I talk by crying.
  • If I am crying, it could mean that I:
  • am wet
  • am too hot or too cold
  • am sleepy
  • am hungry
  • want to change positions
  • want to be held
  • need to be burped
  • have colic
  • If nothing seems to help me calm down, check with my doctor to see if something is wrong.
  • Soon you will be able to tell the difference between my cry that says "Feed Me," and the one that says "Pick me up and hold me."
  • Remember, it is common for babies to have a fussy time each day. 

      Help me be healthy.
Before I go home from the hospital:
I may have a hepatitis shot and I will have a blood test designed to screen babies for several genetic disorders. 

The doctor and nurse will take a small amount of blood by pricking my heel before I leave the hospital.  I will need to have another test done before I am two weeks old.  The hospital will give you information saying where I need to go to have the second blood test done.  If the tests indicate a possible problem, you and my doctor will be notified and appropriate follow-up will be arranged.

When I go for my first checkup:

  • I will be weighed and measured.
  • I will be looked at everywhere.

The doctor will look in my eyes, ears, and nose; listen to my heart and lungs; and examine my hips, abdomen, and umbilical cord stump.  The doctor will want to know how we are all doing as a family and will answer any questions that you have.  Don't be afraid to ask questions.  My health is very important.  That is why we go to a doctor or clinic for the well-baby check-ups.  Keep me away from cigarette and cigar smoke.  It's hard on my developing lungs.

      Feed me when I am hungry.
Breastmilk or iron-fortified formula is the only food I need.
I may have a hepatitis shot and I will have a blood test designed to screen babies for several genetic disorders.  

It will probably take us several weeks to adjust to a feeding schedule.  This is normal.  If I am breastfeeding, I may eat every 2 to 3 hours.

I am getting enough to eat if I am:

  • growing.
  • having at least 6 wet diapers a day.
  • having at least one stool a day.

      Play with me.  It helps me learn.
  • Hold me, cuddle me, rock me, hug me, and let me look at your face.
  • Change my position every once in a while.
  • Talk to me, sing to me, read to me.
  • Put a picture on the side of my bed.  Hang a mobile over by crib.  Put them on securely so I can't pull them down.
  • Listen to gentle music with me.

      Help me be safe.
Whenever we ride in the car, put me in a car seat and put the straps on right.
The law requires that I be in a car seat when I am in a car until I'm old enough to wear a regular seat belt.  The car seat is the only safe place for me to be.  So use the car seat even if I fuss.
Fussing is my way of telling you that I know I am in a different place.  I should look at the back window.

Place me on my back to sleep.
I should sleep on my back until I'm able to turn over by myself.

Check the batteries in our smoke detector.
Have you thought of how you would help me get out if there was a fire?  Practice a fire escape.

Never leave me alone with pets.

      Watch for me to:
  • Look to see who is talking.
  • Move my eyes to follow something that moves in front of my face.  Look at you, look away, and then look at you again when we are playing.  I can see best when an object is about eight inches from my face.
  • Sleep a lot.  I don't know when it is night, so I will wake up in the night and want to eat.
  • Eat every few hours.  When I'm not eating, I may sleep most of the time.
  • Be fussy and cry more than you would like me to cry.  Don't be afraid to hold me.
  • Suck on my fingers or pacifier.  I like to suck even when I am not hungry.
  • Be startled by loud noises.
The above information was obtained from
Smart Start and the North Carolina Partnership for Children.

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