Newborn Care Tips

Newborn Care

Some basic, practical tips for the new Mom

At Palmetto Pediatric & Adolescent Clinic, we will want to see your baby within the first week after going home from the hospital. If you are breastfeeding your infant, the first check-up will probably be with one of our lactation consultants. If all is going well at your first visit, we will see you again when the baby is 2 weeks of age, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, and 1 year.


Try to get in the habit early in your baby’s life of putting him/her down to sleep when they are drowsy but not fully asleep. This teaches your baby to soothe himself and fall asleep alone. Many babies will wake for feedings through the night up until 6 months of age. Some babies will have their days/nights mixed up. They seem to want to stay awake all night. If you wish to change this pattern, wake them more frequently during the day for feedings.


Breastfed babies are fed on demand. Formula fed newborns usually take 2 to 4 ounces of formula every 2 to 4 hours around the clock. If your baby’s weight is okay at the first office visit, you do not need to wake your baby for feedings at night. You may gradually increase the amount of the feedings as your baby grows-let him/her be the guide.

Umbilical Cord

Clean the umbilical cord with rubbing alcohol during each diaper change. After the cord falls off, usually around 2 weeks of age, you can give your baby a full bath. Prior to that, use sponge baths only.


Clean the site and apply Vaseline or other ointment (A&D, antibiotic ointment) with each diaper change. It is not unusual for the site to look red and have a few small areas of yellowish discharge on the skin. After the circumcision site has healed (7-10 days), you do not need to apply ointment any longer.

Stools/Bowel Movements

Many newborns will have a BM with almost every feeding. It will go from the thick newborn meconium to soft, yellow, seedy, within a few days. Thereafter , it may change to brown/green occasionally. Soon he or she may go several days without a BM. This is not a problem unless the BMs are hard. If they are, just call our office during regular hours for advice.


Jaundice is a yellow discoloration of the skin and whites of the eyes. It is caused by an excess of the molecule, bilirubin, which is a by-product of the breakdown of red blood cells. If your baby looks yellow to you, please notify our office right away. This problem is not serious if it is treated appropriately.


A fever during the first two months is considered an emergency. You do not need to check the temperature unless the baby is acting sick or feels hot to you. We prefer you check the temperature rectally. Please call our Palmetto Pediatrics office IMMEDIATELY if your baby’s temperature is 100.4 or higher during the first two months of life.


Most babies will start teething by 4 months of age. They will drool a lot, put everything is their mouths, and chew their (and your) fingers/fists. Usually the teeth don’t actually come in until 6 or 7 months of age. Simply provide safe teething toys or a cold washcloth to chew on.

Diaper Rash

Most diaper rashes are caused by skin irritation from contact with urine or feces. Frequent changing and cleaning will help prevent this problem. If the diaper area begins to look red/irritated, use a thick diaper rash ointment.


Thrush is a yeast infection of the mouth. This is also very common in young babies. It looks like white patches on the tongue or other inner surfaces of the mouth. If you think your baby has thrush, simply call our office during regular office hours, and we will discuss treatment with you.


It is normal for babies to be somewhat fussy at times. If your baby is not consolable for over 2 hours, please contact our office. Once any medical problems have been ruled out you may try multiple ways to soothe your fussy baby: car rides, swings, vibrating bouncy seats, a walk, a warm bath, a loud ticking clock by the crib, a warm (NOT HOT) water bottle on the tummy and swaddling.