Newborn Baby Care

As you are getting used to life as a new parent, there is a lot to learn about caring for a newborn. Sleep, diet, teething, health, and doctor’s visits are just a few things that need to be taken into consideration when caring for your newborn baby.

This guide outlines what you need to know in order to care for your newborn baby as a new parent, and includes a variety of scenarios to make this part of your new parenthood as easy as possible.

This 5-part guide provides the following sections:

• Page 1 – Overview – Guide for First Time Parents: Caring for a Newborn Baby
• Page 2: Tips and Advice for First Time Parent
• Page 3: Pregnancy: Signs, Symptoms and Health
• Page 4: Birth Plan and Baby Checklist
• Page 5: Newborn Baby Care

Note: This guide offers tips, information, and resources for first time parents. Please consult your doctor, nurse, or other medical professionals with specific questions.

Chapter 1: Newborn Sleep, Diet and Teething Tips

As tempting as it may be to want to get your newborn baby on a sleep schedule as soon as you arrive home, this is the time where babies are just learning how to be alive. Contrary to what you may think, babies actually do not need a schedule yet. Babies also are not born with a circadian rhythm, and they learn cues to be awake and asleep over time.

Newborn Baby Sleep Schedule

How much do newborns sleep?
How much do newborns sleep? Typically, newborns need between 15 and 17 hours of sleep a day.

Outline of a Typical Sleep Schedule

The following outline is what you can expect to experience when going through the first few weeks of life with your newborn:

● Week 1: The goal is to keep your newborn awake long enough to give them a full feeding. You can help your baby to stay awake by rubbing their feet and hands, burp thoroughly when you change nursing sides or when they are halfway through their bottle, and to wipe their neck and forehead with a wet wipe.
● Week 2: This week will likely be much more difficult as you may find yourself truly exhausted from the lack of a sleep schedule. Try the baby sleeping tips listed below if you are struggling with your newborn sleeping during the right times of the day.
● Week 3: By now, your newborn will be starting to get the hang of the rhythm of the day, and be learning that nighttime is for sleeping. Although it may seem early, babies actually can fall asleep on their own at this point, and it’s best to encourage them to do so. You can start to implement a routine at this stage of a baby’s sleeping.
● Week 4: Adjust your baby’s sleep schedule to try to match yours. It’s time for you to catch up on all of the sleep you’ve missed over the past several weeks as your newborn figures it out. Determine the average time between feeds, and schedule a routine around that.
● Week 5: Emphasize the importance of the “dream feed”, which is the feeding time right before it’s time for the baby to go to sleep. This is because it will help your baby to stay asleep for longer through the night. The baby will likely not be very hungry since they’ll have just eaten a few hours ago, but try to do a diaper change, re-swaddle, and feed again to encourage reaching as close as possible to a full feeding. Eventually, this feed will replace the early morning feed, as the baby will sleep in later, likely past 6:00 am.
● Week 6: Decide your morning wake time. This will be the time that the baby will learn to sleep until, so you can identify what is convenient for your lifestyle and routine. If they wake earlier and are not crying for milk, do other things with your baby like playing, cuddling, and hold off feeding until they ask for it closer to the time you’d like them to wake up, once they adjust fully.

Baby sleeping tips

You can help your baby to learn to distinguish whether it is daytime or nighttime. Check out the following tips:
● Keep the baby’s surroundings very bright during the daytime. Make sure that during your baby’s time awake and feeding, keep the windows open and keep lights on.
● After 8:00 pm, have all interactions with your baby be under dim lighting, such as diaper changing, hugging and cuddling, diaper changing, and anything else so that they can start to associate darkness with time for sleep.
● At night, feed the baby whenever they wake up and determine that they are hungry.
● Also avoid stimulating your baby and doing things that would stir them up, such as playing, singing, cooing, or other active behaviors.
● Make sure your baby is properly and snuggly swaddled when going to sleep at night.

It’s also important to allow your baby to learn how to fall asleep on their own by doing the following:
● Don’t let the baby get overtired
● Set your newborn baby in their crib when they start to show signs of being tired, such as yawning or stretching. This way they are still awake yet drowsy and they can fall asleep on their own.

Chapter 2: Newborn Diet and Feeding Habits

Baby feeding schedule

At first, your baby will eat very frequently, every 3 to 4 hours. Initially, you’ll want to feed your baby on demand, by them signaling their hungry with crying. But at the end of the first month, you will already see an increase in how much your baby is consuming, up to 4 ounces. The schedule will feel much more predictable by then.

When Do Babies Start Teething

A baby first starts to teethe anywhere between 4 and 7 months. Though this is the typical window, it is quite common for the first teeth to show up quite a bit later, as well.
Teething is a different experience with every child. Some experience very painful teething and will let you know this through their fits and crying, while others experience a more mild pain level.

Baby teething symptoms

Your baby can start to express symptoms of teething from the moment a new tooth begins to emerge up to when a lot of teeth come in at once. It ranges, and can last for several months.

