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Home > Newborn Baby Questions - Most Popular Questions
Top 20 Newborn Baby Questions
newborn babyFor ALL parents new and acclimated, the first 2 weeks that baby is at home can be a non-stop paranoia fest. The constant getting up to check their breathing to trying to remember all of the newborn tips that everyone and your mother gave to you may be enough to drive you mad.  If you're new to parenting and you're up in the middle of the night typing with one hand and holding your precious little one in the other, this page is for you.  Or maybe you've done it all before, but it's been a while, so you need a refresher course. What the heck, this page is for you too.
We scoured the web and found some of the most popular questions that new parents are asking and here's the top 20:

 Quick Question selector:
  1. Question: How do I administer CPR to my baby?
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    If you're reading this in an emergency situation and your baby has stopped breathing, call 911 immediately, click the link below to go to the CPR video, press the play button on the video below and follow the instructions in this video CALMLY.  If someone is with you, have them pay attention to these instructions also so that they can take over if you get lightheaded or dizzy before the ambulance arrives. It's tough to be calm in an emergency situation, but keep as calm as possible and don't stop until the ambulance arrives or until the baby begins to breathe on their own.


  2. Question: My baby coughs and sneezes more than I think she should be. When should I be concerned?
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    Answer: Obviously, nothing is going to stop you from being "concerned", but there's a helpful article on baby coughs and sneezes available in the baby article section of our site that will help to alleviate some of the main concerns. To start, there a lot of allergens, dust and other foreign air particles that your baby didn't have to deal with on the inside.  Just like your body, your baby is pushing those things out in the only way it knows how.  There may be a cause for concern if the coughing or sneezing is non-stop for a long period of time which typically indicates that the baby has some sort of allergy to something either in the room or in the air.  You should bring it to the doctor's attention sooner rather than later, but stay calm.  Try moving the baby into another room of the house.  If the sneezing or coughing then stops, you probably can deduct that something in the previous room is setting off allergies. 

  3. Question: Is bottle or breastfeeding better?
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    Answer: Besides being a loaded question, that question is answered here in one of our articles. There is no right choice.  Some mothers don't have an option to breastfeed for a variety of reasons, so to say that breastfeeding is better only sets off controversy because there is nothing wrong with bottle feeding babies.  Nor should you feel as if you're short changing your baby if you decide to bottle feed for personal reasons.  While there are some benefits that come with breastfeeding and it seems like new benefits are found every year, manufacturers of baby formulas are doing a great job of making sure that your baby is getting optimum nutrition with each meal. For now, read our article on baby feeding basics here.

  4. Question: When do I get immunizations and what for?
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    Answer: There are many immunizations for children, but for the first 2 weeks, there's only one and that's the immunization for Hepatitis B. This will normally be given before you even leave the hospital, but it won't be the last time since it comes in a series of 3 shots. So your child will have to get updated on the Hepatitis B shot at 1-2 months and then again between 6-18 months.   For the other shots that will be making a pokey appearance in your child's future, be sure to visit Revolution Health's neat little immunization tool at http://www.revolutionhealth.com/healthy-living/parenting/childs-health/immunizations/immunizations. Just slide the age indicator to your child's age and you'll know what immunizations are coming.

  5. Question: What type of formula is best for my baby?
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    Answer: There are many great formulas on the market if you can't breast feed, so here are some good suggestions.  First, find a formula that has added iron.  This is important for baby's brain and blood development. There are also what's referred to as Long Chain Fatty Acids that help your baby's growth and development.  You'll find this typically referred to as DHA and ARA on the can of formula.  Your baby gets DHA and ARA from you during pregnancy and also during breastfeeding. Even though your baby can make DHA and ARS themselves as infants, a lot of formulas are adding it in.  Speak to your pediatrician about what they suggest for your baby.

  6. Question: How do I know if I'm giving my baby enough to eat?
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    Answer: During the first 2 weeks, it will depend on whether the baby is being bottle fed or breastfed. If the baby is being bottle fed, she should be fed 6-10 times a day. For breastfed babies, 8-12 times a day at about 10-15 minutes on each breast.  While that number may seem like a wide variance, it just depends on the child.  You shouldn't wait until your child cries out in hunger because at that point it can be frustrating for both of you. Although your baby may have a difficult time communicating with you, according to family.go.com, there are many tell tales signs that your baby is hungry.  "Look for earlier, more subtle clues such as stirring from sleep, putting the fist in the mouth, turning the head if the cheek is stroked lightly, or sucking movements with the mouth. During the first few days it is best to feed your baby every 2 to 4 hours, even if you have to wake them up."

