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45 Questions First-Time Parents Will Have, Answered

Becoming a first-time parent is as exhilarating as it is terrifying. There’s no right way to feel, and each and every parent is guaranteed to have a different experience. One thing all first-time parents will have is a heap of questions.

Thankfully, we’ve done the research and answered the 45 most common questions that first-time parents have. From newborn care plans (0-2 months) to what clothing choices you should make on behalf of your little one, all the questions that come hand-in-hand with parenthood need not go unanswered. 

Recommended reading: How to Play with a Newborn: 10 Tips New Parents Should Know

Newborn Care Planning

Relax: you’re not going to screw this up! Still, we get why first-time parents can feel that the odds are stacked against them when it comes to the daunting task of planning newborn care. Here’s what you need to know.

A baby lying on its stomach enjoys a gentle back rub

What’s the ideal temperature for newborn?

Low-birthweight and preterm babies are more susceptible to temperature fluctuations because they have scant body fat to insulate them against the cold. Their nervous systems are also too immature to regulate body temperature effectively.

What is considered a fever for a newborn?

Fever isn’t a disease or an illness itself, but a sign that something is wrong with the baby. Fever can be due to an infection, a reaction to immunization, or overheating secondary to overdressing on a hot day.

Regardless of the cause, you should bring your newborn (0-30 days old) to the doctor if they have a fever or a rectal temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

How fast is the infant heart rate?

Physical activity, fever, excitement, dehydration, and stress can elevate a baby’s heart rate. Moreover, babies’ heart rates tend to be faster during inhalation than during exhalation, which might lead to a diagnosis of arrhythmia. However, this is normal among infants. Premature heartbeats are also normal.

However, any heart rate below or above the normal values requires clinical evaluation. Babies with cardiomyopathy and congenital heart abnormalities typically present with very rapid heart rates. On the other hand, infants with a slow heartbeat might be hypothermic or have heart block.

How to stop a baby’s hiccups?

Rubbing your baby’s back can also help relieve spasms, stopping the hiccups. Gently rocking the infant can also produce a similar effect.

Burping the baby can also prevent hiccups. You can burp your baby every time you switch between breasts if breastfeeding. If you are bottle-feeding your baby, it would be wise to burp them after consuming two to three ounces of milk.

What happens if my newborn doesn’t burp?

Two things can happen if your newborn doesn’t burp. First, babies can pass the gas through the opposite end of the digestive tract – the anus. Second, newborns can cry or become restless because of abdominal discomfort or pain. They can lift their legs, arch their backs, or even have bulging and stiff tummies.

Burping is the baby’s way of releasing trapped gas from its stomach after ingesting too much air during feeding. Hence, a baby who doesn’t burp can mean they did not swallow as much air during nursing or bottle feeding. Some newborns might spit up after feeding to remove the excess gas.  

Why is my newborn sneezing a lot?

Why is my newborn stomach gurgling?

Why does my newborn spit up yellow?

Acid reflux can also cause your newborn baby to spit up yellow, especially if there is mucus in the spit. In worst cases, a biliary problem might be producing the yellow spit.

Whatever the cause, it would be best to have a pediatrician look at your baby.

Why doesn’t my newborn poop?

The likelihood of an imperforate anus is high if the newborn hasn’t pooped within the first 24 to 48 hours of being born. If the baby has passed feces before but doesn’t now, there is a chance the newborn is constipated or has gas.

Imperforate anus is a congenital abnormality resulting in a blockage of the anal opening. It has several forms. For example, the baby might have no anus, or their anus is too narrow for the feces to pass through. The rectum can also connect to the urethra, vagina, penile base, or bladder, moving poop through these structures instead of the anus. Although rare, there can be a discontinuity between the colon and the rectum. 

On the other hand, newborn constipation can occur because of a reduced level of colostrum in breast milk. This substance not only provides nutrition and antibodies to the baby but also acts as a laxative. Lower levels of colostrum can make a newborn constipated.

Newborns almost always poop after every nursing, about eight to ten times every day. Two-week-old babies can poop three to four times daily, while six-week-old babies can poop as less frequently as once weekly.

It would be best for you to check your baby’s mood if they haven’t pooped for some time. Are they as playful and content as usual, or do they show distress or fussiness, especially after feeding? The latter can indicate constipation.

