Birth to 2 Weeks

Please Note

  • This guide was designed with first time parents in mind, especially those without much experience caring for babies.
  • If you are already an experienced caregiver, you may do things differently, and that's fine too!
  • These recommendations apply only to the first 2 weeks of life. Please consult the relevant guides for older babies.

Breast Feeding Schedule

  • If this is your first baby, please read our guide to bringing in your breast milk on time.
  • Feed on both breasts every time.
  • 10-20 minutes on each side.
  • After 20 minutes, your baby will have emptied that breast.
    • If baby keeps feeding she will slip to the end of your nipple, causing pain, cracking, bleeding, etc.
    • Your baby may also lose extra weight trying to get food from an empty breast. Eating takes energy!
  • Feed at least every 3 hours, around the clock. Wake baby if you need to at 3 hours.
    • Your baby will probably eat more than every 3 hours. This is a good thing!
  • After your baby regains his birthweight (usually 10-14 days of life), the new rule will be "never wake a sleeping baby."

How to increase your milk supply

  • Pump your breasts after a feed when they are empty.
    • 5 minutes is sufficient.
    • Just pick a few feeds per day to pump after. You don't need to do this after every feed!
  • This is not necessary for every Mom, but is the best way to increase your supply, generally speaking.

Hunger Cues - the first 2 weeks

  • If the eyes are open, your baby is hungry.
  • If your baby is crying, she is very hungry.
  • Baby is not full until she is asleep on her back, not in your arms.
    • Set her down to check
    • If she stays asleep, you can sleep yourself, or get some skin-to-skin cuddle time!
  • You can’t overfeed a baby. Babies will stop eating when full.

Baby is Crying

  • Assume she is still hungry first, regardless of how recently you fed her or how much she ate.
  • If baby won’t eat and won't stop crying no matter what you do, call the doctor.

Counting wet and dirty diapers

  • At least one wet diaper for every day of life (1 on the first day, 2 on the second, 3 on the 3rd, etc). 
  • After the 6th day, baby should have at least 6 wet diapers every day (midnight to midnight).
  • The poops are not helpful, and do not need to be counted. Focus on the wet diapers instead.

Vitamins for Mom

  • Moms should continue to take the prenatal vitamin every day as long as baby is breast feeding.

Vitamin for Baby

  • Baby needs 400 IU of vitamin D every day as long as he is breast feeding. The easiest option is one where the dose is 1 drop per day. This can be given while baby is sleeping.
  • Here a some good options:
  • Avoid options where the dose is 1 mL per day, because you'll need to wake baby up for this amount, and the taste is not well tolerated.
  • Formula does contain vitamin D, but if baby is taking less than 32 ounces of formula per day, she still needs the vitamin D supplement.
  • 400 IU of vitamin D (via infant drops or 32 ounces of formula) is required every day for the entire first year of life.

Nipple cracks, blisters, bleeding

  • If nipple symptoms occur, the baby is not latching properly. You should consult the pediatrician or a certified lactation specialist to figure out why.

Skin Rashes

  • Most skin rashes in newborns are normal, do not require any treatment, and will come and go for the first several months. 
  • If your baby is not feeding well or won’t stop crying no matter what you do, call the doctor.

Dry Skin

  • At this age, flaking skin is not actually dry. Rather, baby is shedding layers of skin he no longer needs. This can be ignored.

Lotions for Baby Skin

  • This is safe, but not necessary.

Bathing

  • Sponge bathe baby until the umbilical cord falls off and the circumcision has healed. 
  • After this happens, use a normal baby bath and gentle baby cleanser. Bathe baby every 2-3 days.

Umbilical Cord Care

  • Do not wash, clean, or treat the umbilical cord in any way.
  • The cord will likely bleed for a day or two before and after it falls off. This can be ignored. If blood is excessive, call the doctor.
  • The cord may develop an odor before it falls off. This can also be ignored.

Nail Care

  • Nail care is usually not needed, but may become necessary if your baby is accidentally scratching his face.
  • If this happens, nails should be filed, not clipped.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Please read our guide to sleep safety for preventing SIDS for complete details.

Taking baby’s temperature

Please read our guide to fever in the first 90 days of life for complete details.

Hiccups

  • Hiccups are normal, won't hurt your baby, and can be ignored.

Sneezing/congestion

  • This is normal in newborns and can be ignored. If baby stops feeding well because of congestion, call the doctor.

Taking baby outside

  • Taking your baby out of the home is safe for baby, and strongly recommended for the parents’ mental well-being.
  • Avoid crowded places when they are crowded. This is important for the first 2 months of life.

Bringing baby around other people

  • If someone has any symptoms of illness (fever, sneezing, cough/colds, vomiting, diarrhea, rashes) they should not be around the baby.
  • At least 2 weeks before meeting your baby, everyone must have received the flu shot for that season (September - March).
  • At least 2 weeks before meeting your baby, everyone must have received the Tdap vaccine in the last 10 years.