Are you having back pain with any of the following?

  • Severe pain, weakness or tingling in your leg(s).
  • Difficulty stopping urination or loss of control of bladder or bowels.
  • Unexplained fever, nausea or vomiting.
  • A history of cancer or unexplained weight loss.

We understand that you are experiencing one or more of the health issues that might be impacting your back pain.

We recommend that you discuss these health issues with your doctor before proceeding with this program.

Once you are cleared by your doctor to do this program, we hope it helps you find relief from your back pain.

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Infants and Toddlers

As a parent of a baby or toddler, you may have many questions about your young ones’ development. Whether your questions are about safety, nutrition, growth, development, or sleeping through the night, we’re here to help.

Overview

After your baby is born, the first few weeks at home are exciting, but they can also bring big adjustments. You will be busy caring for and getting to know your new baby.

You might feel a little overwhelmed at first and have questions, especially if you have not spent much time around babies.

The good news is that you are not alone. We can help you learn to:
  • Feed, bathe, and soothe your newborn.
  • Change diapers.
  • Care for the umbilical cord and circumcised penis.

We look forward to supporting you and getting to know your new baby.

Basic Newborn Care

You might feel nervous when bringing your newborn home for the first time. Remember that your most important job right now is taking care of your baby. You also need to take care of yourself, as you recover from giving birth and adjust to being new parents. Creating an attachment with your baby is important for his or her emotional health and physical growth. To bond with your newborn:

  • Hold your baby often. Your warmth and familiar smell are comforting.
  • Cuddle your baby skin-to-skin (shirts off). This helps keep your baby warm and close and can help with breastfeeding.
  • Gently massage your baby.
  • Talk, sing, and read to your baby. It is never too early to read aloud. Your baby enjoys the sound of your voice.
  • Try to limit visitors and other activities during these first few weeks.

Soothing a Crying Baby

Crying is the only way that your baby can communicate. You teach your newborn to trust you when you respond to his or her cries. 

Babies who are held regularly and responded to quickly tend to cry less often. Do not worry about holding your baby too much. It is not possible to “spoil” an infant.

Expect your baby to cry for up to 2 to 3 hours each day. Most babies have a period of fussiness in the late afternoon or evening each day. 

To soothe your baby, try the following:

  • Wrap your baby snugly in a soft blanket (swaddle). 
  • Hold your baby close to your body while rocking or walking.
  • Play white noise from a CD, fan, or air purifier. 

Reasons for crying. It is stressful to hear your baby cry. A baby sometimes cries because he or she is:

  • Hungry
  • Wet (diaper)
  • Tired
  • Overstimulated

At other times, your baby may cry for unknown reasons. 

Continued crying. Crying is normal, but it can be upsetting. If you have tried everything and your baby is still crying, it is okay to:

  • Put your baby down in a safe place and let him or her cry for a few minutes before you try soothing again. 
  • Ask a friend or relative to watch the baby while you take a break.

If your baby cries for more than 3 hours each day or if you are having a hard time managing your feelings, please call us for help while a trusted adult stays with your baby.

Helping Your Baby Sleep

A newborn sleeps a total of 16 hours each day, in chunks of around 2 to 4 hours at a time.

Newborns sometimes mix up their days and nights. This means that your baby may sleep longer during the day and remain alert at night. 

To reverse your newborn’s sleepy time:

  • Use low light, such as a nightlight, or no light at night.
  • Avoid talking to or playing with your baby during nighttime feedings. 
  • Try to keep your baby awake a little longer during the day by talking and playing.

By age 3 months, some babies begin sleeping between 6 and 8 hours each night before waking. Others are still sleeping in shorter stretches.

There are many books available that give advice about babies and sleep. Talking with other parents can also help. 

If you are concerned about your baby’s sleep patterns, we can discuss strategies to help everyone get more sleep at night. 

Safe sleeping 

For your infant to sleep safely:  

  • Always place your baby on his or her back to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  • Avoid placing soft objects and loose bedding in the crib. This includes blankets, pillows, bumper pads, stuffed animals, and sheepskins. 
  • Change the position of your baby’s head each night (from left to right and right to left) to prevent a flat spot from forming on the head. 

For more recommendations on safe sleeping, please review the information on preventing SIDS.

Additional References:

Bathing and Cord Care

It usually takes around 2 to 4 weeks for your baby’s umbilical cord stump to heal. Give your baby a sponge bath during this time and avoid placing the navel area under water.

In the beginning, it is not necessary to bathe your baby every day. We recommend giving your baby a sponge bath 1 to 3 times each week. Most important, keep the diaper area clean.

