Child's Routine Checkup, Birth to 4 Weeks: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Your baby is already watching and listening to you. Talking, cuddling, hugs, and kisses are all ways that you can help your baby grow and develop.

At this age, your baby may look at faces and follow an object with his or her eyes. He or she may respond to sounds by blinking, crying, or appearing to be startled. Your baby may lift his or her head briefly while on the tummy. Your baby will likely have periods where he or she is awake for 2 or 3 hours straight. Although newborn sleeping and eating patterns vary, your baby will probably sleep for a total of 18 hours each day.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

Feeding

  • Breast milk is the best food for your baby. Let your baby decide when and how long to nurse.
  • If you do not breastfeed, use a formula with iron. Your baby may take 60 to 90 millilitres of formula every 3 to 4 hours.
  • Always check the temperature of the formula by putting a few drops on your wrist.
  • Do not warm bottles in the microwave. The milk can get too hot and burn your baby's mouth.

Sleep

  • Put your baby to sleep on his or her back, not on the side or tummy. This reduces the risk of SIDS. Use a firm, flat mattress. Do not put pillows in the crib. Do not use crib bumpers.
  • Do not hang toys across the crib.
  • Make sure that the crib slats are less than 6 centimetres apart. Your baby's head can get trapped if the openings are too wide.
  • Remove the knobs on the corners of the crib so that they do not fall off into the crib.
  • Tighten all nuts, bolts, and screws on the crib every few months. Check the mattress support hangers and hooks regularly.
  • Do not use older or used cribs. They may not meet current safety standards.
  • For more information on crib safety, visit Health Canada's Consumer Product Safety website at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/index-eng.php.

Crying

  • Your baby may cry for 1 to 3 hours a day. Babies usually cry for a reason, such as being hungry, hot, cold, or in pain, or having dirty diapers. Sometimes babies cry but you do not know why. When your baby cries:
    • Change your baby's clothes or blankets if you think your baby may be too cold or warm. Change your baby's diaper if it is dirty or wet.
    • Feed your baby if you think he or she is hungry. Try burping your baby, especially after feeding.
    • Look for a problem, such as an open diaper pin, that may be causing pain.
    • Hold your baby close to your body to comfort your baby.
    • Rock in a rocking chair.
    • Sing or play soft music, go for a walk in a stroller, or take a ride in the car.
    • Wrap your baby snugly in a blanket, give him or her a warm bath, or take a bath together.
    • If your baby still cries, put your baby in the crib and close the door. Go to another room and wait to see if your baby falls asleep. If your baby is still crying after 15 minutes, pick your baby up and try all of the above tips again.

Immunizations

  • Make sure that your baby gets the recommended childhood vaccines over the next few months. These vaccines will help keep your baby healthy and prevent the spread of disease.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your baby's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You are concerned that your baby is not getting enough to eat or is not developing normally.
  • Your baby seems sick.
  • Your baby has a fever.
  • You need more information about how to care for your baby, or you have questions or concerns.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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