Caring for Newborns

Ideas for Newborn Handprints & Footprints

Greeting Cards

Make personalized birth announcements and greetings with family photos and your newborn's personal stamp on them. Custom-make photocards and use your newborn baby's footprints and handprints to adorn the back or inside of the card. Cards are more special and intimate when they are sent through the mail rather than email. You can print cards from your computer and glue color photocopies of the hand and footprints to them.

Growth Chart

Custom nursery decor can reflect your baby's growth and development. Make an original growth chart and keepsake by stamping your newborns baby's footprints and handprints on one corner of the a framed poster-board. Continue stamping the prints every week or every month by gently holding your baby's pigment-stained foot and hand to the chart. Write the date below each print to record your infant's growth and continue until the chart is full.

Wall Tile Decor

Decorative ceramic tiles can accent your fireplace, walls and kitchen or bathroom counter. Embed your newborn's tiny feet and handprints in soft natural clay and mark it with your baby's name and the date. Shape the edges of the clay to make a round or square tile. Add a shiny glaze of color and bake the imprinted tile to harden it. The tile can be glued onto your existing tilework anywhere in your home or make a thoughtful gift for grandparents.

Baby Album

Baby albums record milestones in your newborn's first year. These can include the first smile, first giggle and first tooth. Add your baby's handprints and footprints weekly or monthly to record her growth. Or decorate the album by dipping your baby's feet in paint and "walking" her across the cover.

Reasons for Lack of Muscle Development in a Newborn

Normal Muscle Development

It’s normal for newborn babies to seem a bit floppy, since their muscles are still developing. While a baby is growing in the womb and running out of extra space, she doesn’t have the chance to work her muscles out to develop them; as she grows and matures in the outside world, her muscles will develop more tone and coordination. On the other hand, extreme floppiness or looseness should be addressed immediately with a pediatrician.

Prematurity

If a baby is born preterm, he may not have had enough time “in the oven” to develop properly and may suffer from poor muscle tone, among other possible issues. Often this poor muscle development is temporary and due to immaturity of the central nervous system. As his system matures, the condition usually improves.

Congenital Abnormalities

Certain congenital disorders can cause poor muscle tone and floppiness in a newborn. Children’s Hospital of Orange County and The University of Chicago state that Down syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities can lead to muscle development problems. Spina bifida, hypothyroidism, congestive heart failure, storage disorders, hypoglycemia and other disorders can do this, too. Some of these issues can cause permanent muscle issues, while some are only temporary or can be resolved with physical therapy or surgery.

Trauma

If there is trauma during the birth, it may cause nerve damage, spine injury or intracranial hemorrhage, leading to poor muscle development or lower body movement. Cerebral palsy is one of these conditions. If a baby is born breech or there was cervical cord trauma, there is also a risk of trauma.

Illness and Drugs

If the infant or pregnant mother contracts an illness or is exposed to certain medications, it may affect the baby’s muscle development. Herpes, toxoplasmosis, rubella and sepsis can contribute to this. If the mother was given the anti-seizure medication magnesium sulfate, benzodiazepine or spinal anesthesia, it can cause this condition. In addition, if a baby develops rickets or kernicterus, muscle development can be affected.

The Best Ways to Carry a Newborn After a Cesarean

Take Your Time

Some mothers will recover faster than others after a C-section; every birth and every mother is different. Taking your time to heal at your own pace is important. According to the American Pregnancy Association, you will be encouraged to get out of bed in the first 24 hours after your C-section. Taking gentle walks around the hospital and at home will help you get your strength back and promote the healing of your incision. When you feel confident and strong on your own two legs, you can pick up your newborn, usually within a few days following a C-section.

Recruit Helpers

Even if you physically can pick up your baby and attend to every fussy burp and diaper change, it does not mean you should. Recruiting your family, your partner, your friends or a doula to help care for your little one in the first weeks is a good idea. The American Pregnancy Association advises that seeking and accepting help in caring for your newborn or other children you might have can alleviate the baby blues, a feeling of helplessness or listlessness that can accompany a mother's first weeks after her baby is born.

