Newborn guidelines for parents

Newborn Guidelines for Parents


KEEP YOUR MIDWIFE INFORMED: If you have any concern about your baby, please do not hesitate to call. Breathing pattern: Babies make all sorts of sounds with normal breathing. It is normally irregular with rapid (30 – 60 breaths per minute), shallow respirations alternating with deep, slow respirations. The most common breathing sounds come from small amounts of mucous in the nose and throat. Babies will also have periods of very quiet breathing. When babies cry vigorously, they become redder in the face and take deep, gasping breaths.

Colour: A small amount of bluish colour around the lips, hands and feet is normal for a newborn. There may also be some mottling on the chest and abdomen.

Temperature: Your baby’s temperature may be unstable for the first few days. Take the baby’s temperature under the arm. A normal temperature is between 36.5 – 37.5 ° C or 97- 99°F.

Feeding: Your baby should have a strong and vigorous suck. Note the strength of the suck. Nurse the baby whenever he/she appears to be hungry but do not let the baby go more than 4-5 hours without feeding in the first month. Breastfeeding is erratic in schedule for the first few months but usually there will be 10 – 12 feedings (minimum of 8) in a 24-hour period. Frequent feedings in the first few days encourages the baby’s bowels to move, getting rid of the meconium and thereby decreasing the chances of problems with jaundice. Frequent sucking also brings your milk in sooner. Ensure that the baby is correctly positioned at your breast every time you feed.

Urine: Please note the time of the first urination. If the baby has not had it’s first urination by 24 hours of life, please notify us. After your breast milk is in, expect the baby to have six or more saturated wet diapers per day, indicating that the baby is getting an adequate supply of breast milk.

Bowel movements: The first bowel movements are large, sticky, black/green stools called meconium. Note the time of the first bowel movement. It normally occurs within the first 24 hours. The transitional stool between meconium and the milk stools will range in colour from brown to green and be quite soft. The breast milk stools are mustard in colour and quite liquid in consistency. Notify us if the baby has not had its first meconium stool within 24 hours after delivery.

Movements: Most baby’s movements are initially somewhat jerky. The startle reflex is normal in the first 3-4 months. Babies move both arms and legs at the same time.

Jaundice: Following birth, the newborn begins to break down excessive red blood cells which are no longer necessary. The liver is responsible for breaking down the red pigment matter (bilirubin) in the red blood cells. Sometimes, because of immaturity or a backlog of cells to breakdown, the liver does not keep pace with metabolizing of the bilirubin and the extra bilirubin circulating in the blood system makes the baby’s eyes or skin appear yellow. Blanch the baby’s skin in the natural light of a window and look at the colour of the skin and the eyes. Slight jaundice is normal for breastfed newborns, and new research is finding that this slight jaundice might actually act as an antioxidant in the first days of life. Your midwife will check your baby for jaundice and will tell you if she has any concerns.

Cord Care: Current research has shown that it is unnecessary to use alcohol to treat the umbilical stump to facilitate its drying and healing. Keep the diaper folded beneath the umbilicus to facilitate drying. There may be one or two drops of blood when the cord separates. The cord might start to smell bad, and it is normal for the base of the cord to become “goopy” as it prepares to separate. If you like, you can clean the base of the cord with a warm, wet Q-tip. The cord may fall off anywhere from 5 days to 14 days after birth.

Bathing: You may sponge bath or tub bath your baby, or you may take your baby into the shower with you. Generally babies need very little soap, just a good soaking in warm water. You may also have one parent get into the bathtub/shower, then have the other parent hand the baby in and have a bath/shower together.


For further information on Infant Care please see ‘Babies Best Chance’ p110- 138


Sleeping 110 Coughing and sneezing 118
Safety and Sleeping 111 Vaccinations 119
Sleeping Equipment 112 Tummy time 121
Diapering 113 Crying 121
Bathing 114 Shaken Baby Syndrome 123
Caring for Baby’s skin 116 Anger Management 124
Caring for Baby’s nails 116 Baby Medical Care 125 – 127
Jaundice 116 Baby Safety 128 – 131
Bowel movements 117 Special circumstances 133
Urination (peeing) 117 Baby Development 134 – 137


The Seclusion Period

By Gabrielle Moore


Mothering, Spring 1982

Consider carefully your baby’s first weeks in this world. Hopefully each parent will provide a peaceful, secure, loving, and centered home environment where the baby can integrate into the world without confusion, stress, tensions, overstimulation etc. The baby is a pure heart entering as a clean slate with no thoughts, fears, worries, expectations, and projections – just love. No time is more important for the child’s developing being than the first few weeks following birth. This is when the infant absorbs all impressions brought before it. Therefore, the mother may wish to be discrete in choosing what impressions to expose her child to.

This is when the seclusion period comes in. It is best to have a close friend or relative live in or drop in to tend to the preparation of meals, the washing of clothes, and the other household duties, to free the mother to be with the baby. Seclusion allows the baby and mother a time to bond without interruptions. The mother may find she needs the seclusion period to adjust to her new role, to stay centered, and to rest and recuperate. Being alone with the baby provides a comfortable environment for the mother to learn how to be with her baby, how to nurse, how to comfort her baby, how to coo with her baby, without feeling self-conscious and nervous in front of others. It is important for the mother to be love herself, for no one impresses the infant more than the mother. One wants to reflect feelings of love and beauty, pure thoughts, and the awareness of seeing everything as God’s perfection.

Seclusion helps in preventing the energy drain that often results from visiting others. Pregnancy and birth are a greater stress on one’s being than one realizes. A new mother needs to isolate herself from too many outside impressions too, for she needs peaceful rest for her body to deal with her baby lovingly.

Help your baby integrate into a secure, loving, peaceful home environment before he or she is overwhelmed meeting the rest of the world. There will be plenty of time to share your new blessing with your friends. (It may be more comfortable for you after a few weeks of getting to know your baby, of feeling more confident as a mother, and of strengthening your body and nerves). Your baby has the rest of its life to buzz around in cars in noisy traffic, to be exposed to the mass consciousness, to TV, and to fluorescent lights. Our children are our hope and future. Let them begin knowing love and security that they may grow up without confusion, fears, anxieties, insecurities, and sadness. Let’s help them keep their higher attunement, which they bring with them at birth.

It is best to consider how you wish to handle this delicate period while you are pregnant. Make an understanding of this with all family members. It is wise to tell friends and relatives before the birth, how you feel and when you will be ready to receive their presence. This eliminates having to explain yourself at a time when you do not wish to use the energy to do so. Your friends will feel more comfortable knowing when it is all right to call or visit. Listen to your inner feelings and act upon them, not the pressures and feelings of others. You know what is right for your baby, for you and for your family. You are the one who has to deal with the restlessness, tensions, and fussiness if the wrong vibrations or too many good vibrations enter into your home. Friends may or may not understand, but they will respect your decision. Enjoy this special time.