Your Newborn at Home: Care Instructions

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To keep the umbilical cord uncovered, fold the diaper below the cord. Or you can use special diapers for newborns that have a cutout for the cord.

To keep the cord dry, give your baby a sponge bath instead of bathing them in a tub. The cord should fall off in a week or two.

Feeding your baby

  • Feed your baby whenever they're hungry. Feedings may be short at first but will get longer.
  • Wake your baby to feed, if you need to.
  • Breastfeed at least 8 times every 24 hours, or formula-feed at least 6 times every 24 hours.

Understanding your baby's sleeping

  • Always put your baby to sleep on their back.
  • Newborns sleep most of the day and wake up about every 2 to 3 hours to eat.
  • While sleeping, your baby may sometimes make sounds or seem restless.
  • At first, your baby may sleep through loud noises.

Changing your baby's diapers

  • Check your baby's diaper (and change if needed) at least every 2 hours.
  • Expect about 3 wet diapers a day for the first few days. Then expect 6 or more wet diapers a day.
  • Keep track of your baby's wet diapers and bowel habits. Let your doctor know of any changes.

Caring for yourself

  • Trust yourself. If something doesn't feel right with your body, tell your doctor right away.
  • Sleep when your baby sleeps, drink plenty of water, and ask for help if you need it.
  • Tell your doctor if you or your partner feels sad or anxious for more than 2 weeks.
  • Call your doctor or midwife with questions about breastfeeding or bottle-feeding.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.