Q&A: Newborn Precautions

A smiling mother holding her newborn babyQ:
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.

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.