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10 questions about your newborn baby's first week

New parents have plenty of questions about newborn babies. Be prepared by talking to your doctor, midwife or health visitor.

Bringing a new baby home is an exciting -- and often overwhelming -- experience. No matter how prepared you are, you are bound to have many questions about your newborn.

It helps if you have some idea of what issues come up and how to deal with them. Before your baby's birth, or before you leave the hospital, go over this list of questions about newborn baby care with your doctor or midwife.

How can I protect my baby from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)/cot death?

Experts in newborn care say the best way to protect babies from SIDS is to always put them down to sleep on their backs.

The Lullaby Trust advises against co-sleeping with a baby if you smoke, drink, take drugs or are very tired, or if your baby was born prematurely or of low birth weight. Parents should never sleep with a baby on a sofa or in an armchair.

Ask your doctor, health visitor or midwife about other steps you can take to reduce your baby's risk.

Will my baby and I bond right away, and what should I do if we don't?

Many parents worry if they are not overwhelmed by adoration at the first sight of their newborn baby. Try to be patient when it comes to bonding. These early days are not easy -- for you or your child -- and it will take a while to get to know each other. Talk to your doctor, health visitor or midwife about what to expect.

When will my newborn have her first physical examination after we leave the hospital? What will happen at that first check-up?

After a baby is born they are given two thorough physical checks. The first full examination should take place within 72 hours of birth (this is usually done before the baby leaves hospital unless, of course, it was a home birth) and the second will be carried out at six to eight weeks. These examinations aim to detect any health conditions or abnormalities, so that further investigations or treatment can be given as soon as possible.

Your baby’s hearing will also be checked soon after birth, while a range of vaccinations are offered at the second check (at about two months). All these checks are carried out by a doctor or nurse who has been specifically trained to do so.

When a baby is around 5 days old your midwife will ask to take a sample of blood from your baby's heel, to test for a number of rare but serious inherited conditions, such as cystic fibrosis. This is known as a blood spot screening test or heel prick test.

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