Getting To Know Your Baby

Sometimes a new mother is a little unsure of herself at first. As long as your newborn baby is well fed, well loved, warm and comfortable, he/she doesn't mind a bit that you are less than expert. The few simple infant-care instructions that follow should help you relax and enjoy your new baby. The most valuable thing parents can do for their children is to enjoy them.

Your baby is an individual from the first day of life. As the baby's mother, the person most intimately involved with their care, you will come to know the baby best. Trust yourself and don't take too seriously well-meaning friends and relatives. When you feel you need advice, call the pediatrician.

Your baby will do some things all babies do, just because he or she is a baby. All babies sneeze, yawn, belch, have hiccups, pass gas, cough and cry. They may occasionally look cross-eyed. Sneezing is the only way in which a baby can clean their nose. Hiccups are little spasms of the baby's abdominal muscles. They will not harm the baby and you do not need to try to step them. They will bother you more than they will the baby.

Coughing is your baby's way of clearing his/her throat. Crying is your babies way of saying, "I'm wet, thirsty, I want to turn over, I'm too hot, I'm too cold, I have a stomach ache, I'm bored or I'm hungry." You will gradually learn to know what you baby means.

Almost all infants have a fussy period. This may occur regularly, perhaps in the late afternoon or evening - but hopefully not at night. This is not colic, but a normal response for which there is as yet no explanation.

Also during the first few days or weeks, the infant may have its days and nights mixed up. This is a temporary thing, which will resolve with time.

There should be few visitors the first few days you and your baby are at home. Every new baby must adapt himself/herself to new surrounding, just as you would have to do. For this reason, the first 24-48 hours at home should never be expected to be totally "smooth sailing." Both you and the baby will fare better if you have time to adjust to new circumstances and to each other. You should arrange for some other person to take over the household duties for several days after you go home. Your baby will be a full time responsibility and requires most of your time during the fist few days especially.


At Feeding Time

Feeding is one of your baby's most pleasant experiences. The baby's first feeling of love for mommy arises from the feeding situations. At feeding time the baby receives nourishment from his/her food and a feeling of security from mom and dad's loving care. The food, correctly taken, helps the baby grow healthy and strong. Motherly love, generously given, starts your baby in development of a secure, stable personality.

Both of you should be comfortable at feeding time. Choose a chair that is comfortable for you. This will help you be calm and relaxed as you feed your baby. Your baby should be warm and dry so that the baby is comfortable as well. Hold your baby in your lap, the baby's head should be slightly raised and resting in the bend of your elbow. Whether breast feeding or bottle feeding, hold your newborn comfortably close.

For Breast Feeding

During the first 36 to 48 hours after you give birth, only a small amount of a yellow-colored fluid, known as colostrum, will come from your breasts. However, the suckling action that occurs during nursing will stimulate increased production of milk, and on the 3rd to 4th day a good supply of milk should be available. It does not reach maximum amount for 7 to 10 days, so be patient.

Place two fingers on each side of the nipple selected and press slightly so that the nipple sticks out. You will then be able to keep the breast from pressing against your baby's nose, which could interfere with his/her breathing. Sometimes you may need to encourage your baby ti nurse. Do not push him/her toward the breast. Instead gently stroke the cheek nearest the breast. Usually this will cause the baby to turn their head and hunt for the nipple.

Your baby should nurse from both sides at each feeding. You should alternate the breast on which you begin the feeding each time the baby feeds. During the first 24 hours the infant may be sleepy and may not nurse well at each feeding, but you should encourage the infant to nurse approximately 5 minutes on each side. On the second day, the baby should nurse 7 to 10 minutes on each side. In succeeding days, this can be increased to 15 to 20 minutes total on each side as tolerated but don't overdo it. After the milk supply is in well, the infant will get most to the milk in 5 to 10 minutes on each side. However, the baby may enjoy and additional suckling and you may wish to nurse your baby a total of 20 minutes maximum on each side. You may find that the baby will nurse every 1 1/2 hour to 3 hours during the first few weeks.

After a day or two after nursing, you may notice some soreness in your nipples. The soreness can be diminished by being sure you alternate the breast the each feeding is started on and by alternating the position of your baby at each feeding. Either cradled in your arms, lying on your side or reversed with the head in your hands and the feet along your side. The nipples should be allowed to air dry ten to fifteen minutes after each feeding. Following this drying, A&D Ointment or lanolin may be applied gently to the nipples. This does not have to be washed or scrubbed off prior to the next feeding. Avoid using soap in the breasts as this is drying. You should make sure that your nursing bras are not lined with plastic, as this will keep the nipples wet and increase soreness. Change your nursing pads frequently if wet. Occasionally, when the milk supply comes in, the breasts will feel very tender and hard. This can be relieved with Tylenol, warm or cold compresses and occasionally helped by hot showers prior to nursing.

While nursing you will need adequate rest and a proper diet, particularly plenty of fluids. It is a good idea to drink an 8 ounce glass of some type of fluid at each nursing. The amount of extra calories and nutrition which you need are approximately the equivalent to one extra balanced meal per day. Try not to take any medications when nursing, including aspirins and laxatives. If for some reason you feel that you must take a medicine, please check with us before doing so and continuing to nurse your baby. Most foods which you eat will not bother the infant; however, onion, garlic and very spicy foods may make some infants fussy. Smoking and drinking should be done in moderation, if at all, and large amounts of caffeine containing drinks, such as tea, soft drinks or coffee may make the infant fussy.

There may be times when you will want to give the infant a bottle, for instance, when you are away from home for a while. a supplementary feeding can be given from the bottle with either breast milk or with formula. Breast milk can be expressed at the end of or during a feeding and saved in the refrigerator for 24 hours or frozen for one month. If you are going to give the baby an occasional supplementary bottle of formula, it is best to buy the individual Similac Ready To Feed bottles or cans so that formula will not be wasted, since it is only good in the refrigerator after being opened for 48 hours.

Many mother worry during the first few weeks that their infant is not getting enough breast milk, particularly since infants during this time period tend to cry and fuss a lot. You can be reassured that you infant is getting enough to eat if the baby nurses well, you see her swallowing, you see milk in her mouth, wet diapers every three to four hours and has several bowel movements a day. If you become concerned about any aspects of your breast feeding or feel that your infant is not getting enough milk, please call us, before beginning formula or solids.