March 2012

During the first month your baby will sleep most of the time. During this period of adjustment and rapid growth, he/she will need plenty of uninterrupted, quiet rest. Excessive handling, jostling, and stimulation of the baby will result in his/her getting overly tired, cranky, fussy, and “colicky”. Remember, he/she is not a doll that can be passed from person to person so that “everybody gets to hold the baby.” Excessive stimulation by a variety of people will cause your child to develop exhaustion and a “nervous” fatigue that will result in him/her crying, screaming, drawing his/her legs up, and sleeping poorly (see the section on colic under “Common Causes of Concern in the First Month”).

Your baby should have his/her bed (either a crib or a bassinet) in a quiet, well-ventilated area where he/she can sleep undisturbed by others. This may be in his/her own room or in the parents’ room. Room temperatures between 72 degrees and 78 degrees are generally the most comfortable. Dressing your baby should be appropriate for the room temperature. Your best guide to this is to feel his/her hands and feet, and his/her chest or stomach. The hands and feet should always feel cool, and the chest and stomach should always feel warm, but never moist or sticky.

You can take your infant outdoors whenever the weather is pleasant. You need not wait any particular length of time following birth. However, since infants have very sensitive skin, direct exposure to sunlight should be limited to a few minutes at first.

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