your new life with the baby

 How can I help my baby bond with me?

Bonding with your baby is one of the great joys of parenthood, but it isn't always immediate. Not only are you recovering from giving birth, but your newborn is getting used to the being out in the world. Don't fret if things feel a little bumpy at first. Here's how to start the bonding process:
  • Spend time skin-to-skin. Both you and your partner should hold your infant close to your chest while feeding or just cuddling. You can also stoke or gently massage your little one.
  • Talk baby talk. Coo, babble, sing, and talk to your newborn -- she loves the sound of your voice.
  • Look in your baby's eyes and smile. In time, she will start to mimic your expressions.

 How much will my newborn sleep?

Your infant will sleep a lot at first, as much as 16 hours a day. Unfortunately, it's only one to two hours at a time. The good news is that by 6 months, many babies sleep six hours a night.
Try these tips to help your little one sleep:
  • When your baby fusses at night, wait a minute or two to see if he calms himself down and goes back to sleep.
  • Be quiet during nighttime feedings or diaper changes. Try not to wake him up too much.
  • Be active and play during the day so he stays awake for longer periods. That can help him transition to sleeping more at night.

Help your baby to have a sweet sleep :

Best Toys for Babies :

Toys are serious business for your baby. They help him discover the world around him and practice new skills. When he's a newborn, he'll crave toys he can look at, listen to, and suck on. As he gets older, he'll gravitate toward playthings he can grasp, kick, swipe, and turn. When he's able to sit up, crawl, and cruise, he'll be turned on by toys that help him explore — toys with parts he can open and shut, throw, bang, drop (over and over), and bite. What else wows a baby? Brightly colored playthings, soft, easily graspable objects, and anything that plays music. Check out these slides for toys that will tickle your baby's five senses.

What tests will my baby have?

Your baby will have a few checks and examinations in the first hours of his life. The first is the Apgar score, which your midwife will record at one minute, then again at five minutes after your baby's born

Your midwife can do this test by watching your baby's colourbreathing, behaviour, activity and posture. This will tell her whether your baby has any immediate problems which need medical support

Most babies are fine, or may just need to be watched for a while. If your baby does need some help, your midwife may give him oxygen or clear out his airways to help him to breathe

Next, your midwife will:
  • weigh your baby
  • check his temperature
  • measure the circumference of his head
These measurements will later be added to his developmental charts in his red book (personal child health record). Your health visitor will give you your red book when your baby is about 10 days old. This will let you track his progress as he grows. 

A full newborn examination is carried out at between four hours and 48 hours after your baby's birth. This gives your baby time to adjust to the outside world and allows for prompt medical attention in the unlikely event of any problems being found

Who does the full newborn examination?

Your baby may be examined by a paediatrician, a midwife with extended training or, if you had a home birth, your midwife or GP

The examination will be carried out while you and your partner are present, so you'll be able to ask questions as it happens. The examiner will probably ask you questions about your family's medical history. So now's the time to mention any childhood problems common to your family. 

What does the examination involve?

The examination takes a head-to-toe look at your baby to check for any problems or conditions. 


The doctor or midwife will look at the shape of your baby's head. A squashed or moulded head is a very common feature in newborns. This is caused by your baby being squeezed on his journey through the birth canal, and should right itself within 48 hours. 

Your baby's head can mould in this way because of the soft spots, called the sutures and fontanelles, between the bones in his skull. These soft spots will be looked at by your midwife or paediatrician. 

If your baby's birth required assistance with ventouse or forceps there's a small risk of bruises appearing on his head or skull bone (cephalhaematoma). But rest assured this will clear up by itself. 

Ears and eyes 

A midwife will have already looked at your baby's eyes to check for any obvious problems. During the full examination, the doctor or midwife will shine a light from an ophthalmoscope in your baby's eyes to look for a red reflex. This is the same as the red-eye effect from flash photography. If a red reflex is shown, cataracts can be ruled out. 

Your baby may have a hearing test shortly after birth, either in hospital, a community clinic, or at home. It's called an automated otoacoustic emission (AOAE) test. It only takes a few minutes and doesn't hurt your baby. For more information go to


The doctor or midwife will put a finger in your baby's mouth to check that the roof of his mouth (palate) is complete and his sucking reflex is working. A gap in the palate, called cleft palate, will need surgery and may make feeding difficult. 

