Top 6 Most-Asked Newborn Questions

Article at a Glance

  • Having a newborn brings joy and excitement along with questions.
  • Bonding, feeding, bathing, and caring for your baby are all things you may be wondering how to do.
  • Remember, we are just a phone call away. If you don’t see your questions here, call us!

Taking care of a newborn is a joyful and exciting time. And having a lot of questions about how to do it is entirely normal. Here are the top six question new parents ask us about their newborns. If you don’t see your questions here, remember we’re always a phone call away!

1. What’s the Best Way to Bond with My Newborn Baby?

Some of the most heartwarming moments are those you spend bonding with your baby during feedings. But that’s just one opportunity. Here are more:

  • Skin contact is a great way to start the bonding process, and you can use every opportunity to have skin-to-skin contact with your newborn. You can spend time together in a quiet room, snuggling while talking softly and gently massaging your baby’s body and head. Of course, when you breastfeed, you can even lay your newborn across your chest in a position that’s relaxing and comfortable for both of you.
  • Eye contact and smiling is another way to bond with your newborn. Doing this helps your newborn focus on and engage with you. With practice (and some neonatal brain development), the two of you will be sharing smiles and laughter in no time.
  • Newborns are curious about the sounds they hear. Make soft sounds, such as humming, singing, cooing, and talking when you are with your newborn. Your baby may try to mimic the sounds. Even if you’re just cooking dinner or changing a diaper, talking to your baby about what you’re doing is a great habit to start.

2. What’s Considered Normal Sleep for a Newborn?

A newborn baby sleeps for most of the day but in small increments. On any given day, a newborn can sleep for a total of 18 to 20 hours. You can help your baby sleep soundly by:

  • Playing during the day so your newborn takes fewer naps
  • Giving a fussy baby a few minutes to calm down and fall back asleep
  • Keeping nighttime feedings quiet, so your baby doesn’t wake up completely

3. How Often Should I Feed My Newborn Baby?

Breastfed newborns typically eat every one to two hours for approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Bottle-fed babies can go a bit longer and be fed every two to three hours. The ideal amount of breast milk or formula per feeding starts at two to three ounces. Babies are variable, so if it seems that your newborn is never satisfied—or never hungry—speak with your pediatrician. He or she can answer your questions, check for any underlying conditions, and even recommend a local lactation specialist.

4. How Do I Give My Newborn a Bath?

Bath time can be fun for you and your newborn, and it’s also an excellent time to bond. Sponge baths are the best option while the umbilical cord is attached. Once the umbilical cord falls off, you can bathe your baby three or fewer times per week, using a mild soap made for newborns. If your baby’s skin starts to look dry, back off baths or switch to sponge bathing. If your baby’s skin continues to look dry, red, or irritated, call your pediatrician. Some babies are prone to dry skin, and some can be irritated by something in their environment. A pediatric check can help you figure out what’s happening.

  • Keep the room at round 75° and check that it isn’t drafty. Loosely wrapping a small towel around your baby’s head can also help to prevent chills.
  • Bathing is most comfortable with a small, non-skid tub, or you can put a non-skid mat in a sink or tub.
  • The Mayo Clinic recommends dialing back your water heater to 120 degrees to help prevent scalding.
  • First, fill the bath or sink to a shallow level, adjusting the temperature until it feels warm on the inside of your forearm. Then, add your baby to the prepared water.
  • Use a soft cloth to wash the areas of your newborn that you can see, and avoid getting soap and water in your baby’s ears, eyes, and nose. You can do this by gently placing your hand over these areas to block the flow of water and soap.
  • If you want to clean your newborn’s ears and eyes, use a damp washcloth or cotton ball, and only clean the outside areas.
  • After you bathe your baby’s body, wrap them in a towel.
  • Hair washing is often tolerated best if Baby’s body is wrapped in a dry towel.

If you need to leave the room at any time during the bath, take your baby with you. Never take your hands or eyes off your baby during bath time—or any time they are on an elevated surface.

5. How Do I Take Care of My Newborn’s Bellybutton?

The umbilical cord will fall off naturally. Until then, keep the skin dry and clean. If your baby seems uncomfortable when you touch the umbilical cord or if the skin is inflamed, call your pediatrician right away. You can use a damp sponge or cotton ball to clean your baby while the umbilical cord is attached. When you change your newborn’s diaper, fold the top down so the diaper doesn’t rub against the cord.

6. What Should I Look for When I Change My Newborn’s Diaper?

Expect to see several colors of poop when you change your baby’s diapers. The first few diapers can be green, yellow, brown, and even black! After a few days, the color should settle into something more consistent. But, if their poop changes to dark, black, red, chalky, or white, call your pediatrician.

A newborn may have several bowel movements a day, or only a few per week. In addition to monitoring poop, check to see if the diaper is wet from urine. Ideally, Baby should have six or more wet diapers per day. This indicates that your newborn is hydrated. Also, check for reddening of the skin that may be diaper rash. The best way to prevent diaper rash is to change diapers frequently and keep your baby’s skin dry.

If you’re concerned about anything that you find in the diaper or on your baby’s skin, call us. We’re happy to answer your questions or schedule a time for you to come in for a checkup.

Reviewed on March 2, 2020 by: Scott Stroshine, D.O.
Scott Stroshine, D.O.
Board-certified Pediatrician

Dr. Stroshine is a father of four and a sports fan. His favorite part of Pediatrics is working with kids and their parents. He enjoys kids of all ages and has a particular interest in pediatric sports medicine.

Spanish Fork Office
Full Bio

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