Being a new mom (or an expecting mom!) is a beautiful yet sometimes scary thing. There are only so many books to read and videos to watch before just letting instinct work its magic. To make your first few months caring for a newborn easier, we've answered these fundamental questions. So don't panic, and just remember — you've got this!
1. How long can I keep the crib in the room with me?
As long as you'd like! Some parents start with cosleeping and others pop baby in her own room right away. It's really up to the family's preference.
2. Is it OK for my baby to sleep in the same room as an older child?
Yes! There might be some sleepless nights until everyone gets comfortable with the midnight feedings and other disruptions, but there's nothing wrong with the baby sharing a room.
3. What's up with my baby's "soft spot"?
That soft spot, also known as the fontanel, allows the baby's head to come out of the birth canal. Just be gentle and avoid directly touching the area.
4. How much do babies sleep?
Hours of healthy sleep vary by age. Newborns need roughly 17 hours until they reach one month, when this number drops down to 16. Then at three months, expect your baby to sleep an average of 15 hours, and from six months to a year it'll be around 14.
5. When can I introduce bottles?
Introducing a bottle to your breastfed baby is typically best between three and six weeks. Keep in mind, the longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to switch your baby over.
6. How often should I bathe my baby?
Within the first 12 months, your baby should have no more than two or three baths a week. However, there are certain areas that you might want to focus on cleaning, like the diaper area. Since babies have sensitive skin that can be easily dried out, make sure to apply a gentle baby lotion after each time.
7. What's a baby's normal temperature?
The normal temperature to look for in babies is 97.5 degrees Fahrenheit, but it varies from child to child. A temperature nearing 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit is considered a fever, in which case you would contact your pediatrician.
8. How often should I feed my baby?
Newborns generally drink an average of one and a half to three ounces every two to three hours. When baby reaches two months, she can be drinking up to four to five ounces at each feeding, which may be every three to four hours. Using a breast pump can help you stock up on your own milk so you're prepared for frequent feedings.
9. When will my baby's umbilical cord fall off?
Keeping the umbilical cord dry will help it fall off faster, so avoid a full bath until that happens. You should see it drop off after around two weeks, marking an essential milestone for your infant's health. There may be a little blood, which is totally fine.
10. When should my milk come in?
You already have first milk, called colostrum, ready to go when your baby is born. In the couple of days after delivery, you might feel some tenderness and tingling as your milk changes due to hormonal levels in your body. Baby's first meals will be very small, but rest assured, a few ounces is all your little one needs.
11. What's up with my baby's skin?
It's totally normal for your baby to have bumpy or dry skin patches after birth. Check with your pediatrician for tips or suggestions for treatments like baby lotions.