Your Newborn: An Adventure

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You've just had one of the most amazing, exciting, and overwhelming experiences of your life: you've had a baby. A newborn infant brings an abundance of joy into your home and your life, but also brings with it lack of sleep, constant cleaning, feelings of inadequacy, and never-ending responsibility.
An infant newborn is a fascinating creature, one that emerges whole and (hopefully) healthy, and is at the starting point of a brand new life. But protecting that life must begin immediately.
First off, parents must keep in mind the scary news: an infant newborn is considered a child less than 28 days old, and during this 28 days, there is the greatest risk of dying. Some things that may cause infant death are infections, problems with feeding, and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Along with these frightening concerns, there is also the potential for the mother to develop post-partum depression, making it difficult for her to care for the child.
The parent will notice immediately the fascinating proportions of the infant newborn. For instance, the head seems enormous compared to the rest of the body, and at the top of the head is the "fontanel," which is an open space between the cranial bones that will close and develop as the child grows older. Size and weight of infant newborns vary enormously, so don't feel inferior if your next door neighbor's baby is much bigger than yours. You might also notice fine downy hair that covers the baby's body; this is known as "lanugo" and will dissipate rather rapidly. Finally, there are the umbilical cord remains, which are often of concern to new parents: is it the right size, shape, and color? When will it fall off? Does it hurt to touch? The answers: most umbilical cord scabs are purplish gray in color, they will usually disappear in a couple of weeks, and no, it doesn't hurt to touch unless the parent tries to remove it themselves!

Now that the scary and more physical issues are out of the way, time to focus on what to expect out of your infant newborn. Newborns come into the world equipped immediately with some very fundamental abilities: they are able to suck (thereby receiving necessary nutrition), they can lift and turn their heads when on their backs, they can clench and unclench their fists, and their necks are able to support their heads when held or pulled into a sitting position. They are also able to grasp your finger—an ability that fascinates and delights any new parent.
Armed with this basic knowledge, parents should begin feeling more comfortable and capable for caring for their new baby…and therefore have more time to simply delight in who they are!

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