To give your baby a sponge bath

  • Undress your baby in a warm room on a flat surface.
  • Use plain warm water on a clean washcloth to carefully wipe your baby’s nose, ears, and face.
  • Gently wipe your baby’s eyes from the inside corner out.

Umbilical stump area:

  • Keep rinsing the washcloth while you clean your baby.
  • Carefully pat the stump dry or fan it to air dry the area. Never rub the stump or navel area.
  • Avoid using rubbing alcohol to clean the stump, unless we specifically recommend that you do so.

Use gentle soap to wash the rest of your baby’s body:

  • Apply baby shampoo to wash your baby’s hair.
  • Use a small amount of soap to wash inside the creases under the arms, behind the neck, and around the genital area.
  • Rinse soap out of the washcloth. Gently wipe the remaining soap off of your baby’s body and head. 
  • Pat your baby dry with a soft towel or blanket.

After your baby’s navel area heals, bathe him or her 2 to 3 times each week in 2 to 3 inches of lukewarm bathwater. Your baby’s sensitive skin may become too dry if bathed more often.

Wet babies can be slippery. Use your forearm to support your baby’s back and neck. Keep at least one hand on your baby at all times.

Never leave a baby alone in the bath, even a baby bathtub filled with very little water. Wrap your baby up and take him or her with you if you must leave the room. 


Diapering and Circumcision Care

Expect your baby to use about 10 diapers every day, or about 70 diapers a week.

Each time your baby wets a diaper or has a bowel movement, change the diaper immediately to prevent diaper rash.

For a girl, be sure to wipe from front to back (from urethra to rectum area) to prevent urinary tract infection.

For a boy, have the new diaper ready, as exposure to the air may make him urinate while you are changing the diaper.

If your baby is circumcised

When you change your baby boy’s diaper, take a moment to care for his circumcised penis to prevent infection.

During each diaper change:

  • Gently wipe the penis tip clean with warm water. 
  • Apply petroleum jelly as directed, depending on how recently he had his circumcision. 
  • If stool (poop) gets on the tip of the penis, use a washcloth to drip a little warm water over it. Do not scrub or rub the area.

If your son has a plastic circumcision ring around the end of his penis, simply apply petroleum jelly to the area with each diaper change. No other care is needed.

Understanding Newborn Poop

Babies vary in how many bowel movements they have. It is normal for a baby to have a bowel movement (poop) every other day, while some babies will move their bowels 5 times each day. 

The stools are usually mustard yellow in color but could also be green or brown. For more information, see Eat, Pee, Poop, Repeat.

Call us if you are concerned about a change in your baby’s bowel movements. 

Additional References:

Feeding Your Baby

For the first few weeks, a newborn must be fed every few hours to stay hydrated and get enough nutrition to grow normally.

Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby. It offers many health benefits for both mother and baby. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, breast milk is the only food that your baby will need during the first 6 months of life. We recommend that, if you are able to do so, you continue to breastfeed your baby for the first year.

We recommend that you feed your baby “on demand,” or when he or she appears hungry. The more often you feed your baby, the more milk your breasts produce.

  • For the first few weeks, newborns need to eat every 1½ to 3 hours during the day and night.
  • Each feeding may last from 15 to 60 minutes, depending on whether your baby is awake and hungry or feels sleepy. 

If your newborn does not awaken to nurse, wake him or her up to breastfeed every 2 to 4 hours. Your baby should feed 8 to 12 times within every 24 hours. 

Feeding frequency is measured from the beginning of one feeding to the beginning of the next feeding. For more information, see our series of articles on Breastfeeding.

It may take some time and practice before you and your baby learn to successfully breastfeed. We are here to help when needed. If your concerns are immediate, or you simply prefer to use the telephone, please call our Appointment and Advice line, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Bottle Feeding

Some mothers are not able to breastfeed their babies. Others may choose not to nurse. In these cases, infant formula will provide a baby with important nutrients.

Babies digest formula more slowly than breast milk, so an infant may need fewer feedings than a baby who nurses. 

Bottle feeding requires organization and preplanning so that you have enough clean bottles and formula on hand. You will need to:

  • Feed your baby about 2 to 3 ounces of formula at each feeding. In time, you will respond to your baby’s cues of whether he or she is still hungry or full. Follow our specific instructions if your baby has a special feeding plan.
  • Throw away any formula that has not been refrigerated for 1 hour or longer. 
  • Avoid using formula that was in the baby’s bottle but not finished during the last feeding. 

Warm formula by holding the bottle under warm running water or setting it in a bowl of warm water. Do not heat up formula in a microwave, as this can easily burn your baby’s mouth and throat.

