Some babies will take to feeding without any problems while others need a little bit of encouragement. Your midwife will guide you on feeding; for most babies we recommend that you feed them when they seem to want it -'demand feeding'. Small or jaundiced babies may require more frequent feeds.
You will recognise when your baby has had enough because they:
It is common for babies to lose a small amount of weight in the first few days; however, your baby should return to their birth weight by the time they are two weeks old. The midwife will weigh your baby before you go home from hospital. The public health nurse will also check your baby's weight when she visits you at home. If you have any concerns about your baby's weight always ask for advice early from your midwife or doctor.
Crying is baby's natural way of communicating. While you were pregnant your baby let you know they were happy with their movement and kicking, now the baby is more vocal and there are many reasons for crying.
As you get to know your baby you will begin to understand their different cries and what each one means. Reasons for crying can include that your baby:
If your baby continues to cry, ask another member of the family to take over as sometimes the baby can sense if you are under stress. It is best to seek medical advice as soon as possible if:
Remember never shake your baby as this can damage the baby's body and brain.
Your baby will pass a sticky green-black bowel motion for the first few days.
This is called meconium; following this the stools turn yellowish. Formula fed
babies commonly pass firmer stools than breastfed babies. However, if you
find the baby is constantly passing very runny stools tell the midwife or doctor
because a baby can become dehydrated quickly.
Young babies frequently bring up some of their feed, which is called 'posseting', particularly if they are trying to bring up wind - this is normal. You only need to tell your midwife or doctor if:
The ammonia in urine can irritate the soft skin of a baby's bottom and could lead to nappy rash. To avoid this becoming a problem, wash your baby's bottom with warm water at each nappy change even if it is only a wet nappy. Avoid baby wipes in the early days as the perfume and chemicals in them may irritate the baby's skin.
If you notice your baby's bottom becoming red then use a small amount of a barrier cream until it improves. Do not use talcum powder on newborn skin.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Staying healthy during pregnancy
How your baby develops and your body responds
Care options for pregnant women
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