Kangaroo Care

Prolonged skin-to-skin contact is powerful medicine for both mother and baby. Commonly known as "kangaroo care," this practice has been shown in a study by the Boston Medical Center to significantly lower pain or discomfort in a newborn. You can practice kangaroo care within minutes after your C-section, depending on your hospital's policies. Long sessions of holding your baby close, not only during breastfeeding, will help him to be more content and will help you to feel bonded with him.

Wearing Your Baby

When you feel strong enough, you can practice kangaroo care even while you are up and about, by wearing your baby against your skin with a baby sling. This is one of the safest ways to carry your baby soon after a C-section, because the sling holds your baby high up and away from your incision area. Wearing your baby also allows you to move around with your hands free, so you can safely steady yourself while your baby is secure.

What causes hiccups in newborns?

What Are Hiccups?

Hiccups are convulsive, spontaneous tightenings of the diaphragm. They occur at the same time as the tightening of the larynx and closure of the glottis, arresting the inflow of air.

Causes of Hiccups

The exact cause of hiccups is unknown. Experts believe that newborns who get hiccups may drink their breast milk or formula too quickly. Drinking too quickly can cause a baby to swallow air. Sometimes during a feeding a baby can be upset, which can also cause her to drink more quickly and thus induce hiccups.

How Long Do Hiccups Last?

Most hiccups last for just a few minutes. Sometimes they will come and go all throughout the day, lasting a few minutes, an hour or all day. Sometimes the hiccups come and go randomly.

Very rarely, hiccups will last longer than 48 consecutive hours. These are called "persistent hiccups.” Even more rarely, hiccups will last longer than a month. These are called "intractable hiccups." These types of rare hiccups can cause fatigue, lack of sleep and weight loss. If your newborn experiences either persistent or intractable hiccups, he must be checked by a doctor.

Is Your Newborn in Pain?

Fortunately, hiccups will not hurt your newborn. Most newborns do not even seem bothered by hiccups, even though hiccups can be violent or loud. Most of the time, parents are bothered by the hiccups more than the newborn. As long as your newborn is smiling, eating, sleeping and happy, you have nothing to worry about.

What Can You Do?

To help prevent hiccups in newborns, try to get your baby to drink more slowly by watching the bottle carefully or watching her breastfeed. If she begins gulping quickly, gently withdraw the bottle or breast so she can calm down. You can then begin feeding again. Also, burp her more frequently than normal. If hiccups do begin, gently pat your newborn to encourage her to relax. You can even try distracting your newborn by walking around and showing her new things in your yard or home.

Psychological Behavior of a Newborn

Significance

An endless cycle of sleeping, crying, eating, wetting and soiling diapers is the order of the day during the first several weeks of your newborn's life. During this period, your face and soothing voice become a recognizable source of comfort as your newborn comes to associate you with nourishment, warmth and a calming touch. Rocking, softly singing or talking to your newborn may ease any distress he's experiencing, whether it's gas, feeling ill or simply the desire for physical closeness.

Early Communication

Crying is your newborn's primary means of letting you know when she needs something or that she'd like you to fix something that's wrong, like changing her diaper or filling her tummy. She may be trying to tell you that she's too hot or too cold or needs to be burped. Newborns may also cry for no particular reason at all. Your newborn's communication skills aren't limited to crying, though. She is likely to have a repertoire of sounds that include sighs, squeaks and grunts. These noises are typically reactions to disturbances such as a high-pitched sound or a strong smell. Your baby may also squirm as a means of responding to you or to get your attention.

Recommendations

You can stimulate your newborn's brain growth by providing a loving, cheerful, calming and stimulating environment. Presenting your newborn with textured toys, rattles and mobiles with distinct colors and designs encourages the development of touch, hearing and sight, explains KidsHealth.org. Sounds are also very intriguing to newborns. Your baby should respond to interesting noises by looking attentive and slowing down his activity, even that means he simply stops moving his arms. He may turn his head to try to figure out the source of the sound.

