Some things may happen during the early days of your little one that might surprise you, even worry you. So we listed down all the common and normal new baby questions that you may have to ease your mind.
My baby won’t stop crying. What should I do?
Oh, the crying! It can be so hard for parents to take because it seems like something is really wrong. Baby’s cries sound desperate and distressed which can really stress parents out and have them climbing the walls in frustration, not knowing how to fix it.
Every experienced parent is bound to have the advice to offer on soothing a crying baby but the truth is, every baby is different and will find different things to settle them down
If you have checked for the obvious things:
- Wet diaper
- Or feeling sick (temperature/off colour)
In rare instances, it could be irritating clothes so changing to a different kind of material might do it, and also check fingers and toes carefully for hair that might be tangled and cutting into them.
If the crying doesn’t seem to be related to anything try some of the following:
- Rocking (short and vigorous, almost jiggling which could be in your arms, in a pram or in a crib or bassinet)
- Shushing noise or white noise like a hairdryer or radio static. You can also try a white noise app that will simulate these and other noises. You’ll need to have it louder than the baby’s cries at first and adjust the volume as they tune in and settle down.
- Travel. Going for a stroll in the park might be just what the two of you need. Fresh air can be really helpful. Be sure to bundle Baby for cold weather and protect from the sun, even if it’s not a hot day. Some parents find that driving soothes a baby but it’s probably just the white noise combined with the jiggling sensation so go with those first at home. Driving when you are stressed and tired is not a great idea so keep your little one at home and see if you can recreate the driving feel in a crib.
- Swaddle your baby to keep them safe and secure. Some babies are escape artists and wiggle free of anything but others love the snug closeness of being tightly wrapped.
- Be patient. There are times when nothing really works. Sometimes a baby is just ready for a big old cry and we can’t do anything about it. In this situation give yourself a break. The baby is crying, you’ve checked and they are okay. Let go of the expectation that you have to do something. Make sure your baby is safe in their crib, if you have a partner or family member to take them for 20 minutes, use that time to have a shower, make a cup of tea, take deep breaths and be kind to yourself. You are doing okay.
Should my baby be sleeping more deeply?
Babies spend the majority of their sleep time in REM (rapid eye movement) which is the dreaming stage of sleep and not the deep-sleep phase. Because of that they can smile, moan, cry, tremble or wake up easily with a loud noise. Babies can also startle themselves awake with that jerky motion (called the Moro effect). Within ten to twenty minutes of falling asleep, a baby goes into a deep sleep stage. In this stage, they are normally harder to wake up and will breathe slowly and the muscles will be more relaxed. The sleep pattern rotates taking the same amount of time for each.
Is it okay for a baby to spit up?
Babies’ bodies are still learning digestion and swallowing, so it makes sense that there will be a few learning mishaps that stain your clothes, and their clothes and their mattress. It’s very normal and practised parents won’t even flinch over the slime trail down their shirt. Just keep some burp cloths handy.
There are some things to keep an eye out for as warning signs spit up is not normal:
- The baby is not gaining weight
- The baby looks to be in pain during nursing.
- spit-up is a green colour
- Repeat vomiting
If any of these symptoms appear, call your pediatrician to request additional advice.
Am I overfeeding my baby?
Honestly, it’s not possible to overfeed a breastfed child. If you are breastfeeding exclusively and worried about how long and frequently you are feeding that’s pretty normal. Most moms are shocked that such a tiny being can consume so much and then need more again! There’s really no way to tell how much milk they are getting in, but your baby will know just the right amount to take and will stop when they are full.
In times of cluster feeding (when you are feeding them every hour), that’s a growth spurt but also their way of telling your body to supply more milk. “Make more, I’m growing”. Your baby and your body are working together to prepare the milk needed, the good news in your body will soon catch up to demand and things will feel easier. As exhausting as it is, know that you are doing the right thing and stick with it. Soon your milk supply will be ready on tap wherever your baby needs it.
For bottle-fed babies, don’t insist they drink the whole thing, let them stop when they are ready (and make more if needed).
What is the normal poop colour for a baby?
Poop. There is nothing new parents will talk about more than what is appearing in the baby’s diaper. Breastfed babies and bottle-fed babies will have different poop and it will come in a range of colours and textures depending on age. 24 hours after delivery, baby poop is sticky, thick and brownish-black in colour. The poop of a breastfed baby after a few days is light; black turns to brown and green to yellow and continues to alternate from sticky to firm. Formula-fed babies have firmer poop.
Is it normal for my baby’s tummy to be big?
Everyone loves baby fat and that round belly is oh so cute and oh so normal, especially after feeding. A healthy baby tum is a soft one. If it seems firm and swollen and your baby hasn’t passed any poop for 2 days (or is vomiting) immediately contact your pediatrician to ask for advice.
Why do my baby’s hands feel cold?
Hands and feet are not the best places to check your baby’s temperature because their coercion system is still learning and developing. If the child’s back is warm, the child is not feeling cold even though their hands seem cold. To check for fever, touch their forehead with your lips (it should be cool) or use a baby-safe thermometer. Putting some gloves or socks on those little digits is more than enough to normalize their temperature.
How to take care of my baby’s umbilical cord?
