Newborn baby

If you've never seen a newborn baby, you're in for a surprise! Brand-new babies aren't as bright, alert, and handsome as picture-book babies. If you have not been given a general anesthetic at the time of delivery, you'll see your baby before the nurses have an opportunity to bathe him. The first thing you'll notice is that his skin is a little blue. His color will improve as soon as the mucus has been adequately aspirated from his nose and throat, and his lungs have expanded. He'll also be covered with a white, waxy material— a temporary protective covering for his tender, sensitive skin. If you do not see the baby until after the nurses have cared for him, you'll notice that his lips, nail beds, and hands are still slightly blue. His eyes will probably be closed, and chances are he won't take the slightest interest in what's going on around him. His head may be misshapen with lumps or protrusions on one side or the other. But don't worry, by the time you leave the hospital, his head shape will have improved and will be a little more like you expected.

You'll also notice that your baby's feet and legs are in peculiar position due to his position when he was in your uterus. His legs will also be quite bowed, but time takes care of all these "abnormalities." If there is anything that requires orthopedic care, your doctor will tell you.

Doting friends and relatives will be a big help at this time. After listening to everyone telling you how beautiful your baby is, you'll soon see it too. By the time you are ready to leave the hospital, you'll hardly even notice the tremendous improvement in your little one's alertness and general appearance. This is because it is terribly difficult to see any improvement in perfection!

Birth registration

Generally, your doctor fills out and files the birth certificate. In many states, it is compulsory this be done within a certain number of days after birth. Obtain a copy of the birth certificate and keep it in a safe place to insure its availability whenever needed. In most states, a copy of the certificate is mailed to the parents. Make sure all the information is correct.


If your doctor elects to circumcise your boy, it will probably be done between the 1st and 4th day. In circumcision, the moveable fold of skin which covers the end of the penis is clipped away. There are several reasons for this.

The first, and most obvious, is that it is an aid to cleanliness. The second reason is that it has been shown that men will not develop cancer of the penis if they have been circumcised at birth. Third, the incidence of cancer of the cervix of women whose husbands have been circumcised is less than those whose husbands have not been circumcised. Finally, as your son grows older, he will want to be like other boys, most of whom will have been circumcised.

However, some doctors are opposed to circumcision. This is usually because the incidence of cancer of the penis or cervix affects relatively few persons and, therefore, he feels surgery on every baby is unwarranted.

If a circumcision is not performed, your doctor will give you the necessary instructions for cleansing under the foreskin.


The following pages will provide you with some newborn tips:

New motherhood

New sibling

Nursing newborn

Breastfeeding technique

Breastfeeding problems

Newborn feeding - formula-feeding baby

Milk (baby formula)

Methods of bottle disinfection

Baby's formula preparation methods

Baby's feeding schedule at home

Baby bottle-feeding method

Vitamins for babies

Baby's bowel movements

Baby's diaper care

Fold cloth baby diaper - how to

Baby's bath

Baby's body care

Give baby a sponge bath - how to

Give baby a tub bath - how to

More on Teaching Parenting Skills