Congratulations on the birth of your baby! Whether you’re a first time parent or a veteran, a newborn baby is always a wonder. The following information provides an overview of some of the special characteristics you may notice about your newborn, and guides you through the basics of infant care. It will also help you recognize potential health concerns with your baby, and know when to seek medical help.
Keep in mind that this information should not replace the advice and care you receive from a doctor and other healthcare providers. We encourage you to consult with your baby’s doctor any time you have questions or concerns about your baby’s health.
The newborn intensive care unit (NICU) provides care to premature babies and other critically ill infants. When your baby needs to be in the NICU, it can be an overwhelming experience. Very quickly, the excitement you feel about the birth of your new baby can change to fear about what lies ahead. You may also feel angry, or find yourself questioning whether anything is really wrong with your baby. All of these emotions are normal. However, knowing what to expect can help balance these feelings and take away some of the fear.
We hope that this booklet, along with the advice of your baby’s caregivers, will help answer the many questions you will certainly have about the care and services provided in a NICU.
The decision to breastfeed is a positive one for both you and your baby. By choosing to breastfeed, you are giving your baby the healthiest start possible.
Breast milk is the best food for your baby. Besides having all the nutrition your baby needs to grow, breast milk has special properties that help protect your baby from illness. For these reasons, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for at least the first year of your baby’s life.