You’ve carefully followed your obstetrician’s instructions, and delivered a healthy baby… but now the BIG questions start to pop up. Usually these questions come to mind when it’s least convenient to you and often after your pediatrician’s office has closed for the day. Here are some things to consider for these first few sweet but exhausting weeks!
- Keep a pen and pad of paper nearby. Write down your questions, even if it’s some scribbled notes in the near-dark while rocking a fussy baby! It will help jog your memory tomorrow. (“Why was I going to call my doctor today?? AARGH!”)
- The first days and weeks will be a blur: line up helpers so you just need to eat, drink, take care of yourself, and feed your baby. There will be plenty of time for you to do the laundry and gourmet cooking in the future!
- Try to establish and keep somewhat of a routine, but be flexible. “Flexible” means that it’s not set in concrete, but a routine can be extremely helpful. Pay attention to baby’s cues and remember that an upset baby does not always mean that they are hungry. They may need to burp, need a diaper change, need to snuggle or need a nap.
- What about jaundice? Every baby, especially breastfed ones, get a bit of jaundice, which is the yellow tinge the skin takes when baby’s red blood cells are being broken down, but the liver and guts aren’t quite “up to speed” yet with the process of metabolizing those breakdown products. Most babies get along fine with frequent nursing, and it goes away when mom’s milk comes in. That said, if your baby is as “orange as a pumpkin”, or is not having at least one wet and one dirty diaper per day of life (at least 3 wets on day 3, etc.), CALL YOUR DOCTOR!
- My baby feels hot: what to do? Oftentimes newborns feel warm after nursing or snuggling skin-to-skin. If your baby isn’t acting right or feels unusually warm, take a rectal temp. If it is 100.5 or above, call her doctor immediately, or go to the nearest ED that treats children. She could have just a common cold, but could have pneumonia or a urinary tract infection, etc. Be prepared that most babies under 2 months of age who have a true fever will have lab work done, and often times be admitted to the hospital for observation. For this reason, do what you can to limit the “social engagements” of newborns, especially in cold/flu season. If possible, let ill family members and friends wait to hold baby until they are feeling better.
Enjoy your baby! Cliché but true: She’ll only be little for a short while.