Sponge baths should be given as needed every one to two days until the cord has dried and fallen off. Use only water for the first few days and then substitute a mild soap like Dove™. Room temperature should be above 68 degrees. Dry the skin by patting with a towel. Do not use any oil, powder or lotion. This will slow the natural shedding of older skin that occurs for the first several weeks. Your baby was suspended in amniotic fluid for nine months and has to shed multiple layers of skin that were in contact with the fluid inside the uterus.

Navel (umbilical cord)

Cleanse the base of the navel with a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol each time you change the diaper, until it has dried and fallen off. Apply enough pressure to the skin around the cord to view the base below the drying tip of the cord. Disposible pads and Q-trips will not contain enough alcohol so avoid these. No binders or pads are necessary. Some bleeding normally occurs as the cord detaches from the navel. It might take a couple of weeks or more to fall off.

Contact me if there is a large amount of bleeding.

Sleeping and sleeping position

Babies sleep in many different positions. As they grow, they will let you know their preferences, but the preferred position is on their back. Newborns are usually placed on their backs or sides to help reduce the possibility of choking. This position is helpful if they have lots of mucus in their throats. The baby’s mattress should be flat and firm with a water proof cover to protect it. DO NOT use pillows because of the danger of suffocation.

Additional excellent resource for sleep problems AAP Website and


Your baby may have a bowel movement after each feeding or may have only one or two stools a day. Some babies go 48 hours or more without a bowel movement. This is normal. Your baby may strain when passing a stool, but unless the stool is hard and pellet-like, this is perfectly normal. Stools may be mushy, or watery for many weeks. Blood is NOT normal. Blood can color the stool bright red or turn the stools black. Breast fed infants usually have more frequent stools than formula fed infants. The breast fed infant’s stools can range from pea soup to lemon custard with cottage cheese lumps.


Thrush is a condition where yeast growth can cause white patches on the gums, on the tongue or along the inside of the cheeks. In most cases this conditon appears in young infants but indivdual of any age may develop it if there immune system is affected or there is an imbalance of conditions caused by a course of antibiotics or oral steroids.


No treatment is needed if no symptoms like pain or difficulty eating are noted. The diagnosis will be made in an office visit ifthe parents notice trouble eating. Common oral medications are used yet the treatment may be longer than 10 days because the medication is often swallowed quickly so doesn't have much time to work. 

Rusty Urine or diaper stained rusty, pink, or brown spots

During the first week it is very common to notice a rusty colored urine in the diaper. It is a frequent call from worried parents who believe it is blood in the urine. It is not blood but pigmentation that appears normally. No concern and no action needed. The discoloration will resolve in days.

Babies are Babies

All babies

sneeze, yawn, hiccup, pass gas, cough, and


. They may occasionally look cross-eyed. Although they are able to recognize shapes and faces early, they have difficulty focusing on objects.

The widened bridge of their noses also gives the appearance of eye crossing. Sneezing is a major way for a baby to clear its nose of mucus, lint, or milk curd. Hiccups are normal. They are caused by immaturity of the swallowing center in the brain. Hiccups can be stopped by giving a few swallows of water. Coughing is one way the baby may clear its throat. Crying is a baby’s way of saying, “I’m hungry, I’m thirsty,

“I’m wet, I’m cold, I have a stomach ache or I’m bored.” You will gradually recognize which cry means what. Even well babies can cry for an hour or more during the day without doing any harm. You may find your baby cries more at one time of the day than any other time. Many parents say their babies cry in the afternoon and early evening most frequently.

Books and resources

To help you with other problems you might have with your child, some good resources at the book store are :

“Baby and Child care” by Dr. Benjamin Spock

“The First Twelve Months of Life” Frank Caplan, Grossett & Dunlop, Publishers

“Infants and Children” by T. Berry Brazelton, MD

La Leche League International

Barnes and Noble and Borders have many, many. Pick the one that reads the best for you. When I first wrote my manual the Internet wasn’t in the form it is today. I will remind you that through my Web site you have access to lots of good health information.

There is no definitive book for parents (except this one, of course). One style of writing or approach to solving problems may appeal to you more than another. Dr. Spock has served parents well over the years because his books are comprehensive and time tested. Consider purchasing at least two books on children: One to cover common illnesses. The second book to cover development and behavioral issues. If you can’t find information about a problem that concerns you, call me at the office. If I don’t have the answer, I will find the answer or direct you to a helpful source. I have many useful handouts. Many other experts have written excellent books. But, there is so much information, it is impossible to cover it all in one book.


This is the term applied when your baby screams, draws up his or her legs and cannot be consoled by holding or further feeding. Doctors are not certain what causes this common problem but I have observed that considerable air is swallowed during the intense crying. This extra air distends the stomach and makes an uncomfortable situation worse which causes more crying. You can see a cycle persisting here. I often suggest methods for reducing the gas (like Mylicon or Phyzyme drops) and ways to distract the baby until your baby feels better. Pick your baby up when he or she cries, burp your baby, offer a bottle of water, breast feed, give formula or even a pacifier. Carrying your baby around may help. Shoulder pouches or sacs work well so that you can perform household tasks and soothe the baby at the same time. The colicky period may last only days but commonly lasts a few weeks. It always goes away.

Crying babies

This is an excerpt from a flyer on

Shaken Infant


I believe has some helpful information to all parents with small children.

No one likes to listen to a baby cry for a long time. It is irritating and frustrating. Babies can cry a lot when they are hungry, wet, tired, or just lonely. They can cry at certain times of the day or night, usually when they want to sleep or eat. Crying is one way babies express their discomfort.

Your baby might be colicky if he or she cries a lot, curls up and then straightens out over and over again.

If you feel, your baby is crying a lot, I should examine your baby to rule out medical causes. You can try the following to calm your infant’s crying:

  • Feed your baby and burp him or her several times.
  • Change your baby.
  • Offer your baby a pacifier
  • Hold your baby while walking or rocking.
  • Take your baby for a ride in the stroller or car.
  • Put your baby in a baby swing.
  • If you are nursing, avoid gas forming vegetables or caffeinated beverages.

Be patient. Your baby does not hate you or want to ruin your life.

  • Put your child in a safe place and leave the room for a few minutes.
  • Call a friend or neighbor.
  • Ask someone else to take care of your baby for even a short time.
  • Take ten deep breaths, and then take 10 more.
  • Do something to calm yourself. Play your favorite music. Make a cup of tea or coffee. Exercise or take a shower. Read a magazine or book.
  • Change your activity. Shake a rug. Do dishes or laundry. Scrub a floor. Beat a pan or pillow. Throw away unwanted trash.
  • Sit down, closes your eyes, and think of a pleasant memory. Relax without moving for several movements.
  • If all else fails, wrap your baby in a soft blanket. Put your baby on his or her right side or stomach in a dark, quiet room. Leave your baby alone and take a break in another room.

We all experience some occasion when we have hard-to-control anger and frustration. No matter how impatient you feel, don’t shake or hit your baby. Your baby will outgrow the constant crying. For now, holding and cuddling tells your baby you love him or her and you want your baby to feel better.

Sample pictures  (Click for link)

of normal and abnormal bowel movements and descriptions.