Keep your baby away from crowds and sick people, especially toddlers. Avoid air travel for the first month of life.
Keep umbilical cord area clean and dry.
If your baby sleeps with you, make sure he is on his back with his face up and uncovered. There should not be space between the bed and wall or headboard where your baby could slip down.
Make sure you don't smoke, drink alcohol, or take other drugs. (These situations are associated with a higher risk for your baby while sleeping with you.)
Protect baby from sun exposure (over 10 minutes).
Protect your newborn from whooping cough (pertussis). Make sure everyone who comes into contact with your baby is up to date with Tdap vaccine.
Put your baby on her stomach when awake to help strengthen neck and prevent flattening of baby's head.
Provide a safe environment for your child.
Avoid SIDS: Put baby to sleep on her back, not her side or stomach, on a firm, flat mattress, with face uncovered. If your baby falls asleep in your arms or a sling, make sure his face is uncovered.
Use a car seat for every ride. Place in the back seat, facing backwards. Rear-facing car seats cannot be used with passenger side air bags. For more information, see The Safety Restraint Coalition website at www.800bucklup.org or call toll-free 1-800-BUCK-L-UP (282-5587).
Prevent burns: Lower the water heater temperature to warm or low (below 120°F). Do not warm bottles in microwave. Always check temperature of formula with a few drops on your wrist before feeding.
Hiccups, sneezes, congestion, and crossed eyes are normal in newborns.
Never shake your baby. Shaking or spanking a baby can cause serious injury and death.
Cold air or wind do not cause ear infections or pneumonia. Dress your baby with the same amount of clothes as you are wearing. Dress your baby with a hat during the winter.
Illness and Fever
Rectal temperatures are the most accurate and are recommended for the first two months of life. Ear temperatures are not reliable at this age.
Take your baby's temperature if he feels hot or you think he might be sick.
Rectal temperature (in the baby's anus) over 100.4°F is a fever.
How do I take a rectal temperature?
Lay your baby stomach-down on your lap.
Put some petroleum jelly on the end of the thermometer, gently put the thermometer no more than 1 inch into the rectum (anus) and hold for 2 to 3 minutes.
How do I know if my baby is sick?
Newborn babies can get infections easily. Call your health care provider right away if your baby has any of these symptoms:
A rectal temperature over 100.4°F or below 97.5°F.
Very sleepy or not eating well (does not wake up to eat).
Breathing fast (over 60 breaths a minute) for a prolonged length of time.
Frequent coughing or forceful vomiting.
Redness and swelling around the umbilical cord or circumcision.