  7. Question: My baby is a yellow color. Does he have jaundice and what can I do?
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    Answer: There is nothing to freak out about.  Jaundice is caused by the baby's body producing too much of what's called Bilirubin which is made when your baby's body breaks down red blood cells.  The more he eats and poops, the quicker that the Billirubin gets disposed of and the sooner the yellowish skin tone starts to go away.  Let your pediatrician know if your baby gets that yellow skin tone so that she can do a blood test to see how much Bilirubin there is in the baby's system.  Most often you just continue what you're doing which is being a new parent, but if the pediatrician feels that a treatment is necessary to bring the levels down, they'll do it.

  8. Question: My baby keeps getting a rash, what's the best treatment for it?
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    Answer: This will depend on what kind of rash that your baby has.  Your pediatrician will be the best person to answer this question.  However, in the first  2 to 3 weeks of their life, diaper rash is popular due to wetness, so changing more frequently during this stage to keep baby dry will help offset the issue.  You can also use creams that contain zinc-oxide or even a thin coat of Vaseline to help promote speedy healing.   If the rash is red, raised and surrounded by bumps, your pediatrician will need to prescribe a medication for it, but again, nothing to worry about or cause for overreaction.  There are any types of rashes, however and Banner Health's website has a great resource that discusses the many varieties in detail.

  9. Question: How can I tell if my baby is sick? When should I call the doctor?
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    Answer: The main thing to know is to not be too overprotective and start taking the baby's temperature every hour on the hour.  Your baby will let you know by changing her habits.  Maybe she's not eating well, acting overly fussy and feels very warm.  However, you should call your pediatrician immediately if you  experience any of these very important signs with your baby (source: Banner Health):

    1. High or low temperature. High temperatures are any temperature higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) and low temperatures would be anything lower than 96.8 Fahrenheit (36 degrees Celsius)

    2. Limp or decreased muscle tone.

    3. Sudden decrease in wet diapers

    4. Blueness around mouth

    5. Sleeping excessively

    6. Sudden change in feeding behavior such as not being able to stay awake during feedings

    7. Not able to sustain nursing or feeding

    8. Sweating during feedings

    9. Unusual crying moaning or grunting

    10. Decreased activity or movement

    11. Change in body color such as gray, blue or red.

  10. Question: How can I get my baby to sleep through the night?
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    Answer: You're kidding right? You gave up a full nights sleep when you gave birth to your precious little one.  Ok, ok.  In the first couple of months or so, your baby will wake to feed every 3 hours and remember that you should be proactive about this to minimize the mid-night frustration. As time goes on, that 3 hours will become 4 and begin to widen.  Disney Family Parenting suggests keeping the night feedings calm and quiet so that your baby can distinguish between night and day.  All of the feedings should be calm, but the night time feedings should never be over a whisper.  Once baby gets to 4 months old, the night time feedings will go away until they become teenagers.  ; )

    At 4 months, you should lay the baby face up in their crib and let her find her own way to fall asleep.  If you always rock or sing to them to sleep, then you'll be committing yourself to doing this every time they wake up and need to be coaxed back to sleep.  Don't pick her up, hug her or feed her every time she cries because you'll be inviting a long road of bad habits that is almost impossible to fix instead of your baby calming themselves.

  11. Question: My baby has colic. What is it and what can I do to keep my sanity?
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    Answer: Nothing. Good luck with that...   There are things you can do, but it's best to know what you're dealing with.  You'll find a lot of different definitions of colic on the web. Most places like Baby Center indicate that colic is simply unexplained bouts of crying during the first few weeks of infancy.  Well that would mean that every baby born has colic, so other pediatricians have gone a bit further to indicate that colic is caused by abdominal cramps in the infant.  Colic typically only happens once or twice a day and your baby will normally be happy one second and then screaming bloody murder the next and then happy again. 

