Congratulations on becoming a father! Being a new dad will probably be one of the most exciting – and sometimes scary – events of your life.
While parenting is not always easy, with a little guidance, support, and trial and error, you will adjust to fatherhood in no time.
Every new dad should know a few things about babies: how much babies sleep, why babies cry, when babies need checkups, and why dads need checkups too.
1. Babies sleep a lot
Every baby is different; some are better sleepers than others. Newborns need plenty of sleep, so don’t be surprised if your baby seems to be sleeping for most of the day.
Newborns usually sleep for about eight or nine hours during the day and around eight hours at night. A newborn baby can sleep as many as 18 hours a day, in stretches of three to four hours at a time.
2. Crying can mean many different things
Newborns not only sleep a lot, but they cry a lot too! Crying is how babies communicate, so it is up to us as parents to figure out what their crying is trying to tell us.
As you come to know your baby more and more, it will be easier to tell what the cries mean and comfort your baby faster.
These are some things your baby could be trying to communicate when he or she is crying:
- I need my diaper changed.
- I’m hungry.
- I’m bored.
- I’d like some attention.
- That’s too much attention.
- I’m in pain.
- I’m tired.
- I’m waking up.
- I need to poop!
- I’m uncomfortable.
3. Babies need health checkups and immunizations
Babies grow and develop very quickly. It is important for a pediatrician or family doctor to monitor their development at Well Check Exams. Immunizations are included as part of exams, so you don’t have to worry about keeping track of them or missing any.
Vecino Health Centers follows the guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics and recommends that newborns get checkups at the following ages in their first year of life:
- 3-5 days after birth
- 2 weeks
- 1 month
- 2 months
- 4 months
- 6 months
- 9 months
- 12 month
You can talk with your baby’s doctor or nurse about any questions or concerns you have about your baby or being a new parent during the Well Check Exams. Whether the question is about sleeping, crying, eating, peeing, pooping, or anything else, our health care professionals will be happy to help!
4. Your health is important
One of the most important things you can do for your children is to be a good role model by taking care of your own health.
Regular health checkups are as important for you as they are for your baby, but for different reasons. There are important vaccines that you should have when you are around a newborn, such as the one protecting you from whopping cough.
An annual checkup will help you stay healthy and can help detect diseases early, before there are any symptoms, making them easier to treat and manage. Undiagnosed and uncontrolled chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease can lead to complications like heart attack, stroke, kidney damage, and vision loss.
You can model the importance of checkups to your son or daughter right from the start. Schedule a checkup today, and give your children the gift of a dad who cares about his health!