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You might be baffled by your baby’s behavior. Maybe he or she is very fussy, or maybe the baby never seems upset and is too happy, which might worry you just as much. Every baby has different behavior characteristics, many of which are thought to be linked with the baby’s first signs of personality, or temperament.

Don’t panic if your baby seems to cry to tell you everything. In fact, babies cry when they are hungry, wet, tired, too hot, lonely, or unhappy in any way. If you show your baby a prompt response when it cries, he or she will gain a sense of confidence and will feel comforted. That’s why it’s best to answer the baby’s cries and not to let him or her continue to cry. Usually this will only make matters worse.

Sometimes a baby will cry excessively, which is generally characterized as crying for more than 3 hours a day for at least 3 days a week, and consoling the cries are difficult, if possible. This is often called colic and will usually peak at about 6 to 8 weeks and gradually decrease. Colic can be very frightening and tense for a parent. But colic isn’t something to worry about; it’s a normal condition for babies to experience. If your baby is excessively crying, don’t assume it is colic, see your pediatrician for a full appraisal to make sure the crying isn’t an indicator of another health condition. Some doctors think that colic is related to gas or to the baby’s reaction to your milk. Colicky babies may nurse from a mother who is smoking or may be taking medication. Your provider will examine the causes of colic and help you to figure out the best form of treatment. It’s very important that you discuss your reaction to your baby’s crying behavior as well. At this stressful and emotional time, with your postpartum hormones all out of whack, it may be difficult to deal with a colicky baby. If you feel frustrated or desperate, get support from your partner, friends and family and talk to your doctor about how to help you as well as your baby.

You should establish a daily schedule for your newborn for eating and sleeping. Your newborn needs the right amount of food and rest, and a dependable schedule is very helpful in keeping your baby nourished and relaxed. For the first three weeks, feedings will be more frequent and sleep will be almost every 2 to 3 hours. You will notice your baby begin to mature, and demand less food and sleep for longer periods of time. Let your baby’s schedule dictate how often you feed her and put her to sleep. Talk to your provider about your individual needs.

You will need to bring your newborn to check-ups with the pediatrician. Your baby’s first check-up was in the hospital after delivery, where hearing, vision and vital signs were taken to determine health. In the first weeks of your newborn’s life, you should take her to well-child visits once or twice in the first week and then at the first month, later on a basis determined by you and your provider. The pediatrician will perform a physical exam, take some blood (from the baby’s heel) and give immunizations when necessary to keep your newborn in top health.

If your baby exhibits any of the following behavioral tendencies, call your doctor.

  • excessive crying
  • excessive drowsiness
  • fever (with a rectal thermometer) and flushed or hot skin
  • loss of appetite and refusal to eat/ nurse
  • repeated vomiting
  • bowel movements with blood or mucus or excessive stools
  • inflammation or discharge from the eyes
  • twitching or inability to move
  • noticeable pain

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