Baby Basics

Armed with practical information and your own intuition, you’ll be well on your way to feeling more confident about parenting.

As a new parent, it is useful to know a few basics about babies and their needs, and also to remember that your baby is a unique individual. Getting to know Baby will take time, and if you’ve had a difficult birth, the bonding process may be delayed, but hang in there! 

Here are a few helpful facts to get you off to a good start:

Common concerns

A few of these things about your newborn may come as a surprise to you. Let the Sister Lilian Centre set your mind at ease:

  • Baby’s breasts and genitals are swollen. This is caused by Mom’s hormones during pregnancy and will settle within a couple of weeks.
  • A breastfed baby passes stools about 5–10 times a day in the first six weeks. After six weeks, your breastfed baby will likely poo less often – this is normal.
  • Baby sleeps while drinking milk. Drinking from the breast gives Baby a good workout and the nurturing oxytocin effect of milk while being cuddled by Mom adds to this snoozy feeling.
  • A newborn’s stuffy nose is normal. Baby may make strange sounds while breathing but this doesn’t mean he is sick. If he is feeding well, he is not battling to breathe, but if you’re worried, see your doctor.
  • Baby has four fontanelles (soft spots where his skull bones meet). These bones fuse completely at about two years old. In the meantime, just be gentle over this area.

Soothing is not spoiling

Small babies are soothed by suckling often, as well as cuddling up with their caregivers. Many parents are worried about ‘spoiling’ their babies but this is impossible. You cannot spoil a baby with too much love! Actually, meeting your baby’s emotional and physical needs will ensure that he grows into a compassionate, confident child.

Your newborn’s need to nurse

If you feed Baby on demand (that is, whenever he is hungry), rather than on a schedule, you’ll have a happier, healthier baby. 

But how do you know when he needs to nurse? Your newborn may not know how to speak, but he does have several ways to communicate. Try to be aware of your baby’s feeding cues, so you can meet his needs before he gets too worked up: 

  • Smacking or licking lips
  • Moving his mouth
  • Rooting to find a nipple
  • Fidgeting or becoming restless
  • Fussing or whimpering
  • Breathing quicker
  • Moving his head from side to side
  • Crying (by the time Baby starts crying, he is very hungry; you may need to calm him down first before you can feed him)