The day has finally arrived. Your new bundle of joy is here. Now what? With so many questions flying through your head about how to take care of your new baby where do you start? First take a deep breath and enjoy your little one. Time will go faster than you realize so try and enjoy the moment. Here are a few things to help you out.
Feeding–You have probably already done a lot of thinking about what you are going to feed your baby and depending on your own situation have decided whether you plan to breastfeed or give formula. Now you wonder how much your baby should eat. Most babies who breastfed will need 8-12 feedings a day and should have 6-10 wet diapers a day to show that they are getting enough to eat as well as be gaining weight. If you have any concerns about whether they are getting enough then talk with your pediatrician.
Formula fed babies are similar to breast fed babies only you get to see how much they eat. Initially, they will eat 1.5 to 2 ounces and increase as they get bigger up to around 6-7 ounces per feed (28-32 ounces a day) by the time they are around 6 months old. As they grow they begin to space out the timing of their feeds. Somewhere between 4-6 months you will introduce cereals and other baby food and then other foods eventually working up to three meals a day with snacks in between by around a year old. Be sure to discuss it with your doctor at your checkup visits.
Car Safety–Everyone knows that children have to ride in car seats in cars but there are a lot of details that most people do not know too. Statistics show that 72-84% of car seats are misused. The most common errors are the wrong seat for a child’s age and weight, not properly installed, and the child’s straps not tight enough. Parents should be sure to read the instruction manual for their seat and ensure they are following the directions. Car seats recommendations have changed over the years. Today it is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics to keep children rear facing until they have outgrown the height and weight restrictions their rear facing seat which is somewhere around 2-3 years old for many seats. After that a forward facing seat should be used until they have out grown it. Finally, a booster seat should be used until the child is 57 inches tall and fits in the car’s seat belt properly. A good resource to use if you need more information is thecarseatlady.com. She discusses all aspects of car seats and boosters and how to know when your child is ready to move to the regular seat.
Sleep–Your child will start out sleeping away most of the day and it is important that he or she remain safe during that time. A safe sleep space free from blankets, bumpers, pillows, or other items is ideal for your baby. If you are worried about your child getting cold just be sure to dress them in warm pajamas. To help reduce the risk of SIDS further it is recommended that your child sleep on his or her back and while this can sometimes be difficult and may take some time for your child to get used to, it is an important safety step as parents.
Having a child is a big responsibility with many things to consider. We have only touched a few of the more important topics that parents need to know. Please be sure to talk with your doctor often about any concerns or questions you have. It could save a life.