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Your newborn is home, now what?

Being at home with your newborn is such an exciting time. But it can also be a little overwhelming, especially in those first few weeks. As a pediatrician and a mom, Dr. Ann Natterer understands, and she has tips to help you settle in. She's here to help you know what to expect in your baby's first few weeks.

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Hello, I'm Dr. Ann Nattaerer and I'm with Cook Children's City View pediatrics. Once you finally settle in with your baby at home, besides feeling excited and joyful, you may also feel like there are so many things to think about, or things to be watching out for. Mainly, at least in the first weeks, your infant should be eating, sleeping, peeing and pooping. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for the first year of life. If you're planning on breastfeeding, please know that there will be many resources available to you for support. Hospitals and birthing centers have lactation consultants. Cook children's has a virtual lactation consultation program. And of course, your pediatrician's office will be there to support you as well. Remember that this will be a new learning experience for both you and for your baby.

During the first days of breastfeeding, your baby will receive colostrum and colostrum is rich with proteins and nutrients for your baby. The colostrum will help to begin your baby's immune system to support it and will help to protect against some infections.

If you will be formula feeding your baby, the nursery staff, your pediatrician can help you to choose a formula that's appropriate for your infant.

And lastly, pooping. So you will see your baby's bowel movements go from being that thick, sticky, dark colored meconium stools to greenish brown and looser stools. Usually after the first few days, then the bowel movements will become more yellow or mustard colored. With breastfed babies, they may have some seed like particles in their stools. And with formula fed babies, their stools can sometimes have a lighter brown color. So there's quite a variation in the stool color, stool consistency, and the frequency of stools. In general, breastfed babies will tend to have more frequent stools, so maybe five or six a day. And they will have looser stools than formula fed babies.

So your newborn will need to be fed every two to three hours. And that includes during the night. As far as sleeping goes, most of your infant's time will be spent sleeping, and that's during the day and during the night. So that's a good time for you to try to catch up on some rest. Newborns can sleep anywhere from 16 to 17 hours a day, sometimes even more. And usually it's in short stretches of time. So it will be normal for your infant to wake up to feed and then go right back to sleep again.

Wet diapers are a good reflection of how well hydrated your newborn is. So in the first few days of life, you may only see two or three wet diapers a day with moms who are breastfeeding as your milk supply is coming in. And for infants who are formula fed as they start to increase the amount that they're taking and are eating more consistently, you'll start to see an increase in urination. So usually by about a week of age, you will be likely to see your baby having six to eight wet diapers a day or even more. If you ever have any concerns or questions about how your baby is eating, how much it's sleeping, or anything about the number or appearance of wet or dirty diapers. Please don't hesitate to call your pediatricians office.