Dr. Segura gives answers to your top 10 questions as a new parent!
- Is it normal that my newborn sleeps in little spurts and not for very long?
Yes, this is very normal! Your newborn will, on average, sleep about 2 hours between feeds. Sometimes your baby will only sleep for 30 minutes until he/she needs to feed again! This is called cluster feeding and is normal.
2. Why does my baby seem to have their days and nights mixed up?
Newborns, for the most part, are nocturnal. Most mothers will remember their babies “rocking and rolling” at night and being quieter during the day.
3. How do I get my baby to sleep a little more at night?
Night feedings should be brief and silent. Parents should avoid playing with or talking to their baby when feeding them at night so that your little newborn starts to learn that nighttime is for sleeping and eating. During the day, have your newborn sleep with a normal sound level for your household and wake him/her up after no more than a 3-hour stretch so that your newborn starts taking these longer stretches of sleep at night!
4. How much should my newborn sleep?
About 16-18 hours a day (sometimes divided into as many as 8-12 sleeping sessions)
5. Should I worry that my baby feeds all the time?
No! Newborns typically feed between 8-12 times a day, which basically means all the time! Your pediatrician will monitor your baby’s weight gain in those first couple of visits.
6. How do I know that my baby is full after a feed?
Your baby will be content and happy after the feed, releasing the breast or bottle on their own. Their hands will be relaxed and open after feeding. Also, another good way to determine if enough is going in is to keep track of what is coming out. After the fifth day, your baby should have at least 5 wet diapers and 3 dirty diapers a day.!
7. What is a normal amount of wet and dirty diapers for a newborn?
Wet Diapers: During the first few days, a good rule of thumb is one wet diaper for each day of life until your milk comes in (around day 5). This means 1 wet diaper on day 1, 2 wet diapers on day 2, and so on. Once your milk is in, expect at least 5 to 6 wet diapers per day!
Dirty Diapers: Expect lots of changes in your baby’s stooling during the first month!
The first stool your baby will have is called meconium which is a dark, tarry, and sticky stool that filled your baby’s intestines when they were in the womb!
Next, your baby’s stool will become dark green eventually transitioning to a yellow, seedy, mustardy stool. This should happen by day 5. If it hasn’t, please contact your pediatrician!
After the first 1-2 weeks, a breastfed baby will have 1-10 stools per day while a formula fed baby will have an average of 2-3!
8. Why does my newborn baby sneeze all the time? Does this mean my baby has allergies?
It is normal for babies to sneeze! It is a normal newborn reflex that helps them clear their nasal passages and does not mean they have allergies or are allergic to your pet!
9. Is it normal that my baby is very noisy at night?
Yes! Babies are very noisy at night, which includes snoring, grunting, groaning, or snorting due to their tiny nasal passages. Also, a small amount of mucus can make a very loud noise. Therefore you can remove visible mucus by gently suctioning out the mucus with a bulb syringe.
10. When does the umbilical cord fall off?
Usually in the first 1-3 weeks. I advise families to keep it clean (fold diapers down below the stump) and dry (sponge baths only) until it falls off.
She previously worked at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) as an academic pediatrician and educator to the University of Pennsylvania medical students and CHOP residents before moving back to the DC area.