*** Attention High School Graduates ***

Come in for your college physical in July or August and be entered to win a $100 Barnes and Noble Gift Card to use towards your college text books and supplies.

(703) 451-3333 - Springfield, Virginia

(703) 491-2141 - Woodbridge, Virginia

*** Attention High School Graduates ***

Come in for your college physical in July or August and be entered to win a $100 Barnes and Noble Gift Card to use towards your college text books and supplies.

(703) 451-3333 - Springfield, Virginia

(703) 491-2141 - Woodbridge, Virginia

 Feeding | Sleep | Sleep Position | Consoling Your Baby | Skin and Nail Care | Jaundice | Bowel Movements | Diaper Rash | Circumcision | Care of the Uncircumcised Penis | Fever | Car Seats

Newborn Baby Letter

Feeding:

  • Breast milk or infant formula gives your baby all the nutrition needed for the first 6 months of life.
  • Newborns and infants do not need water or juice.
  • Until your baby starts eating solid food, all the water needed is obtained from breast milk or formula.
  • A baby's nutritional needs during the first year of life are greater than at any other time.
  • Baby's will triple their birth weight during the first year.
  • Feeding your baby provides more than just good nutrition. It gives you a chance to hold your newborn close, cuddle, and make eye contact.

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Sleep:

  • Newborns sleep an average of 16 to 17 hours a day, but they may only sleep 1-2 hours at a time.
  • As children get older, the total number of hours they need to sleep decreases.
  • At 6 months of age, a baby may still wake during the night, but these awakenings should only last a few minutes and the baby should be able to fall back to sleep on his/her own.

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Sleep Position:

  • Babies should sleep on their backs. This is because there is an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in babies who sleep on their stomachs.
  • Babies' heads and soft spots are not harmed when a baby sleeps on his/her back.
  • Pillows, stuffed animals, quilts, and comforters should not be kept on a baby's bed.
  • These recommendations are for sleeping babies. "Tummy time" is perfectly safe when a baby is awake!

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Consoling Your Baby:

  • Crying serves several purposes for a baby:
  • It lets the baby call out for help when hungry, wet, or uncomfortable
  • It enables the baby to shut out sights and sounds that are too intense to handle
  • It helps the baby release tension.
    • The best way to handle your baby's crying is to respond promptly.
    • You cannot spoil a newborn by giving lots of attention and responding to crying.
    • If your baby is cold, wet or hungry, respond to the crying by meeting his or her needs (warm up, feed, change diaper).
    • If your baby does not fall asleep and remains inconsolable, he or she could be sick. Let your baby's doctor know!

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Skin and Nail Care:

  • Newborn babies have very sensitive skin, and are very susceptible to irritation from chemicals in new clothing, soaps or detergents.
  • Newborns should have all their clothing and bedding washed and double rinsed before being used.
  • Newborns normally do not need any lotions, oils, or powders,
  • If your baby has very dry skin, you can use a small amount of non-perfumed baby lotion on the dry areas,
  • Do not use any skin care products that are not specifically for babies because they may contain perfumes or chemicals that can irritate a baby's skin,
  • Newborns' nails should be kept short and smooth to prevent them from scratching themselves
  • You can use a soft emery board or baby nail-clippers to trim the nails
  • It may be easiest to trim nails when the baby is asleep and lying still

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Jaundice:

  • 60% of newborns become jaundiced.
  • Happens when bilirubin (waste product) builds up faster than the developing liver can remove it.
  • Causes a yellow to orange skin color.
  • Usually develops between days 3-5 of life.
  • Feeding frequently (every 2-3 hours) is important.
  • Babies get rid of bilirubin through their bowel movements and urine.
  • Exposure to sunlight can also be helpful.
  • Jaundice can be monitored by checking a bilirubin blood test.

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Bowel Movements:

  • The first bowel movement is thick, dark-green, or black in color and is called meconium.
  • After the meconium is passed, the stools will turn green to yellow in color.
  • Breastfed stools are typically yellow, seedy, loose or runny, and even explosive.
  • Formula-fed stools are usually firmer.
  • The frequency of bowel movements vary from baby to baby.
  • Some babies stool with each feeding.
  • By 3-6 weeks, some babies may have only one bowel movement per week.
  • Breastfed stools can be very watery or loose (almost like diarrhea).
  • If the frequency increases suddenly or the liquid content of stools becomes unusually high, this may be diarrhea.

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Diaper Rash:

  • When skin stays wet for too long, the layers that protect it start to break down.
  • Prevention
  • Change diapers frequently
  • Gently clean the diaper area with water
    • Treatment
  • Apply a thick layer of protective ointment or cream each time you change the diaper to form a protective coating on the skin
  • Pat, do not rub, the diaper area dry
  • Allow the diaper area to air dry as much as possible when you change it
    • Check with your pediatrician IF:
  • The rash develops blisters or pus-filled sores
  • The rash does not go away within 72 hours
  • The rash continues to get worse

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Circumcision:

  • A surgical procedure in which the skin covering the end of the penis is removed.
  • After circumcision, it is common for the tip of the penis to appear raw or yellow.
  • Circumcision care involves covering the penis with vaseline and gauze for about 2 days after the procedure.

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Care of the Uncircumcised Penis:

  • Sometime during the first several years of life, a boy's foreskin will separate from the glans.
  • Foreskin retraction should never be forced.
  • An uncircumcised penis requires no special care and is easy to keep clean.
  • As your son reaches puberty, teach him to retract the foreskin and clean beneath it on a regular basis.

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Fever:

  • Fever is a body temperature higher than normal.
  • A fever is considered to be 100.4 F (38 C) or higher (taken rectally) in the first 30 days of life.
  • A newborn with a fever may feel warm to the touch or may be extremely fussy.

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Car Seats:

  • A rear-facing car seat should be used until your baby is at least 2-years-old and meets the maximum height or weight limit for rear facing for your particular seat.
  • Your baby should be placed in the car seat in the middle of the back seat.
  • Even after your child has grown out of a car seat, the safest place for anyone under age 13 to be is the back seat.
  • Children's National Medical Center will check car seats for parents Monday through Friday from 10 am until 4 pm.

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