Q: What precautions should I take when caring for my newborn?
A: 1. Recognize that you are often tired and may feel overwhelmed after the baby is born and both of you are home. Accept the offer from family to cook meals and help clean the home so that you can rest and take care of your infant. In the first two weeks at home, you should sleep when the baby sleeps – that will ensure that you will get enough rest.
2. Respond promptly to your baby whenever he/she cries during the first few months. You cannot spoil a young baby by giving them attention. Paying close attention to your baby’s different cries will enable you to determine when he/she needs to be picked up, consoled, changed or fed.
3. Identify a pediatrician before the baby is born so that you have someone to call and answer your questions if you have concerns once you get home. Keep the appointment with that Pediatrician for that 2 or 3 day visit after discharge from the hospital.
4. Unless the temperature is hot, > 75 degrees F, your baby will need several layers to stay warm. Generally dressing the baby in an undershirt and a diaper covered by a dressing gown or pajamas and then wrapped in a light blanket will do. Usually dressing the infant in one more layer than you are wearing is a good rule to use.
5. Place your infant on her/his back to sleep. This position decreases the risk for SIDS.
6. Breastfeed your baby. This provides the best immune protection and nutrition for your infant with the least risk for contamination or mistakes in preparation that may happen when using artificial breast milk substitutes.