Burping

Whether you breastfeed or use formula, try burping your baby when he or she is gassy or fussy during feedings. Burp your baby after every:

  • Five to 10 minutes of breastfeeding
  • One half to 1 ounce of formula

Burping creates the opportunity for a baby to allow swallowed air to escape from the stomach. If your baby does not have any swallowed air, you will not hear a burp.

Some babies occasionally spit up. As long as your baby is feeding and growing well, frequent spitting up does not necessarily mean anything is wrong or needs to be done.

For more information, see Spit-Up and Gas: What’s Normal?

Newborn Appearance

You may notice some of these common, normal characteristics. They will go away on their own within the first few weeks after birth without any treatment.  

Head shape. Many newborns have a cone-shaped head from passing through the birth canal. Your baby’s head should become round after a few weeks.

Soft spot. All newborns have a soft spot (fontanel) on the top of the head and sometimes upper back of the head. It is normal for the spot to vary in size.

In the beginning, you might notice that the soft spot moves with your newborn’s heartbeat or breathing. It should completely close by the time your baby is 18 to 24 months old.

Swollen breasts, labia, and scrotum. A newborn often has swollen breasts and labia or scrotum as a result of exposure to its mother’s hormones before birth. The swelling goes away in a few weeks. The labia and scrotum may also be a darker color but will lighten over time.

Vaginal discharge. Many female babies have white milky discharge and sometimes slightly bloody discharge. 

These appearances are normal and a result of naturally occurring high levels of circulating hormones in the womb. 

Skin Appearance

Skin conditions are common after your baby is born. Most are harmless and go away on their own over time. 

Blotchy red skin. Most newborns develop blotchy red skin that comes and goes within the first few weeks. No treatment is needed.

Bumps. Some babies develop tiny pearly white bumps called milia on their faces. Milia are often noticeable on the nose. Avoid scrubbing or squeezing the bumps. Milia are normal and go away in a few weeks. 

Acne. Your baby might develop acne from exposure to certain hormones that were present before birth. Avoid using acne treatments and lotions on your baby’s sensitive skin. Acne goes away on its own in a few weeks. 

Dry skin. Dry peeling skin is also common within the first few weeks after birth. Avoid using lotions and creams on your newborn’s sensitive skin, which may do more harm than good.

Vernix. Your baby may be born with a white coating called vernix. Before birth, this cheesy coating protects your baby’s skin from amniotic fluid. 

Birthmarks

Many babies are born with reddish marks around the forehead, eyes, or back of the neck (stork bites). These birthmarks usually fade over the first 2 years.

Some newborns are born with a dark blue mark on their lower backs or buttocks (Mongolian spot). This mark usually fades, although some children carry the spot into adulthood.

Call us if you notice a birthmark changing or growing.

Common Features

Some common newborn behaviors and features can worry new parents, although most are quite normal. If you are concerned, call the appointment and advice line anytime. 

Hiccups. It is normal for a newborn to frequently get the hiccups. Try changing your infant’s position or get him or her to burp or relax. When hiccups continue longer than 5 to 10 minutes, try feeding your baby for a few minutes to stop them.

Sneezes. Newborns regularly sneeze to naturally clear nasal and airway passages. Sneezing usually does not mean that your baby is getting sick. 

Startle reflex (Moro reflex). In response to a loud noise or sudden movement, your baby might cry and extend his or her legs and arms and arch the back. Try swaddling your baby to make him or her feel more secure.

Crossed eyes. A newborn can see but probably does not focus well at first. Your baby might appear cross-eyed for about the first 6 weeks until his or her eye nerves and muscles finish developing. This is normal.

Breathing sounds. Most newborns have irregular breathing patterns with occasional pauses in breathing. Newborns prefer to breathe through their noses, not their mouths. If your baby makes a whistling sound, try cleaning out the nose with a soft rubber bulb syringe.

Common Newborn Conditions

Your newborn may experience several common issues in the first few months after birth. Be sure to call us about any ongoing conditions or those that concern you.

Colic. Some babies have regular episodes of crying that begin around the same time each night and last a few minutes to a few hours. It is difficult to soothe a baby with colic. Colic can be upsetting but usually stops on its own within 3 months.

For more information about home treatment methods, see Colic. 

Cradle cap. Your baby might develop thick scaly patches on the head called cradle cap. These are harmless, and there is usually no need to treat cradle cap, as it goes away on its own within a few months. 

You may try a home treatment method, such as:

  • Apply mineral oil to the scalp for 1 hour before bath time.
  • Wash your baby’s scalp with a gentle, mild shampoo once a day.
  • Use a soft toothbrush to loosen the patches before rinsing the shampoo off the scalp.

