Nursery® welcomes all expectant and new parents to the most amazing journey of a lifetime. Our new health section offers information and insights we hope you enjoy in the precious months ahead – during pregnancy and after
your baby arrives.

Bringing home your baby

Home is where the heart is and with a newborn – where reality sets in. Your new bundle will bring both joy and more than a few jangled nerves.

As you begin the adjustment, keep in mind that the first activities that require your attention are pretty basic. Things all babies do in abundance are eating, sleeping, peeing, pooping and, of course, crying.

So let’s start with insights on how to tend to these fundamental needs with tender, loving care.

Feeding the baby

Whether it’s breast or bottle, those first feedings offer a wonderful opportunity to bond with your baby.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages breast-feeding exclusively for the first six months of life. Breast milk provides the best nutrients to help fight infections and limits exposure to potential allergens.

However, breast-feeding may not be an option, or a choice, for some women. If mothers decide to use a commercial formula, water is needed for mixing. Nursery® water offers the optimal solution – a steam-distilled water available with and without added fluoride.

During the first weeks, breast-fed babies nurse every 2–3 hours and bottle-fed babies every 3–4 hours. It takes patience and persistence for you and your newborn to get in sync.

Try to organize your surroundings ahead of feedings. Always wash your hands and all accessories you use. Keep a glass of water, a phone or any other essentials close by. If you need help, know that there is plenty available. Your health professionals can advise you on how and where to get support.

What goes in
must come out

There will be lots of diapers to change. Frequency varies: Healthy infants may urinate every hour or up to three or four hours in between. The color should be light yellow. Alert the doctor if the baby is wetting less than six diapers a day or if you notice a different color or strong odor.

As for the poop, pediatricians usually aren’t concerned about how many times a day a baby goes but rather what the pattern is and whether there’s difficulty with a bowel movement.

All babies are different. Some have several bowel movements a day, while other perfectly healthy infants only have one every couple of days or even once a week. Keep track of your baby’s pattern and if there is pain or difficulty, talk to your pediatrician.

Sleep, precious sleep

For now, your newborn will be doing most of the sleeping. On average, newborns sleep 16 hours a day, though in spurts, not all at one stretch.

The best position for babies to sleep is on their backs – in a crib or bassinet that meets all current safety standards. At first, keep the crib or bassinet in your bedroom within arm’s reach.

The longstanding AAP back to sleep recommendation has helped to greatly reduce the rate of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in the United States.

Because the safest way to sleep is on their backs, giving babies regular, supervised time on their tummies also is important. Beginning at about two weeks, this activity can help strengthen head, neck and shoulder muscles and also prevents flat spots on the back of their heads.

Nurse Linda Ciampa on calming a crying baby

Crying is how babies communicate. It’s normal. At times, it can seem overwhelming, but most fussy newborns respond to one or more of these time-tested techniques:

  • Place the infant directly on your bare chest skin to skin.
  • Establish a routine time for a warm bath followed by gentle massage.
  • Rock, walk or place your baby in a supervised swing for short periods.
  • Talk, sing lullabies or turn on a fan or "white noise" machine.
  • Offer a pacifier, your clean finger or the baby’s thumb or fist to suckle.

If your newborn cries intensely for long periods of time and you are feeling frustrated, don’t hesitate to call for help.

When to call the doctor

Every new parent grapples with the question: Should I call the doctor? The simple answer is yes, whenever you are concerned about your baby’s health.

Some of the more common circumstances that require immediate medical attention are listed below. Call right away if:

when to call doctor newborn tempurature

The newborn has a
rectal temperature of
100.4° or higher.

when to call doctor breathing

Baby is struggling to
breathe or has turned a
shade of blue.

when to call doctor stool

The newborn’s stools
appear red, white or black
(other than the first black
meconium bowel movements).

when to call doctor cold cough vomiting

Your baby has a
persistent cold, cough
or is vomiting.

when to call doctor fussy lethargic not waking

Your little one is unusually
fussy, lethargic or not
waking up for feedings.

Car seat safety

Your newborn should be in a car seat at all times when you travel. Never hold the baby in your arms while on the road.

The AAP recommends that infants ride in rear-facing car seats until they are 2 years old. The best seat is one that fits your child and your vehicle, is installed correctly and is used properly every time your baby is in the car. It is best not to buy used seats without knowing the history or having a manufacturer’s label with the date and model number.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website has extensive information on choosing, installing and using a car seat as well as recalls. Visit