Almost 50 important questions about babies
In this chapter, I put together some questions that bother almost every other parent for small babies. The answers are short and to the point, and whoever wants to, can read further in the relevant section on this website.
I thought that I’ll be able to come up with about a hundred of this kind of questions very quickly, but I collected much less, hoping that you will send me similar and important questions that I hadn’t thought of and I will add them as we go and together, we will reach a hundred. Contact me on the following link.
Food and stools:
1. What food is best for a baby? Breast milk. See this link.
2. What formula is best for the baby? There’s almost no difference in my opinion between the different leading brands. About formulas, see this link.
3. How much should a baby eat? Rule of thumb – 150 millliliter (cc) per kilogram of body weight per day. But practically, in life, every baby eats a slightly different amount and thus the bottle should be prepared to contain an amount that the baby will not completely finish in most meals. This way we’ll know that they finished eating because they’re full and not because the food is out. Also, the baby must be weighed to see good weight gain.
4. Until what age should the water used for formula be boiled? Formal recommendations are until the age of one year. In my opinion, every age. See this link.
5. Should I wake up baby for meals? In the first few days of life the baby should wake up every 2-3 hours for a meal. After a first well baby or doctor check-up that includes weighing, widening the intervals can be considered.
6. How can you know that the baby had enough to eat? They’re calm + there’s good weight gain.
7. How many bowel movements a day does a baby have? Babies may have seven bowel movements a day or a bowel movement once in seven days.
8. What should the color of the stool be? Shades of yellow/green. White stools without coloring are pathologic and should be photographed and a doctor should be consulted.
Supplements and solids:
9. What about vitamin D? In most countries, infants should be supplemented with 400 international units until the age of one year. See this link.
10. What about Iron – usually treatment is started at the age of four months, except for premature babies. See this link.
11. When is introduction of solids initiated? Recommendations are normally at the age of 4-6 months. I recommend strongly to read further in this link.
12. When does a baby need to drink water? Water should not be added to babies’ diets before introduction of solids and this is because every opportunity when you want to give baby food or drink you may give breast-milk or formula. Addition of water may be considered after a meal that has replaced formula of breast-milk nutrition to some extent. Read further in this link.
Matters of body temperature:
13. What is the desired temperature at home? The desired temperature is between 21 and 23 degrees Celsius.
14. What is the normal body temperature of a baby? 36.3-37.8 in an axillary (arm pit) measurement.
15. Should a baby’s temperature be taken? No. There’s no reason to take temperature routinely in a healthy baby.
16. What happens if a neonate up to the age of two months has fever of 38 and above? Should seek medical consultation. Why? See this link.
17. What antipyretic and analgesic can be administered to babies under the age of 3 months? Only paracetamol.
Management of babies:
18. Should hip joint ultrasound be performed and when? Many recommend this only in specific cases. However, I recommend this test to all babies around the age of 4 weeks. See this link.
19. When can a baby’s fingernails be cut? Carefully, at any age. Read more in this link.
20. How to treat a baby’s belly-button? In the days prior to the umbilical stump falling off, and a few days after, the area should be disinfected with alcohol (ethanol) 70% or chlorhexidine at the time of the diaper change, about 4 times a day. Over disinfection is correlated with late falling off of the umbilical stump. See this link.
21. At what age will the stump fall? The average is at two weeks, although a few good days before or after is also acceptable.
22. When can you go outside with the baby? Practically any age. Assuming it’s not too cold or hot, there’s no direct sun on the baby, they can be taken outside for a stroll in the clear air at any age.
23. When can a baby be taken out to a closed space? Again, given that no adult or child has a cold and sneezes or kisses the baby on the mouth, the baby can be taken out at any age.
24. Who can come close and hold the baby? Anyone who is healthy, has washed hands and will not kiss the baby around the mouth.
25. How should a baby be dressed? According to weather. On a rainy day a baby under two months of age should be wearing two long-sleeved layers and leggings. When it’s warmer, may fit to the weather, until the age of two months preferably two onesies and leggings. Another rule of thumb is that babies under the age of one month or that haven’t reached the weight of 4.5 kilograms, need to be wearing one more layer compared the adults around them.
26. Is it good to have pets together with a baby at home? Yes, I only see advantages. In general, about the advantages of pets at home also at older ages, see this link.
27. What are the three super important highlights about circumcision? Prevention of pain, no direct sucking and prevention of bandaging. If you will soon perform a brit or circumcise your baby, you must read this.
Bath for the baby:
28. When should the baby be bathed? Every day. Babies soil themselves and should be bathed every day, from birth.
29. Is the bath a frightful endeavor or the highlight of the day? The correct answer is – the highlight of the day. See this link.
30. Should soap be used or baby oil? Baby oil is used at a young age also as soap, and therefore until the age of a few weeks can be used exclusively.
31. How do you hit two birds with one stone? Give vitamin D (from birth) and iron (usually late) in the bath. This is how you create a habit and prevent fussing with the stains of the iron supplement. Read more here (Vitamin D) and here (iron).
32. What is the recommended sleeping position? On the back, a stiff mattress, no objects lying around the bed. Sleeping prone (on the tummy) increases risk of sudden infant death, see this link.
33. How many hours a day should a baby sleep? Up to the age of 2 months, a baby should be sleeping about 16 hours a day. But one must remember that not all babies read the text book.
34. What ointment to use on a baby’s dry skin? – regular baby moisturizing lotions can be applied without restrictions until the age of 120 years.
35. When can a baby’s fingernails be cut? Starting at age zero, but very carefully. Read in this following link.
Well baby clinic, vitals and vaccines:
36. When should a first well baby/doctor’s appointment be scheduled? Before age 2 weeks.
37. If a baby has received the Hepatitis B vaccine at birth, when is the next vaccine? At the age of one month. Read more about this medical encounter here.
38. What is the expected rise in head circumference in the first three months of life? 2 cm a month.
The baby’s development:
39. When will a baby have their first social smile? Usually around 6 weeks.
40. When does a baby first visually track objects? It’s possible to catch the baby’s look for a short while even at the age of birth. At one month, I expect a calm baby to follow their parents’ faces from a short distance in horizontal motion.
In conclusion, I hope this ‘instant’ chapter is helpful, surely there’s much more to expand reading in each topic. And again, if I missed an important question do write me.