Newborns

Newborn babies are the heart and soul of my work as a Pediatrician. After your baby is born at Good Samaritan Hospital, the labor and delivery staff will notify me that you have had your baby (you don’t need to call me; call your family and friends!). I usually see my babies in the hospital every morning around 7:30 am. I also am at the hospital at other times during the day. Prior to discharge from the hospital we will discuss and plan your initial office visit. I usually like to see a newborn a few days after you have gone home. That initial visit will include a weight check and exam and the chance to answer some of the questions you might have after the first few days at home. After that first office visit your well-baby appointments will be worked into a standard schedule starting at 2 weeks of age. With the exception of Hepatitis B (which is usually given in the first few days of life), immunizations will begin at 2 months of age. I will support your efforts at feeding your baby either with breast feeding or formula. You can also get lactation support from the mother/baby services at Good Samaritan Hospital (559-BABY).


Newborn FAQ


How well do newborns hear?

Newborn babies have exquisite hearing, certainly their most important and best developed sense. If you speak gently into their ear, they love it and they know you are talking to them. They love music, too.


How good is a new baby’s vision?

Babies can see fairly well but are primarily far-sighted, that is, they can see well in the distance but don’t focus well up close. By about 6 weeks of age most babies are able to begin to focus on your face.


Can I use anything on my baby’s skin?

Baby skin is often fairly dry in the early weeks of life, especially around the wrists and ankles. Feel free to try using a mild baby lotion for this dry skin. Baby wipes are fine. You can use a simple diaper ointment like A&D ointment for any diaper rash or irritation.


How often will my baby have a bowel movement?

Breast-fed babies have a lot of loose bowel movements in the early weeks, formula tends to make a somewhat thicker and less frequent stool. Not uncommonly a breast-fed baby may have very infrequent B.M.’s as they get older, perhaps one every few days. As long as it is soft, this is normal. Babies often appear to strain to have a bowel movement, but again if it is soft, that apparent straining is normal.


Do I need to be concerned about jaundice?

Jaundice means a yellow coloring of the skin. Most newborn babies develop mild jaundice around 3-5 days of age. This is called “physiologic jaundice”, meaning it is a normal development. It is caused by the breakdown and processing of the baby’s red blood cells. This type of jaundice goes away as the feedings progress. Occasionally jaundice may require treatment; we will discuss that at the time. Regardless, it represents no danger to your baby.


Should I be careful exposing my new baby to other people?

During the first month of life, try to avoid anyone who is ill, especially young children who may have difficulty understanding our desire to keep them away from the baby. After a month you can loosen up a bit.


Any chance I can get my young baby to sleep longer?

Babies usually have to be taught to sleep. In the early weeks of life you are picking them up frequently to comfort them so sleep is only a few hours at a time. As a baby gets older, at some point you may want to consider letting a baby cry at night and find his way back to sleep. This is not harmful and in fact may improve a baby’s emotional security by teaching him how to self-soothe. Read my section on sleep here for more information.


What is a good age to begin solid food?

I generally begin feeding babies “solid” food around 4 months of age. Rice cereal mixed with breast milk or formula (2-3 tablespoons) twice a day is a good start. Add new foods, one at a time, every 2 or 3 days. The order does not matter. Build a diet over the next 2 months, add a third meal if the baby really takes to the food well. The best nutrition in the long run is one of great variety.


At what age can I introduce whole milk and other dairy products?

Although it is recommended to start whole milk at a year of age, if a baby is eating a good variety of foods at 9 months of age, I believe it is reasonable to try switching to whole milk. Certainly by this age a baby can try yogurt, cottage cheese and other dairy products.


What are the typical age range for motor milestones?

There is a wide range of normal for these numbers but typically:

  • sitting:  6-7 months
  • crawling 8-10 months
  • walking 12-14 months. 


Click here for a more detailed motor milestone list from WebMD.


Is there any problem taking an infant on an airplane?

Generally babies do well with flying.  Airplanes are pressurized at about 5000 feet, meaning the air pressure is different than on the ground.  This can bother a baby’s ears, especially during take-off and landing.  If a baby cries during flight, it may help to nurse him a bit or give him a bottle to suck and swallow a little.


Do babies need vitamin supplements?

I will be prescribing a vitamin and fluoride supplement for your baby beginning at 6 months of age.