Outlook

Amazing changes begin to take place when your infant enters his second month. You'll notice that he's more responsive, alert and actually seems to be listening when you talk to him. Cooing and babbling sounds begin over the next several months as your infant delights and entertains you with his "baby talk." You have a lot to look forward to.

How to Keep a Newborn Safe in a Hot Climate

Remove one layer of your newborn’s clothing when the weather is warmer than 75 F, advises the American Academy of Pediatrics. The rule is that newborns should wear an undershirt beneath pajamas and a swaddled receiving blanket. When the temperature warms, however, the rule is that you should remove some of these layers to keep your baby cool and comfortable. For example, leave off the undershirt, skip the pajamas or leave the blanket at home so that your baby is wearing only one layer of clothing.

Keep your baby’s arms and legs covered when you are outside, advises the Women’s and Children’s Health Network. Your newborn baby’s skin is to thin that it does not offer the same protection that your own skin offers when the weather is warm and the sun is shining. While you might be tempted to slather him with sunscreen, it is safer for him to wear long sleeves, pants, socks and a hat and to stay shaded with an umbrella or stroller cover.

Feed your newborn baby more often, according to the Women’s and Children’s Health Network. Whether you breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby, she will need to eat a little more often when she’s outside. Also, it is a good idea to start the car with the air conditioner running before placing the baby in the car. It is never, ever safe to leave your baby in the car, especially when it is hot outside.

Things You Will Need

  • Hats
  • Umbrellas
  • Bottles
  • Formula or breastmilk

Tip

If your newborn baby is premature, you will need an additional layer of clothing to keep him safe even when the weather is hot, advises the American Academy of Pediatrics. You should add an extra layer of clothing to his ensemble until he reaches the weight of a full-term baby. It is OK to use sunscreen on parts of your baby’s body that are not protected from the sun, such as the baby’s hands and face, according to the Women’s and Children’s Health Network. You should use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. A tepid bath will help you cool your newborn baby down if she seems too hot from the weather.

Things Needed for a Newborn Changing Table

Diapering Items

The most important items on a changing table are diapering supplies. Keep the shelves or drawers underneath the changing table stocked with plenty of extra diapers. You should also have plenty of baby wipes on hand, including a spare package in case you run out in the middle of a change. Diaper cream is also another necessity for caring for diaper rashes.

Medical Items

Aside from changing diapers, you may also find yourself using your changing table for all sorts of other purposes, such as for taking your newborn baby's temperature or for bandaging the small scratches she may have inflicted on herself with her nails. Medical items that are useful to have on hand at the changing table include an infant thermometer, a first aid kit, saline solution and a nasal aspirator, cotton swabs and rubbing alcohol for caring for her umbilical cord stump and any special creams or ointments that your pediatrician recommends.

Personal Care Items

Because newborn babies can't sit up, many parents perform other personal care tasks for their newborn babies on the changing table because it is a steady, flat surface. These tasks may include trimming the baby's nails or brushing his hair, among other things. As a result, it is helpful to stock all of your infant's personal care necessities on the changing table as well. Some of the items you may find helpful to keep on hand include baby nail clippers, a hairbrush meant for infants, or headbands or hair bows that are gentle enough for use with a newborn.

Clothing

Because your child may have wet through or soiled their clothing, some parents find it helpful to store a few changes of clothing in the changing table. Having the clothing on hand eliminates the problem of having to leave the child unattended or carry them half-naked while you find the right sleeper or outfit in their dresser. Some parents keep all of the newborn's clothing at the changing table, whereas some prefer to keep only a few changes for emergencies.

