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Navigating the first weeks with a newborn



Vi har valt att samarbeta med experter som har en omfattande erfarenhet för att du ska få så relevant och faktabaserad information som möjligt under din graviditet, efter födseln och de första 2 åren med ditt barn.

Here is some valuable practical advice about your newborn:


After about one week, it’s time for the baby's first bath. In the beginning, a sponge bath with a warm, damp washcloth is all your newborn needs. Pay special attention to creases under the arms, behind the ears, around the neck and in the diaper area. Also wash between your baby's fingers and toes. Before giving your baby her/his first tub bath, wait until her/his umbilical cord falls off. This usually happens ten to 14 days after birth . When your baby is ready to go in the tub, it's fine to use just water. The water temperature should be between 37 and 37.5°C (98.6 and 99.5°F). Avoid using soap since this may be drying to the skin. On the other hand, a neutral baby oil or a mild moisturizing soap in the bath water might be a good idea. Your baby’s skin is sensitive and can easily get dry. Remember to pat dry all the creases and around the navel.


Your newborn’s digestive system should start working within two days. The first stool, called meconium, is thick and dark brown. It is odorless and sticks to the baby's skin when it dries. Check your newborn’s diaper frequently the first few days to avoid this. What's normal for baby poop depends on whether you're breastfeeding or formula-feeding. Breastfed babies often have bowel movements that are mustard-like in color and consistency. It can sometimes be loose, watery, seedy, mushy or even curdy. Formula-fed babies have stools that are soft and better formed than breastfed babies. It can range in color anywhere from pale yellow , yellowish brown to light brown or brownish green. How often your newborn poops during the first weeks of life depends largely on whether they are breastfeeding or formula-feeding. Breastfed newborns typically have several bowel movements each day. Formula-fed newborns may have fewer. If you switch from breastfeeding to formula-feeding, or vice versa, expect changes to your newborn’s stool consistency.


Hiccups seem to be more uncomfortable for the parent than they are for the baby. Giving the breast or pacifier to your baby can help your little one to stop hiccupping.

The skin

Baby’s natural vernix is protective and good for the baby's skin. Smooth out any layer of vernix in the creases around the genital area, arms or around the neck, and wipe off any excess. If blisters and wounds arise specially on your nipple, rub breast milk on the skin and let the skin air. Breast milk is pure, fatty and has anti-bacterial and healing properties. A newborn’s skin is prone to rashes of all sorts. Fortunately, most of these rashes are harmless and go away on their own. The more hydrated the baby is from nursing the less dry the skin will be.

Skin tone (Newborn Jaundice)

Because the baby's liver is not fully developed at birth, it is unable to process all the red blood cells that need to be broken down during the first period. As a result, a baby’s skin and eyes may take on a yellowish tint a few days after birth. The condition, called newborn jaundice, is a common one that usually goes away by itself. In some babies, the yellow coloring deepens and requires phototherapy—the baby is placed on a special light bed. To help the baby breakdown the yellow bilirubin more quickly, it is important to provide frequent feeding since this will increase metabolism and help babies pass the yellow pigment.

Vomiting (spitups)

Newborns typically spit up the amniotic fluid and mucus the first day after birth. When this happens, place your baby on his or her side, massage his or her back, and wipe away the mucus.


Your baby may have long nails at birth. If your baby scratches his or her face use a nail file. Avoid cutting the nails for a while since there is a risk of cuticle infections. The best time to trim a baby’s nails are when he or she is relaxed or even when sleeping. Parents sometimes cover their newborn’s hands with the fold-over sleeves of the sleepers that infants wear or mittens.

The navel

It is important to keep the umbilical cord stump clean and dry. If it is sticky, use water to wash and then dry completely. Ask your pediatrician to check the area if the skin turns red. The cord stump normally falls off within two weeks. When it does, you may notice a foul odor and perhaps even some slight bleeding. Baby has no feeling in the cord stump.


Many newborns sneeze frequently. It is their way of cleaning their nose and seldom an indication of a cold.


Burping helps to get rid of some of the air that babies tend to swallow during feeding . Not being burped often and swallowing too much air can make a baby spit up, or seem cranky or gassy. You should attempt to burp the baby after each feeding. Place the baby in an upright position, such as over your shoulder, or lying over your lap. Gently rub or pat their back. If the baby doesn’t burp, wait a few minutes, then try again. Some newborns never burp.

Sleeping positions

Your baby should lie on his or her back while sleeping. When awake, it is a good idea to allow your newborn to lie on his or her tummy in order to strengthen the neck muscles.


A newborn’s body temperature should be between 36.5 and 37.5°C (97.7 and 99.5°F). Baby’s hands and feet are normally cold in the beginning. You can assess your baby’s temperature by feeling his or her chest or back/neck.


Make sure that your baby has voided within two days after birth. Salts in the urine can show up as an orange/red spot in the diaper. It is perfectly safe. Girls typically have white vaginal discharge and some vaginal bleeding which goes away after two to three weeks. This is due to hormones from the mother.


It is perfectly normal for babies to lose weight the first few days. Normal weight loss for a newborn is less than 10%. Your baby’s weight will be checked before going home and at a checkup a few days later.

Newborn screening

The newborn screening test, often called the PKU test, is a blood test that looks for several different disorders in newborn babies. The PKU test is done by pricking a baby's heel and allowing several drops of blood to drip onto a special card. The test varies by state, with some states looking for more disorders than others. This test is usually done within 24 to 72 hrs after birth before your baby is sent home with you at the hospital. Babies found to have any of these conditions are either medicated or put on a diet, depending on the disease. It takes about one week to analyze the test. You will hear nothing unless the analysis reveals something.

Hearing test

Hearing tests are offered for all newborns. It is very commonly done in the first day or so of birth. The test involves a technician placing a very soft probe into your baby's ears which is connected to a machine. This shows how well your baby is hearing. The aim is to detect hearing impairments early in order to provide support and help to facilitate good language development. Babies sometimes fail the first screening because they have fluid in the middle ear or debris (like vernix) in the ear canal, or because the room is too noisy or they're too feisty during the test (moving or crying). Many babies who fail the first screening go on to pass follow-up testing.

POX screening

While you are in the birth center/maternity ward, when the baby is more than 24 hours old, your baby’s oxygenation will be checked with an easy test in the baby’s hand and foot. The aim is to detect severe heart disorders early.


Every baby is unique. Breastfed babies eat more frequently than bottle-fed ones. That’s because breast milk is easily digested and empties from the stomach a lot quicker than formula. At first, it’s important not to let your baby go more than a few hours without feeding. You will likely need to wake them up if necessary, at least until feeding is well established and they are gaining weight appropriately. If you are having difficulty with feeding, you may consult your healthcare provider or a lactation consultant.

Skin on skin

While you are in the birth center or maternity ward, we encourage you to spend as much time as possible holding your baby (with the baby wearing only a diaper) against your skin. The benefits include:

  • Bonding. It facilitates bonding between parents and baby.
  • It helps your baby to maintain a normal and even body temperature.
  • It makes it easier for your newborn to adapt to life outside the womb, such as breathing and regulating blood sugar levels.
  • Your baby will cry less.
  • It facilitates the start of breastfeeding.