How to Care for Your Newborn

By YourCareEverywhere Staff @YourCareE
August 31, 2023
How to Care for Your Newborn

Your new baby is going to give you new skills. You’ll have to learn what this sign means or that sign means. Here's how to learn to care for your newborn.

Care of the baby in the delivery room

Amazing physical changes occur with birth. When your baby is born, the umbilical cord is cut and clamped near his or her navel, ending your baby's dependence on your placenta for oxygen and nutrition.

Laying your baby down to sleep

Your newborn is growing quickly, which uses a lot of energy. As a result, your baby may sleep for a total of 18 hours a day. Chances are your newborn will also not sleep for long stretches. It’s important you establish good bedtime habits so that you’re newborn will start sleeping through the night at around six months.


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Infant feeding guide

Appropriate and healthy feeding of your baby during the first year of life is extremely important. More growth occurs during the first year than at any other time in your child's life. For the first few months, breast milk or formula is all your baby needs.


Nature designed human milk especially for human babies, and it has several advantages over human milk substitutes. Your milk contains just the right balance of nutrients in a form your baby's immature body systems can easily use. Because it was developed for your baby, your milk also is gentlest on your baby's systems.

How to bottle feed

Newborns need supportive nutrition and plenty of loving, two things you can supply while formula feeding (and breastfeeding). You can choose from many formulas. Ask your baby’s healthcare provider which is best for your baby.

To feed your baby, position the bottle at an angle, allowing the milk to come out slowly. Let your baby set the pace. Make sure not to overfeed, even if the bottle is not empty.

How to diaper

Change your baby’s diapers when the diaper feels wet or heavy or if you find stool (bowel movement). In general, expect to change your baby shortly after each feeding. Make sure you have enough diapers at home and in a baby bag if you need to leave your house.

Umbilical cord care

Proper care can help your baby’s umbilical cord heal. Do not pull or pick at the cord. The umbilical cord should fall off on its own within two weeks after the birth.

Wash your hands before washing the umbilical cord. Use only water to wash the cord, and make sure the area is dry when you finish. Never try to remove the stump; it will fall off eventually.

Care after circumcision

Circumcision is a simple procedure usually performed in the nursery before a baby boy goes home from the hospital, if the family has chosen to have it done. Your baby’s healthcare provider will explain the procedure and tell you what to expect.

To care for your son after circumcision, clean your baby’s penis during each diaper change. Put petroleum jelly over the wound. The skin will usually heal within 10 days.

Car safety seats

Each year, thousands of children are injured or killed in car crashes. Car safety seats can help keep your infant or toddler safe and secure in your vehicle. But they need to be used correctly. Make sure you do research on car seats before your baby is born and learn how to use yours properly and safely.

Newborn reflexes

Reflexes are involuntary movements or actions. Some movements are spontaneous, occurring as part of your baby's usual activity. Others are responses to certain actions (such as when your baby is startled by a sound). Healthcare providers check reflexes to determine if your baby’s brain and nervous system are working well. Some reflexes occur only during specific periods of development and are very natural.

Newborn senses

Babies are born with all five senses — sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. Some of the senses are not fully developed, so it’s important to make sure you monitor your baby, particularly for sight and hearing.

Skin color changes your newborn

In newborns, skin color changes are often due to something happening inside his or her body. Some color changes are normal. Others are signs of problems, such as a yellow color, a symptom of jaundice, when your baby’s liver isn’t properly removing a chemical in their blood called bilirubin. See your baby’s pediatrician if you notice signs of jaundice.

Keeping your newborn warm

Your baby can’t tell you when he or she is too hot or cold. Keep your home warm enough and make sure your baby is dressed properly.

Fever in a newborn

A fever is common when an adult has an infection. In newborns, fever may or may not occur with an infection. A newborn may actually have a low body temperature with an infection. He or she may also have changes in activity, feeding, or skin color. See your baby’s pediatrician if you notice signs of a fever.

Newborn warning signs

Your newborn goes through many changes getting used to life in the outside world. The adjustment normally goes well, but you should watch for certain warning signs, such as breathing problems, symptoms of an umbilical cord infection, yellow skin, and crying or irritability that comforting does not sooth. See your baby’s pediatrician if you think something might be wrong.

Your growing newborn

During the first month of life, babies usually surpass their birthweight, then steadily continue to gain weight. A weight loss up to about 10 percent of birthweight is normal in the first two to three days after birth. Your baby should have gained that weight back and be at his or her birth weight by about two weeks. See your baby’s pediatrician if you your baby is not gaining weight.


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August 31, 2023