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Baby Tips

Your Newborn: The First Few Weeks

by Jennifer Shu, M.D., FAAP
Book Cover Image. Title: Goodnight Moon (Board Book), Author: by Margaret Wise Brown, Margaret Wise Brown, Clement Hurd

Goodnight Moon (Board Book)by Margaret Wise BrownMargaret Wise BrownClement Hurd

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The early days are a time of transition for both you and your baby. You'll be getting to know each other, and your baby will be changing rapidly. The first few weeks will probably consist simply of a lot of eating and sleeping (and diaper changes) but here are some things to keep in mind to help your baby adjust to the surrounding world.


Your baby will be perfectly content with a bare minimum of infant gear (such as a crib, car seat and diapers) but most parents will want to choose other items which can make newborn care a little easier. Baby Bargains by Denise and Alan Fields is full of information and product reviews so you can choose the safest and most cost-effective modern convenience, ranging from nursery furniture, breast pumps, baby monitors, diaper pails and more.


It's never too early to get started with reading to your baby. In fact, many parents I know read to their babies before they were even born. That's because infant hearing develops by the third trimester of pregnancy, and your baby will recognize your voice soon after she is born. You can create a bedtime routine that combines books and snuggling. Babies are often soothed by books with simple phrases and lots of repetition. Consider Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown-a beloved staple in many family libraries.


Sure, it will be many years before your child becomes the star slugger on his baseball team, but once he has some awake time between all that eating and sleeping, you'll want to make sure he has a chance to start "working out." To promote strength and coordination (not to mention avoiding a flat head from safe back-sleeping), put your child on a towel or mat on the floor a few times each day and encourage him to move and stretch.


Your baby will love seeing your smile and hearing you talk to her, so be sure to give her plenty of attention with good eye contact and conversation. When you're not available, you can keep her entertained with a crib mobile that also plays music.  
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Meet Our Expert
Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP
Pediatrician & CNN Health Columnist
Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP, is a mother and practicing pediatrician in Atlanta, Georgia. A frequent guest on national and local television, radio, and web-based programs, she is medical editor in chief of, is the Living Well health expert for, contributes medical information to, and serves on the Parents magazine advisory board.

Dr. Shu also coauthored the award-winning books: Food Fights: Winning the Nutritional Challenges of Parenthood Armed with Insight, Humor, and a Bottle of Ketchup and Heading Home with Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality.

She has chaired the young physicians sections for both the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Medical Association and formerly served as director of the normal newborn nursery at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.
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Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP