14 questions you may have about your newborn, answered by a pediatrician
8. Why does my baby sound like Darth Vader?
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Newborn visits are my favorite. Watching new parents cuddle and fuss over their tiny new baby warms my heart every time! As a pediatrician and mom of three, I love talking to new parents about their newborns and answering all their queries. Here are some of the most common newborn questions I get in the office.
14 frequently asked questions at baby’s first pediatrician visit
From wondering whether your baby is getting enough milk to why they’re so noisy, here are the newborn questions every parent asks.
Related: How to have a stress-free pediatrician appointment with your kids
1. Is it normal for babies to sleep a lot?
Yes and no. While newborns do sleep a lot, we expect them to wake every 2 to 3 hours to feed and then stay awake for a bit.. Sleep, wake, eat, sleep and repeat. That pattern is normal. But if the baby isn’t waking on her own, can’t stay awake for a bit, is not gaining weight or has symptoms of an infection, there may be something else going on. If you are concerned about how your baby is sleeping, call your doctor. We’re here to help.
2. Am I making enough breast milk? How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk?
This is a very common question, especially if the baby is being breast fed. The answer depends on multiple factors, but usually is yes. I always remind new moms that our bodies are made to make milk. With enough stimulation we should make enough to feed our babies. Newborns should eat every 2 to -3 hours. So if your baby is content between feeds, is pooping and peeing regularly, is waking up appropriately to feed, gaining weight and is otherwise happy, I would say yes, you’re making enough milk. If you’re concerned, call your doctor for a weight check.
Related: Newborn breastfeeding: Your guide to the first week of nursing
3. Can I spoil my baby by holding him too much?
Nope. Babies are meant to be held and cuddled so go for it! You can’t spoil a child by giving them too much love—and it’s great for bonding and attachment.
Related: How babywearing saved my motherhood
4. What color should my baby’s poop be?
Anything from mustard yellow to green to brown can be normal. It depends on if the baby is breastfed, formula fed or both and if the breast milk is comprised of foremilk or hindmilk or both. So try not to worry. However, if there is blood in the stool or if it is black, you should call your pediatrician.
Related: 1-month-old baby health & growth guide
5. Is my baby too hot (or too cold)?
Remember, babies have a harder time regulating their temperature because they are brand new. A good rule is that if you’re cold/hot, then it is likely your baby is too. Another good rule is to dress babies in layers. They should wear one layer more than what you’re comfortable in.
6. Is it normal for my baby to move constantly during sleep?
Yes. Experts think that the time spent in active, or REM, sleep is super important for brain development.
Related: 1-week-old baby sleep schedule and expert advice
7. Is it normal for my baby to cough? To sneeze?
Like adults, babies have the occasional cough or sneeze but if it persists, everyone at home is sick, and/or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms like a fever or fast breathing, then a call to your doctor would be a good idea.
Related: 12 things parents need to know about RSV
8. Why does my baby sound like Darth Vader?
We all have mucous in our noses most of the time to filter out impurities from the air and make sure we aren’t breathing in things that could hurt us. Well, a baby’s nose works the same way. But tiny noses mean that one small booger can clog up the whole nostril. As long as they are otherwise well, you can clean their nose with some saline and nose bulb or do nothing. Bothered? Talk to your doc.
9. Why is my baby so noisy?
Newborns are loud. They grunt and sigh and make all sorts of funny noises. This is something I didn’t realize until I had my own and spent many nights staring at my newborn convinced something was wrong. But it’s totally normal. Babies have very short sleep cycles, usually cycling in and out of deep sleep every 50 minutes or so. As they cycle into lighter sleep, they may move or make noises.
Related: Motherhood is: Hearing a baby cry even when your baby isn’t around
10. Should my baby’s belly look like that?
Usually, yes. Babies have big, soft protruding bellies! So if your little one’s belly looks like a frog’s, that is likely normal. Hard or distended? Likely they have some gas or need to poop—or it could be something more concerning. So if it persists, let your doctor know.
11. Can I take my baby out of the house?
Sure, when you are ready. There is no right or wrong time to take your baby out. So if you’re comfortable, then go ahead. But remember, your newborn baby is vulnerable to colds and illnesses, so avoid crowded or enclosed places until they get their first set of vaccines at their 2 month visit.
Related: 10 crucial rules for visiting a newborn
12. Why does my baby spit up all the time?
All babies spit up.The question is always how bothered your little one is. Do they spits up but are otherwise happy?That’s OK! Do they spit up and then become very fussy? Discuss it with your pediatrician. Also call your doctor if the spit up is green like a Christmas tree, bloody or very forceful.
13. Why does my baby have eye discharge? Is it an infection?
Likely not. Babies get clogged tear ducts that cause their eye(s) to have scant to moderate watery, yellow-green discharge. But their eyes should not be red and their eyelids should not be swollen. This typically resolves by 9 months. If the eye is red and swollen or the discharge changes, consult your pediatrician.
14. What is up with my baby’s skin?
Babies have sensitive skin and are also prone to a few, not concerning, normal rashes. Generally, these baby rashes go away in a few weeks. If you are concerned, please ask your pediatrician if there is anything you should be doing. I usually recommend hypoallergenic soaps and detergents with no added fragrances or colors when babies are new to decrease the chance of irritation or allergy.
Newborns are confusing, cuddly little miracles! But don’t worry. You’re doing an amazing job and if you need us, call us.
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