Newborn Basics

Congratulations on your new baby! Babies bring great joy. However, most new parents are not prepared for the 24 hour a day job of caring for a newborn. To be the best parent you can be, you must take care of yourself first. Forget all non-essential tasks. Rest when the baby sleeps. Try to comfort your baby when he or she cries, but if you’re unsuccessful, remember that crying is not psychologically harmful to babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants sleep on a firm surface positioned on their back.

Illness Prevention

Limit non-family visitors during the first eight weeks of life, especially children under the age of five years. Do not let anyone with a potential illness visit your baby.

Breast Feeding

Expect the first several days to be challenging, even frustrating as your baby adjusts to this world, becomes hungry, and your milk comes in. For the first few days, your baby will probably not be very hungry and may not nurse more than 5-10 minutes on each breast at each feeding. The small amount of colostrum your baby gets during this time is enough.

After 2-3 days, gradually increase the amount of time you nurse at each feeding to 10-15 minutes per breast. By ten minutes, the breasts are usually emptied and your baby will only be sucking as he or she would suck on a pacifier. We suggest feeding on demand every 2-4 hours for the first several weeks. When possible, avoid substitute bottles for the first 2 weeks until your milk supply is coordinated with the baby’s demand. Once breast milk is well established, most babies normally have loose to watery bowel movements, varying in frequency from one each feeding to one every 3-4 days.

Prescription medications taken while nursing may adversely affect the infant. Please check with our office.


Most brands of formula are available in a variety of preparations (concentrate, ready to feed, powder). Any form or brand is fine but we will usually suggest one to get the baby started. We suggest letting your baby feed on demand but with limits of around 2-4 ounces every 2-4 hours for the first 2-3 weeks. It is not usually necessary to awaken the baby at night for feedings.

Items You Will Need

  • Rectal thermometer (normal temperature is 97-100°).
  • Bulb syringe (to be used to clean baby’s nose).
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain and fever.
  • Baby nail scissors.
  • Vaseline and gauze for circumcision care.

Skin Care

  1. When bathing, any mild soap is fine. Sponge bathe until cord has dropped off.
  2. Keep the umbilical cord clean and dry. The cord will usually drop off in 2-4 weeks. Do not worry if some bleeding occurs.
  3. Use Desitin or zinc oxide for diaper rash.
  4. Apply Vaseline and gauze for circumcision.
  5. Use of baby lotion, powder and oil is unnecessary.

Contact Us

If you have questions about your newborn (colic, feeding problems, eye drainage, stools, rashes), please call during office hours. We are available daily, including Saturday and Sunday. If you have an emergency after office hours call (615) 385-1451.

Please notify your insurance company of your child’s birth. Newborns must be added to your policy within 30 days of their birth in order to receive coverage.