    So how do you deal with it?  Pick up your baby and rock him or put him in a swing (a baby swing, by the way for those newbie parents).  Stroller rides can ease the problem also (that includes indoor rides, too!).  If this doesn't work, try a warm bath or swaddling them lightly in a blanket with their arms close to their body. These suggestions are normally fail proof, but if they're not working and you need more strategies, Baby Center offers up a whopping 21 strategies to help ease Colic. If none of it is working, call your pediatrician for any other suggestions.

  12. Question: When can I give my baby a bath?
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    Answer: For the first week or two, you should just stick to a warm washcloth or sponge bathing.  Only graduate to baths after the umbilical cord falls of and that area heals up.  After that, some say that you only need to give newborns baths once or twice a week in only a few inches of very warm water and of course completely and totally supervised every single second.  While once or twice a week is normally fine, it won't hurt to bathe them more frequently if followed up with baby lotion to keep their skin from getting dried out.

  13. Question: It hurts to breastfeed. Is this normal?
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    Many women that breastfeed report discomfort during the first week.  Some even say it can be unbearable. If your discomfort qualifies as extremely painful, speak to your doctor.  But if it's sore or just very uncomfortable, Ask Lenore says it's normally because of one of two problems or even both.  Either your baby is not suckling correctly or you don't have your baby positioned and/or attached correctly.  We'll get to proper positioning in a moment, but it's important to know the difference between what pain may be caused by these 2 problems or what could possibly be a fungal infection.  When a baby isn't positioned correctly, not latching on correctly or if they're not sucking correctly, the pain experienced is often a sharp knife-like pain.  A fungal infection in the breast is normally represented by a burning sensation which is obviously a completely different pain sensation and you'll probably agree that there's nothing sensational about either one.    For proper positioning and latching suggestions, Ask Lenore's website has a great instructional guide that is invaluable.  If you're experiencing a burning sensation, let your doctor know so that she can help you find the best treatment.

  14. Question: How do I know if my baby's vision is okay?
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    There are many things that are going on with a baby's vision during the first few weeks.  Some babies have uncoordinated eye movements or may even be cross-eyed for a while until everything sits in place.  Babies also can't see all colors yet, so that's why most baby books are in black and white or use black and white heavily throughout the pages.  Babies can only focus in on things that are about 10 inches or closer to their face.  Problems will be hard to pinpoint, but ask your pediatrician if your baby isn't "tracking" motion after a few weeks or simply refuses to focus on objects dangled in front of their face like a finger or mobile.  Also, the old wives tale about eyes being the same size from birth to death is not true. Babies eyes are about half the size of an adult eye and will slowly continue to grow until puberty, but does most of its growth during their first year.

  15. Question: When should I get my baby's hearing tested?
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    Babies should get their hearing tested before they even leave the hospital after birth.  If it wasn't done and your baby is already at home, there are a lot of typical reactions for babies that have normal hearing.  Loud noises will startle the baby, but if those noises are frequent, she will effectively tune them out after a couple of weeks.  Babies prefer higher voices like their mothers voice over lower daddy voices.  They will also perk up to listen to a quiet whisper from mommy's voice and will typically stop moving when there is dialogue at a normal conversational level in the room.  If you don't experience these typical reactions, let your pediatrician know and have hearing tests performed because if hearing issues are not caught early, it can lead to many developmental problems down the road.

  16. Question: My babies arms and legs flail about like crazy. Is this normal?
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    During pregnancy, a babies arms and legs are close to them in a nice and warm fetal position.  Then all of a sudden, BAM, they're thrust into the cold world where they can suddenly move their arms and legs about freely.  It's a completely new sensation for them and they don't quite know how to control it yet.  So when you see their arms or legs just flailing around, it's perfectly normal and they're typically just exploring their boundaries and ranges in motion.

  17. Question: What do I look for in a car seat for my baby?
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    This is a loaded question because there are a huge variety of car seats available.  The biggest thing to know is that your baby should ride rear facing in the back seat until they weigh at least 20 pounds. That being said, a rear facing seat that can transition into a front facing one would be a good choice.  Additionally, your baby should NEVER ride in the front seat.  It can be difficult to not want to continually see your child while you're driving, but it's completely unsafe.  Your baby will be fine during the ride.  Meanwhile, there are a wide variety of products available at baby stores and even in baby sections of stores that allow you to strategically set up mirrors so that you can see her just fine even though she's facing away from you and in the back seat. For a guide on what to look for in a car seat as far as manufacturers and models are concerned, visit the website for the American Academy of Pediatrics Car Safety Seat Guide as well as their Infant Passenger Seating guide.