How to clean a newborn tongue?

Newborns don’t produce as much saliva as older children and adults, making it impossible for them to wash milk residues from their mouths and tongues. You should clean your baby’s tongue to remove the whitish coat after every feeding or nursing. Here’s how.

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with water and soap to avoid introducing harmful germs and substances into your newborn’s oral cavity.
  2. Wrap a clean piece of gauze or cloth around your index finger and moisten it with clean, warm water.
  3. Have someone hold the baby for you and use one hand to open the newborn’s mouth softly and gently.
  4. Carefully place your gauze-wrapped finger on the newborn’s tongue.
  5. Gently rub your finger against the tongue’s surface in a circular motion.
  6. After cleaning the tongue, rub the gauze-wrapped finger against the gums and the insides of the cheeks.

You can also use a baby-friendly finger brush made of silicone to clean your infant’s tongue. However, these brushes are only suitable for babies that are at least two months old. If you cannot remove the whitish coloration from the tongue after several sessions, it would be best to consult a doctor to check for oral thrush.

How to cut baby nails without clippers?

Always trim the nails under adequate light to help you file the edges without scraping the baby’s sensitive skin. You can gently pull the finger pad to widen the gap between the skin and the nail.

It would be best to cut the baby’s nails when they are drowsy, very calm, or asleep. You can also ask someone to hold your baby, sing to them or soothe them while you’re trimming their nails.

You can also turn the nail-trimming activity into a game or something fun. Distraction also helps. Always finish the nail-clipping by praising your baby.

Can I put lotion on newborn face?

Yes, you can put lotion on your newborn’s face. However, the product should be hypoallergenic to avoid irritating the baby’s sensitive skin. You can apply a baby-friendly moisturizer twice or thrice daily.

Baby-friendly lotions should not contain dyes, parabens, phenoxyethanol, synthetic fragrances, preservatives, and other harmful ingredients.

Feeding and Food

Whether or not you decide to breastfeed your newborn, there’s lots to consider when it comes to developing your baby’s tiny little taste buds. We lay the groundwork for successful feeding below.

A mother lying in a hospital bed breastfeeds her newborn for the first time

How often to breastfeed newborn?

Why is my newborn choking while bottle feeding?

The most common reason newborns choke during bottle feeding is more milk coming out of the bottle than newborns can swallow. Likewise, the holes in the nipples might be too large, producing a faster and more voluminous milk flow.

However, a higher milk flow is still possible even with small nipple holes. Positioning the milk bottle nearly vertical promotes gravity to pull the milk faster. You can also get the same effect by tilting the milk bottle with its bottom higher than the nipple.

Hence, it would be wise to reposition the milk bottle if you observe your newborn struggle. You can keep the milk bottle almost parallel to the ground, allowing your newborn to use their sucking skills to control milk flow.

Can babies drink cold milk?

How often can you give a newborn gripe water?

How many ounces can a newborn drink?

Unfortunately, it is impossible to measure how many ounces a newborn drinks from a mother’s breasts unless you extract the breastmilk and give it to the baby in bottles. Breast-fed infants less than seven days old will feed eight to twelve times per day.

Newborns between two and three weeks old tend to sleep longer, making them miss their feeding schedules. Although the frequency is lower, the amount of milk consumption per feeding session is higher to compensate for the missed feedings.

One-month-old babies can drink at least four ounces per feeding session every four hours. It brings the daily total to at least 24 ounces.

Why can’t newborns have water?

Although newborns’ tummies grow over time, the size differential is almost negligible. A one-month-old baby can only accommodate 2.7 to 5.0 ounces in the stomach.

Giving water to newborns with immature kidneys can overwhelm these organs. The excess water goes to the bloodstream, lowering the concentration of essential electrolytes. 

Can newborns drink prune juice?


For some, the idea of dressing your newborn in doll-sized sneakers and colorful bibs is one of the most exciting aspects of those first few months. For others, it’s not even on the radar. Here’s some things to consider when raising your little fashionista.

A clothing rack filled with clothes for a baby

Should you wash baby clothes before use?

