Newborn Care Instructions


There is nothing more amazing than a newborn baby. Each infant is born with their own personality and disposition, and whether it’s your first or your fifth child, it’s always a new, exciting experience.

Skin Care

Cord: Cleaning the umbilical cord is not necessary. It will drop off about 7-21 days after birth. If you should notice any redness or swelling, please call our office.  If it hasn’t fallen off by 4 weeks, please make an appointment.

Bath time: The infant should receive sponge baths until the cord has fallen off, at which point the infant may be washed in a shallow tub of water. Never leave your infant unattended in water. Limit the amount of soap at bath time.

Circumcision: If your son had a circumcision performed at birth, gently rinse the area with water, and if instructed, apply Vaseline after diaper changes. Call if his penis appears to be significantly swollen or red.


Breastfeeding is best. However, if you choose to use formula, make sure that it is iron fortified, as your baby needs iron to make mature red blood cells. We recommend Enfamil-Newborn, Goodstart or Similac Advance in the event you decide to use formula.

Infants usually feed anywhere from 1-2 ounces every 1-3 hours for the first few weeks of life. Your baby will generally take a slightly larger volume every day. Many infants spit up small amounts when they burp and others may spit up if they overeat.

If you are breastfeeding, try to keep formula supplementation to a minimum until after 2-3 weeks of age to avoid your infant refusing to breastfeed. Talk to us if you are not sure if your baby needs to have formula supplementation. Your milk will come in between 2-6 days after delivery. Make sure you drink plenty of extra fluids. Your baby will feed frequently (every hour or two) until your milk supply is well established, then every 2-3 hours. Despite frequent feedings, your baby will loose 5-7% of their weight in the first 2-3 days of life. Usually, weight gain is seen by the fourth & fifth day of life.

Stooling and Urinating

For the first few days of life, your baby will have meconium stools. They will slowly change from black to green and then finally to yellow. Breastfed infants tend to have frequent, loose, yellow, “seedy” stools, sometimes as often as every feeding. Bottlefed infants tend to have 1-4 yellow stools a day. Infants typically turn red and grunt when stooling, it can be quite a sight! Stool frequency can range from 8 times a day to once every 4-5 days.

Your infant should urinate a minimum of 3-4 times every 24 hours. The frequency of urination will gradually increase over the first several days of life.


It is important to place your child on his or her back on a firm surface, free of loose items or soft bedding. Your infant will probably sleep anywhere from 1-4 hours at a stretch. We recommend that you awaken your infant for a feeding every 2-3 hours for the first few days of life or until we are certain your infant is gaining weight appropriately. Remember, sleep when your baby sleeps.

Please call us immediately if…

Your infant has a rectal temperature of 100.4 degrees or greater, (Note:  The new tympanic or ear thermometers may not be very accurate).

Your infant has less than three wet diapers in a 24-hour period. Normally, infants should have a wet diaper 6-8 times a day.

Your infant is inconsolable, has high-pitched crying, is unresponsive, or pale/blue in color.

Your infant has evidence of an infection around their umbilical cord or circumcision site.

It’s normal if…

Your infant has hiccups.

Your infant sneezes or has mild nasal congestion. This is normal for an infant and does not necessarily mean that he or she has a cold. Salt-water nose drops and a humidifier may help.

Your child has head molding (cone head) or bruising. These will gradually resolve.

Your infant has breast swelling (even if a boy) or swelling of the labia with vaginal discharge that may be slightly blood tinged. Maternal hormones, which cross the placenta and are present in breast milk, are responsible for these normal findings.

Your circumcised baby boy had mild redness or yellow crusting around his circumcision site.

Please call us if…

Your infant is jaundiced or has yellow-orange tinged skin or the whites of the eyes are very yellow. Mild jaundice is normal for the first week of life.

Your infant develops thrush:  White patches on the inside of his or her cheeks which do not wipe off.

Your infant is having feeding problems.