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What parents need to know to care for their infant in the first few days

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Nancy Embry from Conway Regional Health System gives great tips on what new parents need to prepare and look for during the infancy stages of their child.

The First Dirty Diaper Changes

• Meconium

• Sticky, dark green or black

• Normalize after several days of eating and bowel movements

• Call doctor if stool is very loose or very hard in the days after coming home

Nutrition

• Breast milk exclusively – first six months

• Frequent, small feedings

• Breastfed babies eat 8-12 times/ 24 hours

• Babies on formula eat 6-8 times/ 24 hours

• Regular bowel movements

• Return to birth weight two weeks after coming home

• Gain 4-7 oz./ week after reaching birthweight at home

• Introduce baby cereal around 4-to-6 months

Crying

• Are they…hungry, wet, dirty, cold, lonely?

• If not, check for…fever, changes in bathroom consistency, changes in skin color, eating pattern, breathing pattern.

• If “yes,” call doctor or take baby to the ER.

Excessive crying could signal

• Colic – excessive gas or obstruction in the abdomen

• Feed baby upright

• Burp baby often

• Lay baby across lap, gently rub back

Jaundice

• Signs – yellowing of skin and eyes

• Appears a few days after birth

• Extra red blood cells they don’t need

• As cells break down, secrete bilirubin

• Blood has too much bilirubin

• Feeding and bowl movements will help flush bilirubin

• If jaundice persists, the bilirubin can build up in the brain and cause damage

Vaccination

• Hepatitis B at birth

• Vaccinations at one month, two months, four months, six months and one year.

• Various boosters and vaccinations through adulthood.

• www.aap.org or www.cdc.gov

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