Yes, you must wash newly-bought baby clothes before use. There’s no guarantee the baby clothes you bought from the store don’t contain harmful chemicals, dirt, dust, and other substances. 

Your baby’s skin is so delicate that even dust can irritate their skin.

How long do newborn clothes last?

Three factors can impact how long newborn clothes last: baby size, growth rate, and baby clothing size differences.

Some newborns are long and thin, while others are short and wide, even though they might have the same birth weight. Unfortunately, manufacturers classify their newborn clothing by age and not by height or weight. 

Hence, you can expect newborn clothes to last a month or two if you have a small baby. On the other hand, a large baby might outgrow their newborn clothes within two to three weeks.

What size diapers do newborns wear?

The size of diapers newborns wear depends on the baby’s weight. Diaper manufacturers classify their products based on an infant’s weight, not age.

Other diaper brands might have a different sizing scheme. It would be wise to check how these manufacturers categorize their diapers to determine the best possible size for your baby.

Babies experience a growth spurt between the first and third week. It’s possible the “N” diaper your one-week-old baby uses today will be insufficient when they reach the first month. It’s an excellent idea to use a Size 1 for your newborn because it already covers the N-sized diaper’s upper two-pound weight limit.

How long do babies stay in newborn diapers?

How long babies stay in newborn diapers depends on their weight relative to the diaper’s rated weight capacity.

Overweight babies might fit newborn diapers for only four to five days, making Size 1 diapers more appropriate for them. 

How many diapers does a newborn use a day?

How long can a baby stay in a poopy diaper?

How many diapers does a newborn go through a day?

Newborns can go through at least six diapers a day starting on the fifth day. Some babies can wet a dozen diapers in 24 hours by their first month.

Urine production picks up when the baby starts breastfeeding or drinking milk from a bottle. Babies grow stronger each day, allowing them to suck more milk from the breast or the bottle. The increased milk consumption also produces more urine, leading to increased diaper use.

Is washing baby clothes in public laundry OK?

Yes, it’s okay to wash your baby’s clothes in a public laundromat. After all, not all families have washing machines. However, there are a few things you must do when washing baby clothes in a public laundry to ensure infant safety.

Disinfect the washing machine by running a cleaning cycle or setting the washer at a high temperature and operating it empty. You can add a few drops of distilled white vinegar to kill microorganisms and remove any unwanted odor. After all, you don’t know who last used the washing machine.

Use liquid detergent instead of powder to wash baby clothes because it rinses out easier, making them more suitable for sensitive skin. A baby-friendly detergent isn’t necessary if your newborn doesn’t have allergies, dermatitis, or other skin inflammatory disorders. 

That being said, avoid using heavily-scented detergents and those with conditioners where possible. You might also want to skip the fabric conditioner because it can contain substances that can irritate your baby’s skin.

Make it a habit to read the baby clothes’ care tags because manufacturers have specific requirements for washing and drying their items.


We all need our beauty sleep, not least of all our newborns. And since it will affect your own sleep schedule so much, one of the most heinous aspects of those first few months (or years) is getting your little one’s sleep just right. Here’s how.

A swaddled newborn sleeps peacefully

Do babies need pillows?

Why does my newborn sleep with their mouth open?

Your newborn may be sleeping with their mouths open because mucus blocks the pharynx or a stuffy nose. It might be due to a cold or an allergy.

Another reason newborns are mouth-breathing during sleep is sleep apnea, often indicating enlarged adenoids or tonsils. You can also check for other sleep apnea signs, including snoring, breathing pauses, and restlessness during sleep.

A deviated septum – the cartilage in the center of the nose – can also cause your newborn to open their mouths during sleep. Your doctor might want to check your baby if you suspect an off-center nasal septum.

Why does my newborn rolls onto side while sleeping?

Newborns roll onto their sides while sleeping for the same reason we do – to feel more comfortable. 

Each day is a learning opportunity for newborns. They begin discovering their bodies and their associated movements. They learn to control their movements as they grow, allowing babies to start moving more. A bare playpen or crib is the perfect place for newborns to move around and practice their newly discovered skills.

Unfortunately, no one knows why newborns roll onto their sides during sleep. We can only guess it’s to achieve optimum comfort.

