Congratulations! You may be feeling overwhelmed with both excitement and fatigue! Despite all the activity and visitors, be sure to get your sleep. An overtired parent isn't as good to a baby as a well rested one!
The doctors will probably want to see your newborn within the first few days after discharge. At this first visit we will check your baby's weight, assess feeding, check for jaundice, and might administer an immunization.
Emergencies/Things to Report:
- Jaundice, or yellowing of the eyes or skin
- Rectal Temperature of 100.5 or greater
- Refusing to eat for several feedings in a row
- Blood in the stool, especially if your child seems uncomfortable
- Vomiting that is "projectile" in nature; not just spitting up
- Excessive crying
Things that are Probably Normal:
- Sneezing and intermittent "congested" sounds
- Crying: try the usual - feeding, comforting, changing diaper, etc
- "Jitters" or "Shakes" that last just a few seconds: if the "shakes" are worsening or your baby appears unusual or "out of it", please let us know
- "Cross-eye" appearance that is intermittent: if the crossing is becoming more frequent or "fixed", let us know
- A little oozing, blood, or yellowish discharge from your baby's navel cord if there's redness of the skin around the navel that seems to be growing, or the area seems tender, please let us know; as the cord falls off, you may see a little blood or more ooze - this is probably normal; most cords fall 10-14 days.
- A white to yellow vaginal discharge; occasionally there may be blood: it's best to probably leave this alone unless there's an excessive amount; remember to wipe from front to back
- Slight eye discharge or crustiness: if the white of the eye is red, the lids are swollen, or the discharge is copious, let us know
Babies should be put to sleep on their backs. Things like side position devices are probably not necessary. Although your baby will like to sleep in your arms, its important to get the baby to learn to sleep by themselves in a crib or bassinet. Pillows and heavy blankets should not be placed in the crib; its best to put your baby in a heavier sleeper if you need to. Babies sleep on average about 18 hours a day, but the range is variable.
Your baby's bowel movements will vary. The first several bowel movements will be a dark sticky substance known as "meconium". These may last for a few days and then turn to a more greenish color, eventually turning yellow or brown or green. The bowel movements may be almost pure water, pasty, seedy, or slightly formed - these are all normal bowel movements. If you see blood or the bowel movements are so hard that they hurt the rectum, let us know.
Your baby does not need extra water. Both breast milk and formula should provide enough water for your baby.
The doctors agree that pacifiers are fine for babies, if you so wish. Babies have an inherent need to suck. Let your baby enjoy this sensation. We've never seen pacifiers "mess up" breastfeeding. However, the first week or so, its probably best to downplay the pacifier in order to maximize stimulation to the breasts to promote milk production. A good time to try to get rid of the pacifier is from 4 to 6 months of age.
The typical vitamin for babies is called Polyvisol with Iron or Tri-Vi-Sol. The doctor will discuss this with you.
Always check water temperature before bathing your baby. You may want to consider lowering your hot water heater temperature to 120 degrees for safety.
Don't forget to give your baby lots of supervised "Tummy Time". This only has to be for a short time, but you should do this several times a day.