A healthy lifestyle benefits your physical and mental well-being and helps you deal with the demands of parenthood.

Your baby today

Whether you’re breast-feeding or bottle-feeding can have an effect on your baby’s stools. The stools of breast-fed babies tend to be slightly runnier and can have a fairly sweet aroma, while bottle-fed babies may have firmer, stronger smelling stools.

It’s important to eat a well-balanced diet to help you deal with the demands of motherhood. If you’re breast-feeding, you’ll need an extra 500 calories a day. Drink plenty of clear fluids, being careful to limit your caffeine intake. If you were anemic during pregnancy, or had a heavy blood loss after the birth, eat lots of iron-rich foods, such as broccoli or spinach. Foods and drinks rich in vitamin C will help you absorb iron.

If you smoke and didn’t manage to stop during pregnancy, this is an ideal time to try to stop. Ask your doctor to refer you to a local smoking cessation group. Limiting your alcohol intake is also wise, and drinking while breast-feeding isn’t recommended.

Eating a variety of fresh produce will ensure a good intake of vitamins and minerals.

It can be easy to take over your baby’s care, but it’s important that your partner is involved too and doesn’t feel left out. Your partner is adjusting to fatherhood and may have his own anxieties and concerns. Sharing the practical care will help him forge his own bond with the baby. As his confidence grows, you’ll be able to take some time out while he cares for the baby. Keeping the lines of communication open is vital since this is a time of huge change for you both. It takes time to adjust to being a family, but if you work together you’ll manage the transition more smoothly.

You’ll fill out your baby’s birth certificate in the hospital

Your doctor or hospital will file this with the appropriate government agency. You’ll probably also receive paperwork to apply for a Social Security number for your baby, but you can also get the forms at ssa.gov.

Your baby’s diaper: what’s normal and when to worry

The color and consistency of a baby’s stools are highly variable, but most are normal and not a cause for concern. However, some types of stool can indicate a problem and it’s important that you know what to look for. A change in the color of urine or the presence of blood might also alert you to a problem.

What’s normal
  • Once your baby has passed the first dark meconium , stools may become dark green, green-yellow, bright yellow, orange, or brown; all are normal and may vary in the same day.

  • If your baby is breast-fed, stools may be loose and seedy.

  • If your baby is bottle-fed, stools tend to be smooth and firmer.

  • Frequency of stools varies from after every feeding to every 2–3 days.

  • Urine may be yellow or clear.

  • A pink or red-orange stain on the diaper due to urate crystals (which form from concentrated urine); these are common in the first few weeks, especially in breast-fed babies and are nothing to worry about.

What’s not normal
  • White or putty-colored, which could indicate a liver problem.

  • Blood mixed in the stools, which could suggest a milk allergy.

  • Dark urine could be a sign of dehydration or jaundice.

    If you notice any of these signs, ask your doctor for advice.

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