dry skin, or a rash. And don’t be alarmed if your baby jerks occasionally while sleeping, has mild nasal congestion, breathes unevenly, sneezes, hiccups, and spits up occasionally. Such characteristics are normal and only temporary unless your doctor tells you otherwise. This section discusses some of what you can expect to see in a normal newborn’s appearance, and what should cause you concern.
Many parents’ first anxious questions relate to the appearance of their baby’s skin. “Is my baby too red?” “What are those marks on his skin?” “Why does she have pimples?” Here are some things you may
discover about your baby’s skin: Skin color:
Skin color: in newborns can vary greatly—from a pink and white or yellowish tone to the typical redness. Even from one moment to the next, skin color can vary depending on the activity level of the baby. Of course, family characteristics and racial factors will also influence the color of your baby’s skin. At birth, the skin of the normal newborn is reddish-purple in color and turns bright red when the baby cries. (During the first few days of life, the skin gradually loses this redness.) In addition, the newborn’s hands and feet may be cool and blue. By the third
day, he may also appear slightly yellow. This condition is called jaundice. It is common in newborns, and only occasionally requires special treatment. (See page 22 for more information on jaundice.)
Rash: Your infant’s tender and sensitive skin commonly reacts to his new environment. Scattered, pinhead-sized, or somewhat larger papules (pimples) surrounded by a mild red zone may appear in various areas of the body when your baby is about 2 days old. These will disappear over time. The cause is unknown, and the rash requires no treatment.
Basic Care Activities
Your newborn will depend on you for every aspect of her care. Thissection provides guidelines for some basic care activities.
For the first year of life, your baby will only need to be bathed every 2-3 days. Sponge baths are a good way to help you and your baby become accustomed to the new routine. Limit bathing to sponge baths—not tub baths—until your baby’s umbilical cord drops off. There is no one right way to bathe a baby, but there are some basic guidelines to follow. As you become more comfortable with your baby, you can adapt these guidelines to fit your baby’s needs.
Breast milk or formula is the only food your baby will need for the first six months of life. Water, sugar-water, juice, and electrolyte drinks (for example, Pedialyte) are not needed—don’t give them unless you are instructed to do so by your doctor. Cow’s milk or goat’s milk should also not be fed to a baby younger than one year of age. These milks are high in protein and salt, and are harder for babies to digest. In addition, these milks do not contain many of the important vitamins and minerals your baby needs. They are especially low in folic acid and vitamin B12, two nutrients that help prevent anemia and iron deficiency.
If you feed your baby formula, keep in mind that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using iron-fortified formula. Always carefully follow the preparation instructions for the formula you give to your baby. For example, never try to “stretch” formula by adding more water. To reduce waste, prepare only the amount of formula your baby usually takes in one feeding. Throw away any formula left in the bottle after each feeding. As your baby gets older, she will gradually take larger amounts of formula.
Cleaning your baby’s bottles
Wash your bottles with hot, soapy water and rinse well. Check bottle nipples for tears or cracks, stickiness, or enlargement. If any of these occur, throw the nipple away. Rinse bottles before putting them in the dishwasher..
How much formula does your baby need?
The table below shows the approximate number of feedings per day—and number of ounces per feeding—for
babies of different ages. Remember that every baby is unique. If your child’s feeding schedule varies greatly from this, talk to your doctor.
Age Approximate number Approximate number of
of feedings per day day ounces per feeding
0-1 months on demand, 6-8 feedings 2-5 ounces each
1-2 months 5-7 feedings 3-6 ounces each
2-3 months 4-7 feedings 4-7 ounces each
3-4 months 4-6 feedings 6-8 ounces each
Positioning your baby
Your baby should be in a semi-sitting position to eat. This helps keep air from entering his stomach. Never prop a bottle for feeding. To avoid choking and to promote bonding, hold your baby while you feed him. Your baby should never be left with a bottle while sleeping, as this promotes tooth decay.
Burping your baby
When babies eat, they may swallow air, especially when drinking from a bottle. Not all babies have to burp, so if your baby doesn’t burp, he probably doesn’t need to. As your baby gets older, you won’t need to burp him as often. To help make your baby more comfortable:
When formula feeding your baby, burp him midway through and at the end of the feeding. In the beginning, this would be after every half-ounce. Keep the nipple full of formula throughout the feeding to decrease the amount of air your baby swallows.When breastfeeding, burp your baby when you switch breasts,and after each feeding. Breastfed babies take in less air, so your breastfed baby may not need to be burped.
Most—but not all—newborn babies sleep a lot. Some sleep for as many as 18-20 hours a day, while others may sleep for only 8 hours a day. Some babies are more active and alert, while others are more fussy and demanding—or more calm and quiet. In general, as your baby gets older, he will require fewer naps.
Most parents are anxious for their newborn to sleep through the night. When this time comes, it is a glorious event! But be patient—it might be a while. Every baby is different and there is no set schedule. In the beginning, parents should adapt their sleeping patterns to the baby’s. Feeding your baby solid foods will NOT help your baby sleep through the night. When your baby is ready, he will sleep through the night