How to Handle the Anticipation of a Baby

Plan a "babymoon" vacation by spending some quality time with your spouse or partner. Get away for the weekend or plan an elaborate vacation on a tropical island. The time away can help you forget about the daily concerns about the nursery or doctor's appointments.

Get some exercise. Take walks, attend a yoga class or go for a swim at your local community center. Alternatively, get plenty of rest as this may be your last chance to sleep soundly for a long time.

Spend time cooking food you can eat when the baby comes. Store soups, stews and casseroles in the freezer for a later date. Plan a few elaborate meals that can be frozen, then spend those last days pouring your energy into making them.

Keep a journal. Write letters to your baby about your hopes for his life, your plans for the future and what your life was like before he arrived.

Tap your network of fellow parents and parents-to-be for support and encouragement during these last few days. Talk about your fears, anxiety and anticipation about the baby, which may help you cope with the waiting.

Tip

Do your best to relax as much as possible. Babies born to mothers with depression or anxiety tend to have more sleep issues, says Science Daily, so you'll do yourself a favor by staying calm throughout the process. If your anxiety or stress seems out of control, talk to your doctor about solutions to help you cope.

Warning

Vigorous exercise is generally verboten as the pregnancy advances -- at least for the expectant mother. Talk to your doctor before you start any exercise routine. If you plan to travel, also have a conversation with your doctor about the possible risks and any necessary precautions.

Newborn Sleeping & Eating Schedules

Eating Schedule

Expect your newborn to eat about every two to three hours throughout the day, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics' HealthyChildren.org. In a 24-hour period, she should eat about eight to 12 times. Rather than adhering to a rigid every-three-hours eating schedule, you should simply ensure that your baby eats, at a minimum, once within this three-hour time frame. These regular feedings should occur at day and night, which means you might have to wake your sleeping baby for a middle-of-the-night feeding, depending on your pediatrician's instructions.

Hunger Cues

Hunger cues tell you when your newborn is ready to eat. When you notice these cues, you should feed your newborn, even if this feeding falls within that two- to three-hour window. HealthyChildren.org recommends that parents feed their newborns on demand in response to hunger cues. Breastfed newborns might root -- open their mouths and try to move toward the breast -- while others might put their hand in their mouth and suck on it when they're hungry. Crying is a late sign of hunger, according to HealthyChildren.org. Responding to these early signs of hunger can dictate your newborn's eating schedule.

Sleeping Schedule

Newborns sleep about eight to nine hours during the day and eight hours at night, according to the Lucille Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. However, this sleep is interrupted. Newborns typically sleep in three- to four-hour stretches, although some might not sleep that long. Sleeping and eating schedules are intertwined. Your little one's small stomach fills and empties quickly, requiring regular feedings, and a desire to eat can arouse your newborn from a sound slumber.

Flexibility

Every newborn is different, with different sleeping and eating patterns and demands. Successful parenting of a newborn requires flexibility -- you should adapt your schedule to meet your baby's ever-changing needs. Feeding on demand and soothing your baby to sleep when he's tired can help ensure he enjoys both adequate nutrition and sleep.

How to Calm a Clingy Newborn

One Moment at a Time

Practice calming yourself first. Babies pick up on the energy of their caregivers. If mom and dad are unusually stressed, the child will feel it. You can find solace in as little as 60 seconds with meditation, visualization, conscious relaxation, prayer, yoga or another relaxing and centering activity, according to "Parents Magazine." Before and as you calm your newborn, close your eyes for a few minutes, notice the gentle rhythm of your breath, allow your shoulders to relax and see yourself calm with your baby.

Wear your baby in a safe, soft baby carrier for mutual calming and comfort. Newborns might be clingy and fussy because they want the closeness and comfort of mom. The womb experience actually lasts 18 months and wearing your baby can contribute to less crying, more learning and more organization, according to AskDrSears.com. Babies have a need for connection and learning about their environment by watching those around them. Choose a sling or other carrier such as the Baby K'tan and wear your baby daily, as often as desired. Connect with Babywearing International for support to wear your baby.