Eye discharge. If your infant has any discharge from the eyes, carefully wipe the eyes with warm water and a clean, soft washcloth.

Conditions That Need Treatment

Some newborns develop common conditions that need medical treatment.

Jaundice. This common newborn condition causes the skin and the whites of the eyes to appear yellow. We routinely check newborns for jaundice. 

We encourage you to continue watching for signs of jaundice during the first few weeks after birth. If not treated, significant jaundice can become a serious health problem. 

Eye infection. Call us if you notice signs of an eye infection in your baby, including:

  • Swollen eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Yellowish discharge from the eyes

Thrush. This is a common yeast infection that grows inside a baby’s mouth on the cheeks, gums, and tongue. The white patches do not come off when you gently rub them. 

Your baby may refuse to eat and may also develop a diaper rash due to the yeast. 

A nursing mother may develop a yeast infection on her nipples. Signs include red scaly nipples and shooting pains through the breast during or after nursing. 

Call us if you think you or your baby has thrush.

Cold Symptoms

Your baby may develop symptoms of a common cold the first few weeks or months after birth.

Nasal congestion. Many babies make noise when breathing. Your baby is fine if he or she is able to breastfeed or bottle-feed without choking. If not, try to clear up the congestion by using saline drops or a cold-mist humidifier:

Purchase saline drops at your local drugstore or make your own:

  • Mix 1/4 teaspoon salt with 8 ounces of water.
  • Place 3 to 4 drops in one nostril.
  • Suction that nostril with a soft rubber bulb syringe.
  • Repeat on the other nostril.

A cold-mist humidifier may help your baby breathe easier:

  • Avoid adding anything to the humidifier. 
  • Avoid using rubs or patches on your baby.

Cough. Call us if your baby is younger than 1 month old and develops a cough.

If your infant is older than 1 month old with a cough, use a cold-mist humidifier to help make breathing easier.

When to Call Us

Call us right away if your newborn:

  • Develops a cough.
  • Develops a fever of 100.4°F or higher.
  • Makes a raspy sound or the voice becomes deeper.
  • Appears to have fast, labored breathing.

If it is after clinic hours, call the Appointment and Advice line, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Call 911 or seek urgent care if your baby has difficulty breathing.

Call Us about Umbilical Cord Care

It is normal for the umbilical cord stump to change from yellow to brown or black. Once it darkens, it should fall off on its own. Avoid pulling or tugging at the umbilical cord to remove it. 

Watch for the following signs of infection around the umbilical cord stump:

  • Redness and swelling
  • Warm, tender skin 
  • Bleeding, with more than a few drops of blood
  • Yellowish or pus-filled drainage
  • Foul smell

Call us immediately if you suspect that your baby is developing an umbilical cord stump infection. 

If your baby’s umbilical cord stump does not fall off within 4 to 8 weeks, let us know.

Call Us about Circumcision Care

A circumcised penis should begin to heal within a few days after the procedure. Most boys take 5 to 10 days to heal.

If a plastic ring is placed around the head of the penis, it should fall off on its own within 4 to 10 days. You might notice that a brownish black crust forms as the penis heals, which is normal.

Call us immediately if you notice: 

  • Spots of blood in the diaper larger than a quarter
  • Redness, pain, or swelling that gets worse instead of better
  • Pus-filled blisters
  • Fever of 100.4°F or greater
  • Yellow crusts that last longer than 7 days

Your Child's Care with Me

While you are in the hospital

If your baby is in your room, you will have the support of our well baby team, which includes bedside nurses, lactation consultants, and nurse practitioners and physicians.

If your baby is in the nursery, our team of physicians will be visiting your child at least once a day, typically in the morning.

There is always a pediatric hospital medicine physician on duty who can speak with you if you have questions at any time. Your child’s bedside nurse can coordinate that discussion with us.

Please note that the doctor who sees your baby in the hospital is a specialist who works mainly in the hospital. Once your baby is ready to go home, we can help you choose a doctor or practitioner for your baby to see regularly. 

Contacting Me

Once you return home 

If you are at home and you have questions or concerns please contact our Appointment and Advice line, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our advice nurses can give you immediate advice, and our telephone staff can send a message to your child’s primary care doctor or nurse practitioner, or schedule an appointment for your child.

Depending on your child’s symptoms and medical history and your preferences, the nurse may:

  • Provide advice about how to care for your child at home.
  • Offer you a telephone or video appointment
  • Make an appointment for your child to be seen in person

If your child is experiencing an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.

Coordinating Your Child's Care

Having all of our Kaiser Permanente departments located together or nearby, including pharmacy, laboratory, radiology, and health education, makes getting care for your child easier.

