New Baby Manual
From poop to pacifiers, the 10 most common concerns
What’s normal when it comes to my baby’s bowel movements?
Within the first few days of birth, your baby will pass a thick, black or dark-green substance called meconium. After several days, breastfed babies usually will begin having six to eight bowel movements a day, Swislow says. These babies’ stools are soft, yellow or greenish and sometimes filled with seedlike particles. The odor is faint and can smell a bit like buttermilk. Most formula-fed babies have one or two B.M.’s a day (although they may have more), Swislow says. Their stools usually are yellow or tan, with a more pungent odor and are thicker, like toothpaste. Be aware that breast- and bottle-fed babies sometimes can go several days without having a bowel movement.
I’m breastfeeding. Is it OK to give my baby an occasional bottle of formula?
“Breastfeed exclusively for the first three or four weeks,” Swislow advises. That way you establish an adequate milk supply and your baby learns how to nurse. After that, you can have the baby’s dad or a caregiver feed him pumped breast milk or formula if you prefer. “Don’t feel guilty; doing this won’t interfere with the absorption or benefits of breast milk,” Swislow says. Lactation consultants caution that frequent supplementing will reduce your milk supply, so if you plan to keep breastfeeding, consider pumping.
How warmly should I dress my baby?
Infants cannot regulate their body temperature until they are around 6 months old, so dressing them properly is important. “For sleep, put your baby in snug clothing that she can’t become entangled in or that could cover her face and cause her to re-breathe exhaled air, since this has been linked to sudden infant death syndrome [SIDS],” Geller says. So too has overbundling; if you must cover your baby with a blanket at night, check out the safe way to do it at http://aap.org/. Outside, in cold weather, dress her in several light layers that can be shed as needed, and make sure her hands and head are covered. Babies older than about 6 months simply need one more layer than an adult does in the same conditions, unless the weather is very cold.
What vitamins does my baby need?
To ensure adequate bone-building vitamin D intake, the AAP recommends giving breastfed babies a vitamin D supplement within the first two months. “Formulas contain as much vitamin D as babies need,” says Marianne Neifert, M.D., a pediatrician in Parker, Colo., and an AAP spokeswoman. Babies also need iron. If yours is formula fed, choose an iron-fortified formula (don’t worry: it won’t cause constipation). Breastfed babies need a supplemental source of iron after about age 6 months. Good sources include iron-fortified infant cereal and puréed meats. If you live in an area with nonfluoridated water, you may need to give your baby a fluoride supplement starting at about 6 months.