Putting all of your new-parent prowess into motion sounds great until you have a newborn on your hands who doesn't seem content. Relax, it takes a while. Be gentle on yourselves, patient with your new family, and realize it's all a part of the learning curve. Here are the top questions most new parents face, answered by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
OK, SO WHEN WILL THE BABY SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT?
Sleeping through the night WILL happen … in your baby's good time. While some 2-month-olds can sleep for five hours straight before waking to feed, many other cannot. Meanwhile, you'll feel the pressure to get Baby to sleep thru the night — victory stories (and lies!) are everywhere — but ditch the pressure. Your little one may take as long as five months before that magic slee-thru-the-night-and-surprise-mom-and-dad moment appears, but even when it does, nighttime sleep will be erratic for the first year and longer.
ARE WEIRD-COLORED-POOPS NORMAL?
Yes. Green, brown, light yellow, seedy mustard … it's all good. Try not to fixate on this too much, but if your Baby eliminates white and chalky, thick and black or red, a call to the pediatrician is in order.
IS IT OK TO WAKE A SLEEPING BABY TO FEED HIM?
Yes, in fact, if your baby is a preemie, you may be told to wake her at regular intervals to ensure she gets the nutrients she needs. And, starting at about 6 months old, you can try dream feeding. Dreamfeeding is waking your infant to feed him before you turn in for the night as detailed in the book On Becoming Babywise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep by Robert Bucknam, M.D. (Parent Wise Solutions; 2012).
IF I AM BREASTFEEDING AND DRINK A GLASS OF WINE, DO I NEED TO PUMP AND DUMP?
If you choose to have an alcoholic drink, do it just after nursing rather than before. Then, wait at least three hours before the next breastfeeding or pumping session since it takes several hours for alcohol to leave your system (depending upon how much you drank, your weight, the amount of alcohol in your beverage of choice, and whether or not you have eaten). If you produce a lot of milk, if you need to pump during the three-hour wait time after having an alcoholic drink, yes, DO pump and dump.
WHAT DOES IT REALLY MEAN TO FEED YOUR BABY EVERY THREE HOURS?
It means you start the hour count from the beginning of one feeding to the next. So if you feed your newborn at 9 a.m., his next feeding is at 11 a.m. If a feeding session takes an hour or so, yes, you can start to feel that you are feeding your infant constantly. Take heart, nursing will speed up over time, and this portion of breastfeeding doesn't last forever.
AT WHAT POINT SHOULD I CALL THE PEDIATRICIAN?
While the majority of newborns are perfectly healthy, there are a few red flags to watch out for, says the AAP. Call your doctor if your newborn has a rectal temperature of 100.4 or higher or a temp that is too low (below 97.7). Also, put a call in if your newborn isn't urinating as much as he has been as he could be dehydrated. Strange, green spit-up can indicate an intestinal issue and definitely warrants a call to the doctor as does blood in Baby's poop or spitup. Listen to your instincts and don't hesitate to call the doctor any time of the day or night.
HOW DO I CARE FOR THE REMAINING UMBILICAL CORD?
During the first one-to-two weeks at home with your infant, the umbilical cord will still be present. Gently dab a bit of rubbing alcohol on the cord during diaper changes to help it dry out and shrivel. However, if you notice excess redness or a foul odor, take your baby to be seen by the doctor. One day soon you'll be surprise that the cord is off and sitting there in Baby's diaper.
HOW LONG DOES MY BABY NEED TO SLEEP ON HIS BACK?
Until he learns to roll over. Then you can let him sleep on his side. Avoid stuffed toys, pillows and blankets in Baby's sleeping area.