Another major benefit is our comprehensive electronic medical record system, which allows all of the doctors and clinicians involved in your child’s care to stay current on your child’s health status and to collaborate with each other as appropriate.

When every member of the health care team is aware of all aspects of your child’s condition, care is safer and more effective.

While your child is in the hospital

I will work closely with your bedside nurse and patient care coordinator to improve your child’s health and plan for a safe discharge. We will also inform you of your child’s care plan. If you notice your child is having symptoms that concern you while in the hospital, please inform me or one of the hospital staff immediately.

If other specialty care is needed during your child’s hospital stay, I may contact one of my specialty colleagues and discuss your child’s care with them.

After your child is discharged, his or her care will be handed over to the primary care pediatrician (PCP).

If I prescribe medications

During your child’s hospital stay, we will work together to monitor and assess how your child’s medications are working and make adjustments over time. Before you leave, we will go over each new medication, how to help your child take it, and when/if to stop the medication.

At time of discharge, all medications are picked up at the discharge pharmacy. 

If refills are needed in the future, you can:

  • Order them online or by phone. Order future refills from your child’s PCP’s home page or by phone using the pharmacy refill number on your prescription label. 
  • Have them delivered to you by mail at no extra cost. Or you can pick up your child’s medications at the pharmacy. 
  • If no refills remain when you place your order, the pharmacy will contact your child’s PCP regarding your prescription.
If further lab testing or imaging is needed

For lab tests, I will use our electronic medical record system to send the requisition to the Kaiser Permanente laboratory in the hospital. For imaging procedures, such as X-rays, we will send your child to the Radiology Department, or in some cases, have the study completed while your child remains in his or her bed. 

We will review pertinent results of studies with you either on morning rounds or as the results become available. 

If I refer your child to a specialist

My specialty colleagues are readily available to assist me if I need additional advice about your child’s condition. In some cases, I may contact them during your child’s hospital stay, so we can discuss your child’s care together. 

After the hospital stay

Once your child is discharged from the hospital, he or she will have a follow-up visit with his or her pediatrician. You may also receive a follow-up phone call from one of the hospital staff to see how your child is progressing.

Convenient Resources for You

As your child’s specialist, I have a goal to provide high-quality care and to offer you choices that make your child’s health care convenient. I recommend that you become familiar with the many resources we offer so that you can choose the services that work best for you.

My Doctor Online is available to help you manage your family’s care at any time that is most convenient for you. You can also learn how to coordinate care for the ones you love from your pediatrician’s home page. 

Manage your family’s health

Take a few minutes to set up access to act on your child’s behalf. Then, you can use your pediatrician’s home page to:

  • View and compose secure e-mail messages.
  • Manage your child’s prescriptions and refills.
  • Schedule well visit and nonurgent appointments.
  • View your child’s Preventive Services to see whether your child is due for any immunizations or well visits.
  • If your child is under 12, you can also view most lab test results and review information about past visits.

If you need help doing the things listed above, check the “Learn How” page. From there, you can learn tips and tricks on how to manage your child’s health conveniently.

Learn more about your child’s condition
  • Read about causes, symptoms, treatments, and procedures.
  • Find interactive health tools, videos, and podcasts to help you manage your child’s condition.
  • View programs to help you decide on or prepare for a surgery or procedure.
Help your child stay healthy
  • Sign up for our online newsletters for parents, customized to your child’s age.
  • Locate health education classes and support groups offered at our medical center.
  • Explore interactive programs, videos, and podcasts that focus on helping you keep your child healthy.
  • View your child’s Preventive Services to see whether he or she is due for any immunizations or a well visit (checkup).

Related Health Tools:

Interactive Programs
Newsletters
Videos

See more Health Tools »

If you have an emergency medical condition, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. An emergency medical condition is any of the following: (1) a medical condition that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain) such that you could reasonably expect the absence of immediate medical attention to result in serious jeopardy to your health or body functions or organs; (2) active labor when there isn't enough time for safe transfer to a Plan hospital (or designated hospital) before delivery, or if transfer poses a threat to your (or your unborn child's) health and safety, or (3) a mental disorder that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity such that either you are an immediate danger to yourself or others, or you are not immediately able to provide for, or use, food, shelter, or clothing, due to the mental disorder. This information is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of specific medical advice or care you receive from your physician or other health care professional. If you have persistent health problems, or if you have additional questions, please consult with your doctor. If you have questions or need more information about your medication, please speak to your pharmacist. Kaiser Permanente does not endorse the medications or products mentioned. Any trade names listed are for easy identification only.

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