Newborn Baby FAQ: 4 Common Questions First-Time Parents Ask About Newborns by Dr. Alan Lindemann

Newborn Baby FAQ: 4 Common Questions First-Time Parents Ask About Newborns

You've had your first child, and you couldn't be happier! But now that you and your newborn are home from the hospital, you have a million questions (as do most first-time moms!).

I can answer four of the most common questions new parents ask once they're home with their newborns:

1. "Why Is My Baby Crying?"

In my experience, I have found that 98 percent of the time babies cry, they are hungry. Seventy years ago we used baby scales to weigh babies before and after they ate. Today, weighing babies is less popular, but if you have any concern about your baby not getting enough to eat, this is a good way to check how much your baby is eating.

2. "How Often Do I Feed My Baby?"

The recommendation to feed a baby 4 ounces every four hours is still floating around. Remember that this is a recommendation, not a rule. Big babies eat more than smaller ones because they have larger stomachs, and as a result, usually eat less often.

My third child weighed 10 pounds, 10 ounces when he was born. I went to see him in the nursery and he was screaming his head off. Just 4 ounces of formula every four hours was all he needed the day he was born, but by the next day he needed 6 ounces of formula per feeding. So you really need to let your baby decide when and how much to eat. Everyone will be a lot happier if you do.

3. "Should I Change My Baby's Diaper Before He or She Eats?"

Usually babies fall asleep toward the end of their bottles or their breastfeeding. If you change your baby’s diapers before feeding, you won’t have to wake the baby up to change diapers after your baby finishes eating.

4. "Besides Hunger, What Are Some of the Reasons Babies Cry?"

Yes, your baby can cry for reasons besides hunger.

  • There is a condition (most common in first-born males) called pyloric stenosis in which food can’t get out of the stomach into the intestinal track. Pyloric stenosis can be diagnosed with an x-ray and an ultrasound. The surgery associated with correcting this problem is straightforward and not associated with infant mortality.
  • Babies are nose-breathers and they will often cry if their nostrils become restricted, especially if they are under 6 weeks old. Breathing problems often get worse at night. If you think your baby is having breathing problems, take your baby to the emergency room.

There are other reasons babies cry, but remember that 98 percent of the time it is because they are hungry.

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Elisa Schmitz
Great answers to some seriously good questions that affect most parents and parents-to-be. Many thanks for all the helpful insights!

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