Baby Basics

Often parents will refrain from asking basic questions about their new-born because they feel they should already know the answers.

The truth is, all parents, first-timers or not, have the same questions. Here’s a few common questions parents ask about their new-born.


When will the umbilical cord stump fall off?

Within 24 hours the umbilical cord will become a black colour and within seven to ten days it will fall off. 

What’s a normal amount of soiled nappies a day for a new-born?

While babies’ bowel movements vary, breastfed babies can need as many as ten nappy changes a day. This amount will be less for formula fed babies. Consult your doctor if your baby goes two to three days without needing a nappy change.

Is squinting normal?

Squinting eyes should improve by the time your baby is eight weeks old. If they haven’t improved by this time see your doctor.

How do I know if my baby has a fever?

A fever is generally a temperature above 38 degrees Celsius. If your child is under three years old, his or her temperature should be measured through the rectum.

When will my baby cut her first teeth?

Between the age of six to nine months your baby should start teething. A couple teeth will start appearing up until he or she is twelve months old and teething will continue into the second year. Don’t be alarmed if your baby is born with one or two teeth sticking out, it’s normal.

What are the white spots on my baby’s face, neck and chest?

These white spots are called Milia. Refrain from treating them with ointment or squeezing them as they clear up within three to four weeks without leaving scars.

How often should I bath my baby?

Giving your baby too many baths can cause dry skin and rashes. Wash your baby with a cloth or soft sponge as a substitute for a bath up until the umbilical-cord stump falls off and a bath two to three times a week will do once the cord has healed. While not necessary, you can give your baby daily baths after a few months, but be sure to moisturise your baby’s skin afterwards with a moisturiser approved by your doctor.

What are normal sleeping patterns for babies?

When in the womb, babies are used to sleeping in the day and being awake at night. Once they’re born they have to adapt to the outside world. While a new-born sleeps around sixteen hours a day, he or she generally wakes up to be fed every two to three hours. Many parents don’t know that falling asleep is a learning curve for a baby and laying your baby down when he or she is tired will help in this process. 

Refrain from nurturing your baby to sleep after month one to two, otherwise he or she will build up a dependence on milk to fall asleep. Night-time feedings usually decrease to one or two by the time your baby is four to six months old and at nine to twelve months your baby should start sleeping through the night. Sleeping when your baby sleeps will make the process a little easier.

There’s always something new to learn when you’re looking after a new-born for not only the first time, but the third or fourth time too. If you have concerns or need your mind to be put at ease don’t hesitate to speak to your friendly Pharmacy at SPAR pharmacist who can advise you on whether a doctor visit is necessary. We hope these answers were helpful and wish you good luck on your exciting journey ahead!

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is provided by the SPAR Group Ltd for general information purposes only. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.