Parents’ Corner with Dr. Vogel

Released: 10/28/21

John Vogel, D.O.

John Vogel, D.O., answers commonly asked questions regarding newborns. Dr. Vogel is a Mayo Clinic Health System family medicine & obstetric physician at Winneshiek Medical Center. Call 563-382-2911 to make an appointment.

Why does my newborn need to sleep on his/her back?
This prevents SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The sleep surface should be firm, and loose bedding and soft objects should be removed. SIDS can happen anytime in the first year but is highest from age 2 to 6 months. Once your baby starts rolling over in their sleep on their own, you do not need to roll them back. It is also import to stop swaddling your baby once they start to try to roll.

What do you consider as “sleeping through the night?”
They will be older when they “sleep through the night”, but that term is widely variable. Some patients tell me their baby sleeps through the night if they sleep for 6 hours uninterrupted. Others say they have reached that point when they sleep 11-12 hours straight. Many babies do not sleep 6 hours at 6 or even by 12 months even though the majority do. It is still developmentally appropriate even if they wake frequently, and there are no long term developmental differences between babies who wake frequently and those who “sleep through the night.”

Is it normal for my baby to sweat at night, while asleep?
It can be normal for babies to sweat, especially at night. Their bodies are still maturing and have difficulty regulating temperature. It is also common to overdress them for sleep, so if removing layers solves the problem, there is nothing else to day. However, there are several medical problems that can cause sweating. One is infection, which in the first month of life, can be severe and even life-threatening. If you feel like your baby is warm, take a temperature (preferably rectal), and if it is over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, they should be evaluated. If they are less than 1 month with a fever, that should be the same day in the Emergency Department. Other warning signs include poor feeding, weight loss, cyanosis (blue tint to the skin), and breathing problems. If any of these are present with sweating, they should be seen for further evaluation. If they sweat but don’t have a fever and are feeding and breathing well, it is safe to keep them at home and just monitor.

Should I wake my newborn to feed?
All babies lose weight initially, so it is important to wake your newborn to feed in the first weeks of life. Until your baby has reached their birth weight, it is recommended to wake them every 3-4 hours to feed. Most babies reach their birth weight by 2 weeks of age. Although, your child should have an appointment around this time and at this appointment your primary care provider can discuss this topic with you to determine the best option for you and your baby.

When can my baby begin eating solid foods? Which ones are best to introduce first?
Your baby can begin eating solid foods between 4 and 6 months of age. It is best to talk to your doctor before initiating to ensure they have the proper head and neck control to introduce solid foods. There are many ways to introduce solid foods into your baby’s diet, but I am a proponent of Baby Led Weaning. It allows the baby to eat real food, not just purees. This hopefully fosters an early love of many fruits and vegetables of varying sizes, tastes, and textures. It has a bit of a learning curve up front for parents on how to cut and prepare various foods to prevent choking, but once you get the hang of it, it is easier, healthier, and more fun. It may even get adults to eat more fruits and vegetables too, and that is something sorely lacking from the diet of most parents! There are lots of books, websites, podcasts, and videos to help you along the way.

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