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Expectant parents may be really excited about meeting their baby, but also a little scared about caring for their little one in the early months. Our tips should help you gain confidence.

Feeding Time

Mothers who are breastfeeding their babies might not be able to pass feeding duties off to dad or someone else, but they do have a lot less planning to do.

The World Health Organization advises breastfeeding mothers to feed on demand, meaning as often as the baby wants for as long as they like.

There is no need to prepare a bottle if you breastfeed, and your baby's meal is always served at the right temperature. 

Breastfeeding doesn't mean you have to be a slave to your baby's food schedule, however — with a good baby carrier like a mei tai, moms can breastfeed while engaged in other activities like household chores or a walk!

Formula-feeding parents need to be careful about how much they feed their babies (two to three ounces for newborns), and how often.

The package will give you instructions that you'll need to stick to unless your pediatrician recommends otherwise. You can sterilize your baby's bottles and teats by boiling them or using an electric steam-sterilizer. 

Newborns need to burp after each feeding. You can facilitate that by holding your baby in an upright position over your shoulder. Place a burp cloth on your shoulder in case she spits up some milk!

Sleeping? Hopefully!

Newborn babies spend around 16 out of every 24 hours asleep, but they only usually sleep in two to four hour stretches. New parents are bound to be a little sleep-deprived because tiny babies really don't sleep through the night. 

In which position should your baby sleep? Medical advice is always based on current research, so your mom might give you completely different advice than your pediatrician.

The most up-to-date studies suggest that it is safest for babies to sleep on their backs. This reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). 

Where should your baby sleep? That's a more difficult decision. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises all parents to place their babies in a crib, and discourages bed-sharing with parents. Most medical professionals agree that it is safest for a newborn to sleep in his own crib in his parents' bedroom, so he has his own sleeping space but you can still attend to his needs immediately. 

Many parents decide to bed-share with their babies despite that advice. If you are one of them, do make sure that you don't have blankets covering your baby. Don't share your bed with your baby if you are intoxicated, a very heavy sleeper, or obese. 

When Should You Call The Doctor?

It's normal to be worried about your baby all the time, but when should you call the doctor? First of all, phone your pediatrician at any time you are genuinely worried that anything is wrong with your baby. Your instincts may be right and your call could make the medical help your baby needs possible.

They could also be wrong, but your pediatrician is used to unnecessary calls. "Better safe than sorry" certainly applies in this case. 

You'll also want to contact your baby's pediatrician if the following symptoms are present:

  • Rectal temperatures of more than 100.4 or less than 98.8 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Bad smells, a hot feeling, pus, redness or bleeding from the belly button while the cord stump is attached
  • Breathing problems, indicated by grunting, fast breathing, or wheezing
  • Crying that just won't stop no matter what you do for longer than 30 minutes
  • Sleeping for longer than four hours at the time, more than once
  • Jaundice
  • No appetite
  • Bloody or mucus-filled bowel movements or signs of constipation

While most babies will get ill, and some will have problems within the first month of life, most conditions you'll come across won't be serious. Some will be, and those that aren't might also require medical treatment. With a pediatrician you trust on board, your life will be a lot less stressful. 

Bonding With Your Baby

Bonding with your baby is the most exciting part of the newborn period! You'll get to know each other through every day life and care, but there are certainly other things you can do too. Your newborn will recognize your voice and your partner's from when she was in the womb, and he'll enjoy it when you talk to him or sing him songs.

By chatting about your daily activities constantly, you'll develop his linguistic skills and work on bonding. 

You can gently massage your baby, rock her, and take her out for short walks. Before you know it, your baby will be smiling, cooing, sitting up and eating solids! Your baby might not remember the care you gave her in her first months consciously, but loving and holding her will definitely give her the solid foundation she needs later in life!

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