Ensure that your baby's needs are met. Newborns need to be fed every two hours, or more often if mom is working to establish a strong milk supply and baby is hungry, according to Kelly Bonyata, a certified lactation expert who writes at Kellymom.com. Change your baby's diaper if necessary, offer a different environment such as low light or one with a bit of stimulation like soft music. Sometimes changing positions can help as can some fresh air with a walk outside.

Crying is a signal to be honored, according to author and psychologist Aletha Solter of Aware Parenting Institute. Newborns cry to communicate, crying leads to a protective response in parents and it's natural and healthy to respond to a crying, clingy newborn, according to AskDrSears.com. Instead of allowing your baby to cry it out by leaving him alone, Solter suggests calming yourself and listening as you hold your baby and he releases stress through crying. Sometimes babies can benefit from crying to release in the loving arms of a caregiver and as you learn your baby's cues and needs you will be able tell when this will be helpful.

How to Get a Passport for a Newborn

Obtain two identical two-inch square passport photos of your newborn at a photo facility that offers passport photo services. A parent may hold a newborn for the photo, as your baby is not big enough to hold his head up by himself yet. Make sure your baby's eyes and hairline are visible in the photo. The passport photo must be taken within the last six months prior to applying for a passport.

Download, print out and fill in an application form for a U.S. passport. You may also pick up an application form at your local post office or passport acceptance facility. Complete the form, making sure that you wait to sign it until you are submitting it at the acceptance facility. You must sign the form in person.

Gather the necessary documentation required to apply for the passport. You must present your newborn's certified birth certificate issued by the city, county or state. A certified birth certificate will contain a registrar's raised seal, a registrar's signature and the date the certificate was filed. Your baby's birth certificate must also contain the full names of both parents to prove parent's relationship to the child. If your child has just one parent, the birth certificate must reflect this information.

Come prepared with your own form of identification such as a current U.S. passport, valid driver's license, recently issued Naturalization Certificate or a current government employee or military I.D. You will need to have photocopies of each parent's identification document to turn in with the application. Photocopies must be on plain white, 8.5- by 11-inch standard paper stock with no other marks or images. Photocopy both the front and back of your identification using just the front-side of the paper.

Submit the application form for your newborn's passport at a passport acceptance facility. Both parents or guardians must be present with the baby when submitting the application, unless your baby has just one parent. Bring along all aforementioned photos, documents, identifications and photocopies. You will be required to pay a passport application fee ranging from $15 to $95 in addition to a $25 execution fee.

Things You Will Need

  • 2 passport photos
  • Application Form DS-11
  • Child's certified birth certificate with parent(s) name(s)
  • Current personal identification for parent(s)
  • 2 photocopies of each parent(s) identification document
  • Check, cash, credit or debit card or money order

Tip

Call a passport acceptance facility beforehand to ensure the location is currently accepting new passport applications.

Ask what form of payment is accepted at the specific passport agency location you wish to visit. Some locations may accept credit card payments while others may not.

If your baby does not have a certified birth certificate, you may submit evidence of your child's U.S. citizenship with a naturalization certificate, certificate of citizenship or a Consular Report of Birth Abroad.

If your baby is adopted, submit an adoption decree with adopting parent's names to prove your relationship to the child.

If you are the only parent with legal custody of your child, submit a court order establishing custody or guardianship.

Your baby's passport will be good for five years.

Warning

If you submit the passport application in a different state than your primary identification document specifies, you must present a second form of identification that shows your photo, full name, date of birth and a document issuance date.

Your newborn's passport can take six weeks to receive after you have submitted your application. Be sure to submit your application in plenty of time prior to your trip. You can pay a fee for a rush two-week delivery time.

How to Care for a Newborn With Down Syndrome

Follow through with your newborn’s appointments. If a doctor diagnoses your baby with Down syndrome, she will do a complete physical exam on your baby to confirm her diagnosis. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that the physician will also look for conditions associated with Down syndrome and make notes about your newborn’s physical features. Conditions the physician may monitor on an ongoing basis include thyroid disorders, respiratory infections, dental problems and vision problems.