Although it’s okay for babies to sleep on their sides, parents must be extra cautious to prevent suffocation or sudden infant death syndrome. The crib must be free of sleep positioners such as pillows, bolsters, loose sheets, blankets, and comforters. These items can make it difficult for the baby to breathe if they smother their faces against these sleep implements. 

How to wake up a newborn?

There are several ways to wake up a newborn without causing unnecessary distress or discomfort.

  1. Gently rub your newborn’s arms, back, cheeks, or legs to bring them out of their slumber. You can also tickle their soles with a feather. Your touch should be enough to wake up your baby.
  2. Talk to your newborn in a soft and calm voice. Some babies respond well to their mom’s voice, rousing them from sleep. You can also sing softly.
  3. Gently remove your baby’s clothing. Exposing them to cool air increases the likelihood of them waking. However, it would be best to perform this technique quickly because newborns cannot regulate their body temperature as efficiently as we do. They’d be at risk for hypothermia if left undressed for an extended period in a cold room.
  4. Change your newborn’s diapers to wake them up. It would be best to be gentle and methodical in removing the diapers. You must avoid sudden, jarring movements that might startle your baby and cause them to cry. 
  5. Moisten a washcloth with lukewarm water and gently wipe it on your baby’s face. Ensure the washcloth is neither cold nor hot to avoid startling or causing pain and discomfort.

Is newborn grunting and squirming while sleeping normal?

Grunting is normal among growing newborns who are learning to move their bowels. Newborns use their diaphragm to push down the intestinal contents instead of relying on the abdominal muscles to move the bowels. Since the diaphragm borders the chest cavity and abdominal cavity, its movement creates a grunting sound.



Unless you happen to birth a linguistic genius, newborns are more-or-less incapable of communication for quite some time. Crying is pretty much their native tongue. Let’s decipher it. 

A red rose is placed next to a crying newborn

Is it ok to let a baby cry if nothing is wrong?

Why is my newborn still crying after being fed and changed?

Newborns cry for different reasons, not only because they are hungry or need a diaper changing. They cry because they feel lonely, hot, or cold. Babies also whimper because they need a cuddle or prefer bundling. The desire to move and sleepiness can also make newborns cry.

Most babies who still cry after a diaper simply want to be held. They feel more secure, and the warmth your body gives is enough to reassure and calm them. 

Still, it would be best to have your doctor check your newborn if none of the usual suspects of crying after feeding and diaper changing are present.

Why is my newborn crying when changing diaper?

Most newborns cry when changing diapers because they don’t like getting cold when undressed. Wet wipes on the skin can also be a little unpleasant, and it’s understandable that cleaning them after undressing might irritate them. At first, it will take you a little while to get the hang of changing diapers. The more you do it, the faster you’ll get it, reducing the amount of time the baby feels uncomfortable.

Some mommies change their babies’ diapers before feeding. In such cases, the crying might be due to hunger. Your baby cannot wait to get their milk, making their frustrations known through crying. You might want to feed your newborn before changing the diaper if this is your situation, so long as they haven’t been sitting in it for more than 30 minutes.

It’s also possible that newborns cry when changing diapers because they’re anxious. They’re clueless as to why they are being undressed, having their legs lifted and butts wiped. The good news is that babies will become more familiar with the routine, lessening their crying tendencies. 

Babies older than three months might still cry when changing diapers because they feel they don’t have control of their bodies. Infants might dislike getting swooped up from their playpen to have their diapers changed. They might also not like the feeling of someone restricting their movements. For example, a four-month-old baby can start rolling from their tummies to the sides and backs. They might see diaper changes as limiting their newfound skills and sense of freedom.


First-time parents will often comment on how wonderful a newborn smells. Though they’d like to believe this is their baby’s natural smell, good hygiene practices and lavender scented moisturizers are probably doing much of the legwork. Here’s how to keep a baby clean.

a baby is bathed.

How often should I bathe my newborn?

However, it would be best to check your baby’s skin folds between baths and clean them using a moist washcloth. Dirt and other substances can accumulate in these areas, such as the chin, armpits, groin, and thighs.

The current practice is to bathe newborns once or twice weekly until the umbilical stump detaches from the baby’s body. It’s best not to submerge the newborn’s body in the water during this time. Instead, give newborns a head-to-toe sponge bath. 