You love everything about your newborn except that ugly nasty stump coming out of their tum. As gross as it may seem it’s natural for the umbilical cord to fall off on its own. While you wait don’t bathe your baby, the trick to getting that stump gone and warding off infection is to dry it out. Your baby probably isn’t getting very dirty at the moment anyway, but if you need to wipe them over with a warm damp cloth make sure you avoid wetting the stump. Don’t do anything to make it come off before it’s ready. It won’t be long before it’s done. Be patient.
How do Moms know if their baby is getting enough milk?
A newborn normally feeds every three hours (timer starts from when they start drinking, not when they finish). When growth spurts kick in your bub might be guzzling every hour (so you might get 20 minutes off between shifts). In general, your breasts should feel comfortable after feeding and will be visibly less full and softer too. Your baby will also be gaining weight but you’ll need specialized scales (like at your next health check) to tell as the difference might only be a few ounces.
Is it necessary for my baby to wear a hat all the time?
Most babies are given little beanies when they are born to help regulate their heat (their bodies are still learning how to function outside the womb). Use your common sense and go with the room temperature and weather conditions to know what your baby needs to be warm and comfortable.
Can I take my newborn outside?
Yes! You can take your newborn outside once you feel up to it but keep her away from crowded places like supermarkets until she receives her vaccinations as her immune system is weak for the first little while.
Is it all right for a newborn to suck their thumb?
Sucking is a normal feeling to newborns because it is their method of eating. Therefore, it is absolutely a good sign that your little one has figured it out. In addition, sucking calms a baby and is a readily available soother.
Is my baby sleeping too much?
Every baby is different, the important thing is that they are healthy. As long as your child is eating well and filling her diaper there is nothing to worry about with sleeping patterns. If your baby is more awake at night and sleeping soundly in the day they might have their times mixed up. If so, get some fresh air and go for strolls around outside in the morning and evening and open the blinds for day naps to help them get it sorted out.
What is the best formula for my child?
There are so many choices it’s hard to know what’s best. Unless your baby has allergies and requires a specific formula it’s really up to you to choose. The high-quality formula usually has to be discarded after an hour of being mixed, which means you have to make it up and use it on the spot, rather than other formulas that can be premade and sucked on demand. Infant formula with iron helps blood and brain development. Formulas with probiotics and prebiotics were also added to some brands to boost immune systems but it’s important to note that breastmilk is the superior choice for health and immunity.
My baby looks yellow. Is that ok?
Newborns can often suffer from Jaundice, which causes the skin to be yellow or have a yellow tint. While it’s mostly harmless it can cause stiff joints and muscles if left untreated. You can help avoid jaundice or treat mild jaundice with weak sunlight. Take your bub out for some fresh air and sunbath first thing in the morning at daybreak if the weather is nice.
How do I get my baby to sleep in their bed?
If your baby will happily drift off to sleep in your arms or while guzzling milk but snap take the moment you put them into their bed, you’re not alone. Many parents wind up being trapped with their baby in their arms, unable to put them down in case the sleep is over. It’s not just normal for your baby to want to be close to you, it’s natural. This is the safest way for them to sleep because they are protected from danger. You can try explaining that there are no sabre tooth tigers in the area, but I doubt it will do any good; they are hard-wired for close contact.
Yes it’s frustrating and I’m sure you have a list of things you want to be doing now that your little one is snoozing, but rest assured this is a temporary thing and right now, they need your loving arms. What you can do to ease the burden, both literally and metaphorically is use a baby carrier so they are strapped tightly to you and you have full use of both arms to get to do the things you need to do why they sleep or ask your partner or family member to be in charge of cuddles for a while.
My baby looks tired after vaccination. Is that serious?
Vaccination is a method to protect a child from diseases and one of its side effects is that a child becomes sleepy or seems unsettled. There’s nothing to worry about and it is something you should expect. Plan for a quiet few days after vaccinations. Your pediatrician should tell you in advance what to expect and how to treat the symptoms, if not, be sure to ask them before your bub gets their shot.
Is it safer to let your baby sleep on their back?
It is essential for a baby to sleep on their back to avoid the risk of SIDS. Even though it looks uncomfortable by our standards, babies need to be put on their back to sleep and their own, with no pillows, blankets, crib bumpers or toys. Their life depends on it. When your baby is old enough to roll over by themselves it usually means they are strong enough to get themselves up if they are suffocating, but you should still put them on their back to start with.
Are infants able to determine their mom’s scent?
Babies have a super good sense of smell. Two weeks after the birth they can already recognise their mom’s scent and at times, just the scent of mom close by can calm and soothe a baby.
I’m so tired. How can I get a good night’s rest?
Giving birth is exhausting but most new moms put to sleep on hold in favour of cuddling and cooing over their newborn, and who can blame them, finally the baby is here and you just love them so much! Feeding every three to four hours is also exhausting, especially for breastfeeding moms who can’t pass the task over to their partner at night, breastfeeding has to be done consistently every feed in order to build and encourage milk supply. That means exhausted mums are waking to feed their bub through the night and all day.
Whew. So how do you get on top of it? Nap. You need to be napping every time your baby does. Leave the dishes, ignore that you need a shower, just sleep. The sooner you get over your sleep deprivation the faster you can start to feel normal and have time and energy to have a shower, cook, clean and have friends over. Until then, be sure to get some fresh air and light exercise (put the baby in the pram and go for a nice walk), eat well and drink plenty of water.
You may also be interested in the 3 Pointers on How To Prepare Dads For a Baby.