all the answers
expert advice on your 10 most pressing infant- care questions
4. My baby wakes up every few hours at night. How do I get him to sleep longer? Of course your baby wakes every few hours—he’s hungry! And until he’s a little older, feeding him—not extending his sleep—should be your primary concern.
Once your baby is a few months old, chances are he’ll take longer stretches of sleep, anywhere from six to 10 hours. Some parents like to move their baby into his own room at this point, feeling he’ll sleep better. Others like a closer arrangement, since sleeping in the same bed or room makes returning to sleep after feeding easier for mom and baby.
5. Is There any difference between caring for an uncircumcised penis and a circumcised one? “The difference is that there should be no direct contact with a circumcised penis until it has totally healed,” says Jay Gordon, M.D., a pediatrician in Santa Monica, Calif, and Fit Pregnancy advisory board member. “To clean the area, squeeze warm water onto it from a washcloth, then dab on petroleum jelly to protect it from irritation. If the penis is not circumcised, you can clean it directly with a washcloth. Don’t try to retract the foreskin to clean under it.”
6. Should I put my baby on an eating schedule? Not now. “Your primary concern when baby first comes home is that she gets enough food,” says Jay E. Berkelhamer, M.D., a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics and senior vice president of medical affairs for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. “Rather than holding back food in the first few weeks, you want to give your baby whatever she wants at this point.” Berkelhamer recommends feeding “on demand” for at least the first month.
7. Is it OK if my baby falls asleep while nursing? It’s perfectly fine and natural for your newborn to fall asleep while nursing. “It’s not a bad thing and, in fact, it’s very comforting for both mom and baby,” Ashworth says. But do make sure your little one has had enough to eat; you may need to switch breasts or stroke his chin to get him to finish his meal.
However, sleeping on the breast or with a bottle in his mouth is not such a good idea by the time he cuts his first teeth, typically around age 8 months to 9 months. That’s because allowing milk (or formula, for that matter) to pool in the mouth can contribute to tooth decay. Add a gentle tooth-and-gum brushing after feeding to his nighttime routine.
8. My husband says I should let our baby cry sometimes. Am I spoiling her by responding right away? No. “A newborn has very basic needs, based on what comes in and what goes out,” Michaelson says. “At this stage of the game, you should respond to her immediately. Your touch will help her thrive and develop trust.”
Once she’s a few months old, your baby will be better able to comfort herself with a thumb or toy. Then your husband may have a point: If her cries are not urgent, you might try waiting a few minutes to see if she can settle herself. But always be sure to stay close by and keep a watchful eye.