How do I do a newborn sponge bath?

  1. Prepare the sponge bath supplies, including a clean and soft washcloth, lukewarm water, and a fragrance-free, baby-friendly soap. You’ll also need a soft blanket, a shallow basin, and a hooded towel. A change of clothes, a clean diaper, and baby wipes are also a must.
  2. Spread the soft blanket or towel on a firm, flat, and comfortable surface. 
  3. Undress your baby, wrap in a hooded towel, and lay flat with their back on the blanket. Expose only the baby’s body parts you want to clean to prevent them from getting cold. Always hold your baby with one hand for safety.
  4. Fill the basin with lukewarm water and dip the soft washcloth. Gently wipe your newborn’s scalp, paying extra care in cleaning the head’s soft spots (known as fontanelles). Rinse the washcloth and moisten it with lukewarm water. Wipe your newborn’s face, eyes, ears, and neck creases.
  5. Add a small amount of mild baby soap into the basin with lukewarm water and mix. Dip the washcloth into the soapy solution and wring out excess liquids. Wipe your newborn’s body, including the arms, legs, groin, fingers, and toes. Focus on cleaning the skin folds because moisture and dirt might be present. Clean and rinse one area before proceeding to the next, remembering to expose only the body part you want to clean and cover the rest.
  6. Put on a new diaper and a change of clothes for your newborn. Clean up the area.


A first-time parent’s list of concerns don’t begin and end with the obvious. Here’s some more miscellaneous questions you might have about your baby.


How long does it take to get a social security card for a newborn?

For example, families in Alaska can expect a social security card for their newborns in nine weeks, eleven with the mail. On the other hand, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Vermont can process the application within a week.

The following US states can process a social security card for a newborn within three weeks: Delaware, Hawaii, and Washington. Meanwhile, the District of Columbia, Louisiana, Virginia, Wisconsin, and West Virginia can deliver the card in four weeks. New Mexico can do it in five weeks, while the rest can complete the social security card in two.

How to keep a newborn awake during the day?

You can also feed your newborn more during the day to help them feel fuller at night. This technique should help your baby sleep longer at night and stay awake longer during the day.

What is the best newborn tracking app?

There is no single newborn tracking app covering all aspects of newborn care, but there are some that will take the stress out of planning. Here’s some of our picks.

When will my newborn smile?

You can expect your baby to smile when they reach six to twelve weeks, with most infants showing their social smile in the ninth week. You might see your newborn smile a few days after birth. Unfortunately, this is reflexive and not a ‘true’ smile. 

A reflex smile occurs at random and is brief. You’ll most likely catch your little angel ‘smiling’ while asleep. 

Try coaxing your baby to grin by holding them close to you and talking to them in a soft and happy voice. Smile widely and offer your baby a warm hello using a sing-song pitch. You can also play peek-a-boo to elicit a smile response.

Can you have a fan on with a newborn?

Yes, you can have a fan on with your newborn. However, it would be best to position the fan so that it doesn’t blow directly onto the baby. It’s also a must to clean the fan before use to prevent dust and dirt particles from getting airborne and inhaled by the baby.

It is OK to go on a 4 hour car journey with newborn?

Yes, it’s okay to go on a four-hour car journey with a newborn, provided you take frequent breaks. Newborns must only travel thirty minutes at a time. Hence, if your journey takes you four hours, it would be best to schedule fifteen to thirty-minute rest stops every thirty minutes. 

Babies older than three months can tolerate longer-distance travels without stopping. However, it’s best to take a thirty-minute break from your journey every two hours.

Why do you swaddle a baby?

Swaddling babies is one of the most enduring practices of motherhood. Babies are wrapped in soft cloth to protect them against the startle reflex, ensuring a calmer and more peaceful sleep. It can also help calm a colicky infant while soothing baby anxiety by imitating a mother’s touch. Swaddling is an excellent way for babies to learn how to self-soothe.

Wrapping babies in comfortable cloth can also prevent them from reaching and scratching their faces, avoiding irritation or exacerbating eczema. It also helps position the baby on their back, reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

What is the average height for newborn?

It’s worth noting that this is just the average: half of all children will have heights either above or below these numbers.