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After your first newborn visit, your baby will likely have a checkup within his or her first month of life. At this checkup, the healthcare provider will examine the baby and ask how things are going at home. This sheet describes some of what you can expect.
The healthcare provider will ask questions about your baby. And he or she will observe the baby to get an idea of the infant’s development. By this visit, your baby is likely doing some of the following:
Smiling for no apparent reason (called a “spontaneous smile”)
Making eye contact, especially during feeding
Making random sounds (also called “vocalizing”)
Trying to lift his or her head
Wiggling and squirming (each arm and leg should move about the same amount; if not, tell the healthcare provider)
Becoming startled upon hearing a loud noise
At around 2 weeks old, your baby should be back to his or her birth weight. Continue feeding with breast milk and/or formula. To help your baby eat well:
During the day, feed at least every 2-3 hours. You may need to wake the baby for daytime feedings.
At night, feed when the baby wakes, often every 3-4 hours. You may choose not to wake the baby for nighttime feedings. Discuss this with the healthcare provider.
If you breastfeed, give breast milk in a bottle at some feedings. This helps prepare the baby for times when Mom can’t be there during a feeding.
Breastfeeding sessions should last around 15-20 minutes. With breast milk or formula from a bottle, give the baby 2-3 ounces at each feeding.
If you’re concerned about how much or how often your baby eats, discuss this with the healthcare provider.
Ask the healthcare provider if your baby should take vitamin D.
Don’t give the baby anything to eat besides breast milk or formula. Your baby is too young for solid foods (“solids”) or other liquids. An infant does not need to be given water.
Be aware that many babies begin to spit up around 1 month of age. In most cases, this is normal. Call the doctor right away if the baby spits up often and forcefully, or spits up anything besides milk or formula.
Some babies poop (stool) a few times a day. Others poop as little as once every 2-3 days. Anything in this range is normal. Change the baby’s diaper when it’s wet or dirty.
It’s fine if your baby poops even less often than every 2-3 days if the baby is otherwise healthy. But if the baby also becomes fussy, spits up more than normal, eats less than normal, or has very hard stool, tell the healthcare provider. The baby may be constipated (backed up).
Stool may range in color from mustard yellow to pale yellow to green. If it’s another color, tell the healthcare provider.
Bathe your baby a few times per week. You may give baths more often if the baby seems to like it. But because you’re cleaning the baby during diaper changes, a daily bath often isn’t needed.
It’s okay to use mild (hypoallergenic) creams or lotions on the baby’s skin. Avoid putting lotion on the baby’s hands.
At this age, your baby may sleep up to 18-20 hours each day. It’s common to sleep for short spurts throughout the day, rather than for hours at a time. The baby may be fussy before going to bed for the night (around 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM). This is normal. To help your baby sleep safely and soundly:
Always put the baby down to sleep on his or her back. This helps prevent SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
Ask the healthcare provider if you should let your baby sleep with a pacifier.
Don’t put a pillow, heavy blankets, or stuffed animals in the crib. These could suffocate the baby.
Swaddling (wrapping the baby tightly in a blanket) can help the baby feel safe and fall asleep.
It’s okay to put the baby to bed awake. It’s also okay to let the baby cry in bed, but only for a few minutes. At this age babies aren’t ready to “cry themselves to sleep.”
If you have trouble getting your baby to sleep, ask the healthcare provider for tips.
If you co-sleep (share a bed with the baby), discuss health and safety issues with the baby’s healthcare provider.
To avoid burns, don’t carry or drink hot liquids, such as coffee, near the baby. Turn the water heater down to a temperature of 120°F (49°C) or below.
Don’t smoke or allow others to smoke near the baby. If you or other family members smoke, do so outdoors and never around the baby.
It’s usually fine to take a newborn out of the house. But avoid confined, crowded places where germs can spread.
When you take the baby outside, avoid staying too long in direct sunlight. Keep the baby covered, or seek out the shade.
In the car, always put the baby in a rear-facing car seat. This should be secured in the back seat according to the car seat’s directions. Never leave the baby alone in the car.
Do not leave the baby on a high surface such as a table, bed, or couch. He or she could fall and get hurt.
Older siblings will likely want to hold, play with, and get to know the baby. This is fine as long as an adult supervises.
Call the doctor right away if the baby has a rectal temperature over 100.4°F.
Based on recommendations from the American Association of Pediatrics, at this visit your baby may receive the hepatitis B vaccination.
It’s normal to be weepy and tired right after having a baby. These feelings should go away after 2 to 3 weeks. If you’re still feeling this way, it may be a sign of postpartum depression, a more serious problem. Symptoms may include:
Feelings of deep sadness
Gaining or losing a lot of weight
Sleeping too much or too little
Feeling tired all the time
Feeling worthless or guilty
Fearing that your baby will be harmed
Worrying that you’re a bad parent
Having trouble thinking clearly or making decisions
Thinking about death or suicide
If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your OB/GYN or another healthcare provider. Treatment can help you feel better.
Next checkup at: _______________________________