Newborn Notes from a Pediatrician (and Mom)
Hi, new moms. I write this for you.
Newborn Notes From a Pediatrician:
- The hiccups are normal.
- The sneezing is normal. It’s not allergies.
- The booty is going to get red (baby's, not yours). This is from the constant wiping and moisture. If ulcers start to form, be more gentle with the wiping or even run that tushy under some warm water in the sink rather than wiping, and apply a barrier cream with each diaper change (Desitin, A&D, Boudreaux). Air dry booty often.
- No amount of lotion will help that peeling, flakey skin in the first few weeks. They're like snakes - they shed that first layer after they're born.
- No need for lotion, unless your pedi tells you so.
- After they lay down for awhile, they often sound congested. This is usually because of reflux, which all infants experience at some point or another. I wrote a couple of articles on reflux you may find helpful: "Let's Learn About ... Infant Reflux" and "3 Important Questions Answered About Your Baby's Reflux Answered."
- If you’ve chosen to breastfeed - congratulations on a great way to feed and nourish your child!
- If you’ve chosen to formula feed - congratulations on a great way to feed and nourish your child!
- Spitting up is normal now and then. Sometimes it comes out of the nose, yes. That’s okay. It’s just another hole in the head.
- Putting the baby on a schedule is hard at first. They really need to eat as much as their brains are telling them to - and that often seems sporadic and chaotic, but it needs to happen. You can start some simple sleep training steps from day one, though. Start waking your baby at the same time every morning. And put her in the living room during the day for the first month - make sure there’s lots of light and noise in the area. Even if she’s sleeping through it, this will start to “set” the circadian rhythms - which tell her when to be awake and when to sleep. At the same time each night, turn lights low and put baby in a quiet room.
- During the day, feed your baby at least every 3 hours. They’ll want to eat more often than that sometimes, and that’s okay. But if it’s been 3 hours, go ahead and wake her up. We want to get as many “daytime calories” in them as possible!
- There is a very common, very gassy/grumpy phase they start around week 3. It is called the Period of PURPLE Crying. Often, during a certain part of the day (i.e., evening), they will cry, grunt, and generally look uncomfortable.You can read more about my thoughts on it here.
- Some babies poop with every feed. Some babies poop once a week. Both are normal.
- It’s common for the hands and feet to be purple sometimes, especially if their leg is squeezed or they’re cold. This is called acrocyanosis and goes away with time. Always call us or an ambulance if you’re noticing any difficulty breathing, or if the tongue or gums look dusky or purple - this is different.
- You don't have to clip the finger and toenails. You can peel or file them down.
- Belly buttons are weird. Umbilical cords are weird. They ooze a little now and then and sometimes there’s a spot of blood on the diaper as they’re drying up and falling off. Let your pedi know if the skin around the cord is red and if that redness is spreading. Or if you feel like yellow goo oozing from it is excessive or soaks into clothes.
I know you feel alone, but know that you're not alone in your isolation these days, and there are still ways to connect. Create a safe "pod" of help and support and if you're my patient, know that I am in it with you.
It's OK to feel weird, and "off" those first few weeks or months - I did.
It's OK if you don't feel connected to your baby at first - I didn't. It was like a loud elephant was suddenly in the room.
If your feelings overwhelm you or worry you, PLEASE ask for help.
The picture you see above is of me and my first baby the night he was born. I was anxious, scared, exhausted, in pain, and I had no idea what I was in for.
Book smarts are nothing compared to experience, my friends. You will know more every minute, hour, and day.
Related Articles You May Be Interested In:
- During COVID-19 Pandemic, When Can You Have Visitors Over to Meet Your Newborn?
- Let's Learn About ... Infant Reflux
- 3 Important Questions About Your Baby's Reflux Answered
- Social Isolation and COVID-19 Causing More Anxiety for New Moms
- Should I Breastfeed During COVID-19 Pandemic?
Get to know Diane Arnaout, M.D., a Cook Children's pediatrician at Forest Park
"I didn’t realize how important the job of the pediatrician was until I had kids of my own. My education, experience in medicine, and cocky attitude made me feel like I knew it all before my first one came around. He proceeded to make me very aware of how little I actually knew.
Thankfully he survived, as did the next one, and they’ve helped me to grow and to help YOU, the parent, in so many ways. Sure I’m here to make sure your kids are healthy and happy at all ages. But I’m also here to make sure you’re educated, to make sure your family is thriving, and to make you feel confident in caring for your kids. From diaper rashes to sleep problems to school difficulties - I’m here to help.
I write a lot about common problems and ailments online – you can find me busy on Facebook and Instagram, and I write articles for the Cook Children’s Checkup Newsroom blog. A lot of stuff you’ll hear me say in the office will be typed out on there, too. And we’re in a day and age where the internet helps make connections – you can connect with me on there, or e-mail me anytime.
It takes a village to raise a child – and I’m so grateful to be a part of yours. And as Master Yoda teaches us – “Always pass on what you have learned.” I fully plan to!"