They will also check your baby's tongue for tongue-tie. This happens when his tongue remains more anchored to the bottom of his mouth than it should be, restricting movement


The doctor or midwife will listen to your baby's heart with a stethoscope to exclude extra sounds or heart murmurs. These are common in the first few days, as your baby's pattern of circulation undergoes a major change once he is born

In the uterus (womb), the two sides of your baby's heart beat together. When your baby takes his first breath, the two sides begin to work separately. At this stage, your baby's heart is working hard and may be enlarged, though it will settle down over time. 

Heart murmurs may require a second opinion and further investigation, or will be checked at future examinations. Rest assured that heart murmurs often disappear on their own. 

A further test for a heart condition is to feel for a pulse in your baby's groin (the femoral pulse). 


The doctor or midwife will listen to your baby's breathing pattern and lung function with a stethoscope. The aim is to hear clear, equal air entry into both of his lungs


Your baby's genitals may appear swollen and dark-coloured, because your baby was exposed to your hormones before birth. These hormones may also cause your baby to have engorged breasts, regardless of your baby's sex. Girls may have a clear, white, or slightly bloody vaginal discharge for the first few weeks due to these hormones. 

For boys, the scrotum is checked for undescended testes. The penis will be checked to ensure the opening is at the tip of the penis, and not on the underside

The doctor or midwife will check your baby's bottom to ensure the opening to his back passage is normal. You will probably be asked if your baby has had a wee or passed a dark-coloured poo (meconium)


Your baby's skin will be checked for birthmarks, including:
  • stork marks (reddish or purple V-shaped marks on the back of his neck)
  • Mongolian spots (a bluish patch of darker pigment, most commonly over the bottom)
  • strawberry marks (raised red areas)
Hands and feet 

The doctor or midwife will check your baby's arms, hands, legs and feet. His fingers and toes will be counted and checked for webbing. 

Your baby's palms will be checked to see if two creases, called palmar creases, run across them. Single palmar creases are less common. However, 10 per cent of the population have one palmar crease on one hand and five per cent have one palmar crease on both hands. 

Single palmar creases are sometimes associated with Down's syndrome. But in the unlikely event of your baby having Down's syndrome, there would be other, clear physical signs

The examiner will look at the resting position of your baby's feet and ankles. This is to check for talipes (clubfoot), where the front half of the foot turns in and down. If your baby has talipes, you may already know due to an ultrasound scan


Your baby's spine will be assessed for straightness. It is quite common for babies to have a tiny dimple at the base of the spine, called a sacral dimple. In most cases this will cause no problems. Occasionally, a deep sacral dimple may indicate a problem with the lower part of your baby's spinal cord. This could affect nerve function in this area. 

If your baby has a deep sacral dimple, he will be checked for other symptoms such as leg weakness, cold and blue feet, and incontinence. 


Your baby's hips will be gently moved to check the stability of his hip joints. These movements include opening his legs wide and then bending and unbending them. If the examiner detects any instability, or clicky hips, further investigations will be performed. 


Your newborn baby has several reflexes such as sucking, rooting and grasping. The doctor or midwife will check these reflexes by watching your baby. But if they are concerned or can't see the reflex, they may encourage your baby to demonstrate it. 

The most commonly tested reflex during the examination is the Moro reflex. Your baby's head is allowed to gently and safely fall for a short distance. He'll then respond by flinging out both arms with his fingers spread and legs outstretched. He may also cry a little. Rest assured your baby will be fine, and his responses are simply showing that all is well. 

What happens after the full examination?

Most babies pass their newborn examinations with flying colours. And when problems are found, they often resolve themselves in time and without any treatment at all. If the doctor or midwife who examines your baby has any concerns, they may decide that further tests and investigations are needed. 

For the few babies who do have problems, there are many benefits to having these identified early on. Though bear in mind that screening tests may not pick up every problem. Your doctor or midwife should give you information about the suspected problem and answer any questions you may have. You should also be offered advice about where to find more information and support. 

The next routine test your baby will have is a heel-prick test before he is a week old. Your midwife will carry out this test. She'll take a tiny amount of blood from your baby's heel. This blood sample will be tested for:
  • An enzyme deficiency, called phenylketonuria (PKU).
  • Cystic fibrosis, which affects the lungs and digestive system.
  • MCADD, a rare condition that affects the way the body converts fat into energy.
  • Sickle cell disease, a genetic blood disorder.
  • A thyroid deficiency.
Your baby may cry a little when the blood is taken, but he will recover very quickly. 

The next screening test you and your baby will have will be your postnatal check with your doctor. This will take place between six weeks and eight weeks. If you have any concerns about your baby before then, don't hesitate to call your midwife, health visitor or doctor.