Protect your newborn from illnesses. The American Academy of Family Physicians explains that babies with Down syndrome are at an increased risk for developing respiratory, throat, nose and ear infections, as well as chronic infections. Avoid exposing your newborn to people who are sick, including family members. If you think your child has developed an infection make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.

Closely watch your newborn as you feed him. Some newborns with Down syndrome have low muscle tone or control, which can cause them to choke or feed slowly. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you monitor your newborn’s weight to make sure he’s receiving enough nutrition. The pediatrics organization encourages breastfeeding and says that you should keep your newborn alert as he feeds.

Pay attention to how your newborn digests food. Newborns with Down syndrome are prone to bowel and stomach problems. If your baby’s stomach swells, frequently spits up or has abnormal stools, call the pediatrician.

Enroll in an Early Intervention service through your state’s Department of Health or Education, or a private agency. Early Intervention services are developmental services your baby can receive as soon as his first day of life through age 3, according to Care.com. When you participate in this type of service, experts provide the specialized interventions that benefit newborns and babies with Down syndrome, such as physical and occupational therapy.

Newborn Developmental Milestones

Not Off and Running - Yet

It may appear that your newborn expends every ounce of her physical energy crying to be fed or changed, but don’t be fooled. From birth to 3 months, your tiny newborn achieves milestones in the physical domain of development that enable her to learn about her environment. Your newborn may attempt to reach for dangling objects, raise her head when lying on her stomach and make a fist. Don’t be surprised to see your newborn practicing the same body movements over and over again, reports PBS.org.

Your newborn’s achievements within the cognitive domain validate her growing interest in her world. Within the cognitive domain of development, your newborn may pay close attention to familiar faces such as yours, and respond to boredom with cries or fussiness, reports the Centers for Disease Control. You may observe that your newborn can recognize you from a distance and track objects with her eyes. A newborn may indicate that she recognizes her parent’s voice with smiles, vocalization or body movement, much to the parent’s delight.

Although not yet a social butterfly, your tiny newborn exhibits achievements within the social-emotional domain of development that underscore her keen interest in people and a desire to interact with them. For example, you may observe your newborn smiling at people for the social purpose of motivating a person to smile back at her. She may attempt to self-soothe when she becomes distressed, as evidenced by sucking on her fingers until a parent can intervene for her.

Expect your newborn to reach some developmental milestones later, and some milestones earlier than expected. That’s okay. A delay in reaching milestones can be influenced by factors such as chronic disease, infection, emotional health and inadequate nutrition, reports the National Institutes of Health website, MedlinePlus. Red flags that signal problems include a poor response to noises or bright lights, failure to lift the head when lying on her stomach, no head control and little weight gain. Follow your instincts, and contact your newborn’s pediatrician if you have concerns about her development.

What Position to Lay a Newborn Baby

Sleep Position

The ideal sleep position for your newborn is flat on his back, resting on a firm mattress in a crib without any stuffed toys, pillows, crib bumpers, comforters or blankets, according to the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. New babies should sleep on their backs to avoid the risk of sudden infant death syndrome -- but too much back time can have serious consequences. Babies can develop flat sections on the back or side of the head after too much time spent in any one position, warns KidsHealth.org.

Tummy Time

Weak neck muscles make tummy time a difficult proposition for your newborn, but stomach placement is important for a few minutes several times a day during awake time, working up to at least 20 minutes a day by the time the baby is 3 or 4 months old, recommends MayoClinic.com. The lack of tummy time risks developmental delays, eye-tracking problems and behavioral issues, according to the American Physical Therapy Association. Other problems for babies who've missed out on tummy time include cognitive problems and delays in developing organizational skills later in childhood. Position your baby with a firm pillow or rolled towel under his chest to help him feel comfortable. This position elevates his body so he can learn to lift his head, and it also keeps his head elevated above the surface so he can breathe.

