Congratulations on this wonderful occasion! I am sure that at this moment you are feeling excited, tired and more than a little anxious! All new parents feel exactly the same – and I have put together a few tips to assist you in these first couple of weeks.

Firstly, remember that you are not alone. There are various people that are here to assist:

These include 1) Your Paediatrician and the excellent staff in the rooms. Please call the rooms if there are any concerns that you may have. No question is too frivolous and we are here to assist.

Please remember to make your 6 week appointment as soon as you can to ensure a time that suits you – a tip is to make it as early as possible as our timekeeping can get worse as the day progresses depending on the emergencies that arise.

2) Your local clinic and/or antenatal nursing sisters.

3) Postnatal ward at Morningside clinic.

4) Emergency Unit at Morningside clinic.

The baby’s first check up – unless you have cause for concern- is at 6 weeks. And this is also the time for first vaccination after discharge. (The first vaccine is done at birth).

You are welcome to vaccinate wherever you feel comfortable – and although we offer it in the practice, you are not obliged to do so. All government clinics offer the service free of charge – as do the private clinics and most pharmacies. In addition, many sisters do home visits if you would like to do them in your own home.

I will see your baby for regular check ups at 6 weeks, 6 months and at 1 year – and once a year thereafter until the age of 5. However you are welcome any time inbetween should there be a concern.

Please remember that ALL babies are to be transported in a car seat – no matter how small.

Jaundice is very common. Because artificial light can enhance the yellow look, assess your baby in the natural light. If he or she looks yellow, please make contact with your clinic sister or with our rooms so that we can advise how best to check this. In many cases, jaundice can be treated in the comfort of your own home.

And finally, in healthy breastfed babies of well nourished mothers, there is little risk of vitamin deficiencies- and the need for vitamin supplementation is rare. The possible exception to this is Vitamin D in babies who are not exposed to sunlight. South Africa is not short on sun so please ensure that your baby is exposed to about 30 minutes of sunlight per week – in his nappy! Ultraviolet B rays (which help produce Vitamin D in the skin) are at their highest between 10am and 2pm so this is the best time. Do it at 10AM or 2PM . However, sun BURN is bad so please make sure that he does not spend more than 10 minutes at a time!

I hope this newborn period runs smoothly for you – it passes quickly so try and enjoy it as much as possible. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you are concerned.

Remember that your little one has been inside a pitch black cave and couldn’t see, could hear very little and could move even less for almost 40 weeks! Consider the first 3 months as the ‘fourth trimester’ of your pregnancy – and try not to overstimulate the little one. Try and make the surroundings as ‘womb-like’ as possible so that the baby can calmly adjust to extra-uterine life without being overstimulated. He/She has to get used to simple processes like feeding and passing gas – they do not need to be shown Kumon cards from the outset!

Most babies feed every 2 ½  to 4 hours on average, with a longer sleep in the first part of the night. Newborn babies sleep between 14 and 17 hours a day!  Unless your baby is premature, or has a medical problem, try to demand feed as this ensures a baby who is motivated to suck. If the baby is having 6 to 8 wet nappies per day (stool is different), it is likely that there is enough milk, that he is sucking well and thus will be growing well. However, if you are concerned, please bring him in for a weight check.


Please ensure a safe sleep environment for your little one. Always place your baby on his back to sleep. Not on his stomach or side. Since the American Academy of Paediatrics introduced this in 1992, the rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome has dropped dramatically. Make sure that the bed is clear of stuffed toys, bumper pads, duvets etc. Do not overheat – err on the side of cooler rather than warmer – and please keep him/her away from smokers. Sharing a bedroom is perfectly acceptable but NOT sharing a bed – at least in the first 3 months or so.