The tricky part of teething symptoms is that these are not exclusive to teething; a number of things in your baby’s development could cause them to perform these action. But, with that being said, these are the most common teething signals and symptoms:

● Drooling
● Swollen, bulging gums
● A tooth visible below the gum
● Irritability
● Trouble sleeping
● Trying to bite, chew, and suck on everything
● Rubbing their face
● Rejecting food
● Grabbing the ears

Teething tips and remedies

Teething can really be unpleasant for both you and baby, as you may find yourself with a fussy, crying baby. Try the following remedies to help relieve teething symptoms:
● Rubbing your baby’s gums. You can use your finger (cleaned) or a moistened gauze pad to rub your baby’s gums since pressure can temporarily relieve discomfort.
● A washcloth, chilled spoon, or a chilled teething ring can soothe a baby’s sore gums. A frozen teething ring or coming into contact with intense cold can be harmful for the baby.
● A chilled piece of food if your baby is eating solids could be helpful for them to gnaw on. But keep an eye on them in case of a choking situation.
● Drying the drool that your baby has during teething will help avoid other issues that arise from teething, such as skin irritation. Consider applying moisturizer if your baby’s skin surrounding their mouth is irritated from drooling.
● There are over-the-counter medications for your baby, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (things like Children’s Motrin or Advil).

Baby Checkups and Doctor Visits

Newborn Exams

Your baby will go to the doctor at least nine times in the first three years of its life according to The American Academy of Pediatrics.

Newborn hearing test

Before you even leave the hospital, your newborn baby will have a hearing test done. Though most babies can hear normally, one to three of every 1,000 babies are born with some degree of hearing loss. This newborn hearing test can detect a baby’s hearing loss and determine if further testing needs to be done in order to see if sign language and/or hearing aids should be considered.

Baby Checkup Schedule

The most common schedule for baby checkups is as follows:
● 1 month: The doctor will weigh your baby and measure their body to see where they are on the growth chart. They will also do a complete physical, which includes checking the lungs, eyes, ears, mouth, head, hips, genitals, belly, and body. As most babies get their first hepatitis B shot at birth, the second one will likely follow at this appointment.

● 2 months: Your baby will be weighed and measured again for the doctor to see where they are in their development. It doesn’t matter if your baby’s growth is in the 5th or 95th percentile, but rather just that your baby is growing consistently. The doctor will perform a full physical again, including everything in the first baby checkup appointment. Your baby will receive the pneumococcal, DTaP, Hib, and polio vaccines (combined into two shots), and the rotavirus vaccine, which is oral.

● 4 months: For this newborn doctor visit, the baby will again be measured and weighed. A complete physical will take place, followed by more vaccines: DTaP, polio, Hib, pneumococcal, and rotavirus (oral).

● 6 months: After the usual weighing, measuring, and physical, more vaccines are given (the same as at the 4 month newborn doctor visit). If it is flu season, a baby can now also get their first flu shot.

● 9 months: You may see for the first time a slow in the baby’s growth as the doctor measures and weights them, which is common at this stage in your infant’s development. They perform a complete physical again, and only administer a flu shot if they did not get it at six months old, and only give any vaccines that the baby may have missed during previous checkups.

Chapter 3: Healthy Baby Facts

The key way that doctors measure your baby’s overall health and development progress is through their growth, particularly in their first year. Children who are growing consistently and are in the normal range for height and weight are generally healthy babies.

Normal Newborn Heart Rate

A normal newborn heart rate is between 120 and 160 beats per minute. This is checked five minutes after the baby is born, and other things are immediately checked as well, such as respiratory rates, muscle reflexes and tone, and their coloring.

Healthy Baby Weight

Average baby weight

Helping your baby to gain the right amount of weight throughout its first year of life can be tricky. During the first month of your newborn’s life, it is not uncommon for them to lose a few ounces after birth. A healthy baby will regain its birth weight within 10 to 12 days.

The average baby weight is hard to define since babies come in all different shapes and sizes and grow at such varying rates.

Baby Weight Gain and Growth Chart

Babies develop at different speeds. Breastfed babies are fatter in the first few months, and thin out as they get older than children that are exclusively fed with formula. A lot of it has to do with genetics, as well, as many families’ babies tend to grow quicker than others.

Babies will tend to grow an inch and gain between 5 to 7 ounces each month until they are about six months in age. Throughout the second month, the baby should be steadily gaining weight. At about six months old, babies will start to gain multiple ounces a week.

Like people, babies express their health in many different ways, as each baby is different from the next. If you have any questions, you can consult your doctor to see how your newborn baby is progressing.

Sources and Additional Readings: is ran by The American Academy of Pediatrics, dedicated to helping educate parents on how to care for their children’s health:

Standford Children’s Health is a healthcare system in the San Francisco area that caters to exclusively pediatric and obstetric care: prepares parents for raising healthy babies and provides content on health and development-related topics: is the website for the magazine “Parents”, with healthy and supportive information for babies and children:

Continue Reading

• Page 1 – Overview – Guide for First Time Parents: Caring for a Newborn Baby
• Page 2: Tips and Advice for First Time Parent
• Page 3: Pregnancy: Signs, Symptoms and Health
• Page 4: Birth Plan and Baby Checklist
• Page 5: Newborn Baby Care