By: Shelli Samson, NI, Penfield Children’s Center’s Special Care Nursery

After spending time with doctors and nurses in the hospital, parents are often excited and a bit apprehensive to bring home their newborn. Below is a collection of common questions parents ask about the first few weeks home with their newest addition:

How long should my baby sleep?

Newborns sleep A LOT. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a new baby to sleep up to 18 hours a day. However, every baby is different. Babies also might wake for just minutes at a time and then drift off to sleep. Typically, breastfed babies wake more frequently than formula-fed babies, but as stated earlier, every baby is different, so don’t be surprised if this is not the case for your little one.

How often should I wake my newborn to eat?

Most of the time, babies will wake when hungry. However, a very comfortable, snuggled up baby might be more apt to stay asleep. Make sure to check with your child’s pediatrician or your lactation consultant about a good feeding schedule for your child. The rule of thumb is typically not to wait longer than 4 hours to feed your baby. If your little one is still sound asleep after 4 hours, gently unwrap him and offer milk.

How many diapers should I expect to change each day?

Expect to change about 6 wet diapers per day. Your newborn will also have about 3-4 bowel movements each day. If your baby is having more or less than the average dirty diapers, don’t panic! Just give your child’s pediatrician a call. He or she will most often allay your fears or ask that you bring your little one in for a check-up to make sure he’s getting enough food.

My newborn’s eyes don’t seem to focus. Is that normal?

While newborns can see, they aren’t able to focus well in the beginning. For this reason, their eyes can appear crossed. Some newborns may also have puffy eyes after birth and are not able to easily open them. Another interesting fact about newborn eyes – it might be awhile until you find out which color his eyes will be. If a child is born with brown eyes, they will most often stay that color. However, bluish-grey colored eyes might change, resulting in an entirely different color at around 3-6 months of age.

My newborn keeps getting the hiccups. Should I be worried?

Nope! According to the Mayo Clinic, hiccups are contractions of the diaphragm and usually only last a couple minutes. You should not try to “cure” your baby of hiccups by scaring him or using other folk remedies.

Your newborn is just that, new! He and you are learning to navigate the world together. There will be many questions and concerns throughout his life, but with a trusted pediatrician and a little patience, you as a parent or caregiver will learn his likes and dislikes, what he needs to be soothed, and continue to discover what makes him unique.

What questions did you have when your little one was a newborn?


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