Holding Baby

Cuddle your newborn close and support his head, neck and back firmly to guide his head when you move him. Holding him close gives him a feeling of warmth and security. Remember to always support your newborn's head when holding baby upright and when you lay him down. Avoid any shaking, jiggling or fast, jerking movements when holding your newborn.

Suffocation Dangers

Newborns don't have the muscle strength or coordination to push clothing or blankets away from their nose and mouth. Your newborn needs a firm surface during both sleep and waking periods to avoid blocking airways. Tight-fitting sheets also reduce the danger of suffocation. Avoiding soft fabrics, pillows or blankets reduces the risk of blocking baby's airways. The Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford recommends parents use a lightweight sleeper in the summer months and a flannel one-piece sleeper during the winter season. Don't cover baby's head during sleep or when holding your newborn.

Fun Things to Do with Newborns

Massage

Massaging your newborn gives you a wonderful opportunity to bond and have fun with your baby while relaxing him with your comforting touch. Infant massage can help improve a baby’s sleep, reduce colic and possibly even strengthen his immune system, according to Parents.com. It is relaxing and feels good to a baby’s soft skin when you touch him gently while playing soothing music. There are books and websites available that give direct instructions on how to give infant massage, but simply touching your baby instinctively works, too.

Reading

It is never too early to start reading to your baby. Even as a newborn, she can benefit from the soothing sound of your voice, though she doesn't yet understand what your words mean. In addition to spending quality time with the parent who reads to her, your baby can benefit cognitively. Babies who are read to by a family member have increased chances for future academic success, increased vocabularies and vivid imaginations, according to authors of "Reading with Babies, Toddlers and Twos," Susan Straub and K.J. Dell'Antonia.

Carrying

Invest in a carrier with good head support for your baby, and carry him wherever you go. He'll enjoy being snuggled close, and the rhythm of your heartbeat and movements are soothing to him. Talk to your baby as you take him on errands or for a walk in the warm sunshine, but be sure to put a hat on a newborn when he is in the sun. The visual and auditory stimuli are interesting to your newborn, and when he needs to sleep, he can do so in a secure, comforting environment.

Photography

Babies change so much in the first few months of life. Capture as many newborn moments as possible on film. Photograph your baby when she is awake and sleeping, at home in her baby seat and outside in the stroller. Close-ups of newborn hands and feet are parent favorites, and try to capture some of baby’s many facial expressions. Include siblings and family members in the photos as well. Use props and special outfits to take pictures for photo calendars and holiday greeting cards.

How to Keep Track of Eating and Wet Diapers in a Newborn

Print out a feeding chart online or create your own on paper or on your computer with separate columns for feedings and wet diapers. Make sure each column has a minimum of 15 rows, because a typical newborn eats eight to 12 times every day and has five to six wet diapers and several bowel movements, according to the La Leche League. Make sure there's a place for the date at the top of the log sheet.

Begin the first day you bring your baby home from the hospital. While you are in the hospital, the staff will likely be recording this information for you. Ask for a copy to bring home to complete your records, if you'd like.

Note the exact time your newborn begins and ends breastfeeding and which breast he nurses from. If you are bottle-feeding, record the time of the feeding and the number of ounces consumed.

Check your newborn baby's diapers frequently, and write down each time you change a wet diaper. If the diaper seems excessively full when you change it, check it more frequently.

Note the consistency and color of your baby's bowel movements, if you are tracking this information. You can either record this in the same column as wet diaper information, or you can note it in a separate column just for bowel movements.

Look over the log each night before bed to ensure you've not forgotten to add any important information. Highlight any times of concern for discussion with your pediatrician.

Begin a new log sheet every morning, and store the previous day’s chart in a safe place.

Tip

Don’t forget to record feedings and diaper changes that occur in the middle of the night.