  18. Question: What should I expect with my baby's umbilical cord?
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    In a normal situation, you would lightly apply alcohol on the cord with a cotton swab about 3 or 4 times each day.  Eventually the cord will dry up and fall off.  This process is normally accompanied by a very foul smell similar to rotting flesh, because..that's what it is!  Some pediatricians will give you a solution to use, but typical rubbing alcohol will be fine and will not hurt the baby since the umbilical cord has no pain sensation. Make sure that you apply the alcohol to all sides of the cord to promote the even and eventual decay.  Once the cord falls off after about 10-14 days, Banner Health suggests pouring alcohol into the depression it leaves behind and leave it there for 2 to 3 minutes to kill any bacteria that may be present before drying it out.  When you put on a diaper, fold down the front so that the cord gets air and will promote the drying process. Avoid giving the baby any tub baths until the cord has fallen off. 

    If the cord produces pus, follow the alcohol treatment with an over the counter ointment containing Bacitracin or Polysporin.  Just be patient because the cord will not fall off early and do not under any circumstances cut it off.  The cord will fall off by itself in 10-14 days.  A couple spots of blood is also normal and is normally brought on by clothing friction.  Call the doctor if a red streak appears from the navel and up the cord or if a red area spreads beyond the navel.  

  19. Question: Should I be concerned when my baby spits up or vomits?
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    Typically, no. The times when you should call the doctor would be when your child looks or acts very sick, if there is blood present in their spit up, if they choked on milk, became limp or turned blue.   Most spit up and vomiting is caused by improper feeding. A baby's body needs at least 2 and a half hours to process food, so feeding any sooner will overload their little systems.  If timing is not an issue, it may be the quantity being fed to them.  Try decreasing the quantity and limit feeding time to no more than 20 minutes. For breast fed babies, if the mothers milk is plentiful, try nursing on one side and pumping the other. 

    Tight diapers are also a culprit because they can press down on the baby's belly too hard.   As for possible baby reflux, it's typically normal if the baby doesn't act sick afterwards, doesn't have diarrhea and appears to be healthy and happy.  If it happens very frequently, make an appointment with your pediatrician that may be able to provide a prescription or suggest an over the counter treatment to help soothe the baby's stomach.

  20. Question: What are some important things to look for in my baby's genitals?
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    This differs from boys to girls, but we'll cover both.

    Hymen -
    The vaginal tags (referred to as the hymen) can get swollen if there's too much estrogen and you may see a half inch of extra pink tissue, but this will normally decrease in size within a few weeks. 

    Discharge -
    Also as the estrogen decreases, there may be a clear or white discharge from the vaginal area anywhere between a few days to 10 days after birth.  It may even have a slight blood tint to it or possibly pink. This is normal and will only last 2-4 days.

    Scrotum - The scrotum will appear swollen for about 6 months to as long as a year. This is due to a clear fluid that is squeezed into the scrotum during delivery that will eventually get absorbed. 

    Testicles - It's not that common, but if the testicles aren't present, know that they could take as long as a year to descend into position. If the testicles haven't dropped into place by age one, they will have to be surgically put into position.

    Circumcision - If your baby is uncircumcised, it's typical for the foreskin to be tight which will hide the head of the penis.  This will fix itself over time and is completely normal.  If your baby is (source: Banner Health)

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    circumcised, expect the area to be red and tender for a few days. Gently clean the area a few times a day with water and apply petroleum jelly to the incision site to keep the area soft.  The scab will fall off in just under 10 days, but if a Plastibel ring was used, it could take up to 2 weeks.  Call your pediatrician if more than a few drops of blood is present at the incision site.  

If your questions weren't in the Top 20, send an email to us and we'll post your question here!  Need an answer right now!? You can also visit any of these sites below that have pretty strong Q and A sections on a host of newborn questions.


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