The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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How to trim your baby's nails
Your baby's tiny but terribly sharp nails probably will need to be trimmed before you're even discharged from the hospital. Carlson suggests using nail scissors with rounded tips designed especially for infants, as they give you more control than clippers. Since babies have a tendency to clench their fists, you might want to trim your infant's nails when she's asleep or drowsy.
How to 'read' a dirty diaper
Think of wet and poopy diapers as signs your baby's getting enough to eat. In this regard, urine is more important than poop. "Urine output determines if your baby is taking in enough fluid," Baron explains. Look for a minimum of six wet diapers every 24 hours by the baby's fifth day of life.
Poop output is more variable. "Formula-fed infants may have two or three bowel movements a day, probably tapering to once a day, once every other day, or once every three or four days," says Corrigan. "Anything is normal as long as the baby is not passing hard little balls, which means she's constipated." As for breastfed babies: Some have one bowel movement for every feeding, while others go as long as several days between stools.
"Whether your baby takes formula or breast milk, you have to establish what's normal for your child," says Baron, but be on the lookout for diarrhea, which can quickly dehydrate a newborn. It's normal for babies to have loose, mushy stools, but something is wrong if the poop is watery rather than the consistency of mustard or pudding. A breastfed baby's stools typically are yellow and "seedy," while a formula-fed baby's can be tan, yellow or green.
Speaking of stools, when changing diapers, wipe little girls from front to back to help prevent urinary tract infections. Some doctors say commercial baby wipes are too harsh for newborns, especially breastfed babies, who typically have more frequent bowel movements. If your pediatrician agrees, use a warm, wet baby wash cloth, cotton ball or soft paper towel instead.