Babies are fragile, and need to be handled carefully. There are certain things all new parents should be aware of, like information regarding their vaccinations, how to give proper support to the baby's head or how often to feed them. Pediatricians guide parents to choose what is best for kids. They escort them through the daunting early days and help get the child back in form when they are feeling less than well.
Because of mom’s state of mind, pediatricians might prefer to skip little details here and there. A scientific reason behind this is the post-pregnancy mood swings. “Mood swings are perfectly normal post-pregnancy,” says Hilda Hutcherson, M.D., an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, in New York City. "After giving birth, women experience dramatic changes in hormone levels, which drastically affect their moods."
Feeling high, low or insecure all in the course of the day is normal and a pediatrician identifies and comprehends that absolutely well. Though first-time moms keep stressing about the baby, pediatricians make sure they don't leave out any essential information that would impact the wellness of the child. Here are 20 little details pediatricians forget to tell first-time moms.
20 Breastfeeding May Not Be Easy to Establish
Breastfeeding isn’t simple and can be quite stressful. Getting up from your sleep to feed the child could be trying especially if it's your first experience. Switching to the formula would be a healthy option which in some cases the pediatrician may recommend it. Lactation experts are a beneficial source to new moms.
"Having an expert with you from the beginning to help you learn about latching, positioning, and milk supply -- and to boost your confidence -- can make the difference between a beautiful breastfeeding experience and giving up," says Giuditta Tornetta, a doula, lactation educator, and author of Painless Childbirth.
19 Don’t Give Water to Newborns
Giving water to a baby isn’t a good idea. Babies don’t need extra hydration that water would provide because all hydration requirements are met through formula or breastmilk even in hot and humid weather. Also, water can fill their tiny bellies, making it tougher for babies to get the nutrition that is necessary for them.
"Water is not recommended for infants under six months old because even small amounts will fill up their tiny bellies and can interfere with their body's ability to absorb the nutrients in breastmilk or formula," says Deborah Malkoff-Cohen an MS, RD, CDN, CDE, a pediatric dietitian.
18 Don’t Give Cow's Milk to Newborns
Avoid giving cow’s milk to babies for the first twelve months because as compared to formula milk, cow’s milk is not easily digested by them. Cow’s milk contains high proteins and minerals that can cause stress to newborn’s immature kidneys and it can cause health issues, like upset tummy or fever.
Cow’s milk lacks in proper quantity of iron, vitamin C and other nutrients that are essential for babies. Some babies may lack iron, as the proteins in cow’s milk can aggravate the lining of the stomach and intestine which may lead to various tummy troubles.
17 Give Fruit Juice After 6 Months
Once babies are six months, fruit juice can be given to diversify their food intake. Diluted juices are easier on their tummy. Initially begin with one fruit juice so that their digestive system gets used to it. Stewed boiled apple juice and pear juice is good for babies.
Excessive intake of fruit juices can lead to weight gain due to the large amounts of sugar and calories. If fed in large quantity without much solid food intake, water or milk it can lead to undernourishment. Undernourishment during the first year of birth can affect the child's body, mind, and cognitive skills development.
16 How To Supplement With Formula
Breastmilk is the best diet for babies. Breastmilk that keeps babies well fed should not be supplemented with formula. But for some reasons, if your breastfeeding is not going well you can consider supplementing with formula. Supply of your milk depends on your baby’s demand for it.
Less nursing leads to less milk production in the chest. Your milk supply is less affected when you supplement with one or two bottles a week. If you begin supplementing with formula often then your milk supply will diminish and you will be forced to switch to the formula on regular basis.
15 How To Start Baby on Solids
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you start your child on solids between 4 to 6 months. However, this depends upon when your baby is actually ready for it. Signs like sitting upright, holding up his head, food curiosity, losing the extrusion reflex show that your baby is ready for baby food.
For breastfed babies, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests meat as the first food because the iron in meat helps to replace her iron stores which diminish at the age of 6 months. Pureed sweet potato, applesauce, bananas etc are some good options for solid foods for your baby.
14 How To Handle Reflux and Burping in Babies
First-time moms need to learn to do things in a particular way for their baby. Burping is an important part of feeding. It’s a process that helps the baby to get rid of the air it swallows during the feed. It's important to burp the baby after every feed whether bottle or breastfeeds.
Failing to burp the baby after each feed leads to swallowing too much of air that makes the baby cranky, spit up or gassy causing pain, aches and bloating in the stomach. Different positions for burping are sitting upright and holding the baby against the chest, holding the baby sitting up in your lap or across your knee and laying the baby on your lap on his or her belly.
13 Track Your Baby’s #2s
Some babies may poop once or twice a week while others do it after every feed. Track your baby’s poop. Is it soft? Hard and dry poop means your baby is constipated and needs assistance on getting the pooping process back. Poop that is filled with mucus, water or red could be a sign of infection or allergy.
Formula fed babies poop less than breastfed because their stool moves through the intestine slowly. Breastfed babies poop is yellow speckled with seeds like mustard. They poop for 6 to 10 times a day. Formula fed babies have greenish or tan yellowish poop.
12 Practical Diapering Advice
Parents of a newborn spend a lot of time changing diapers. While diapering your child never keep him/her unattended for a second. Make sure you have all the supplies like a diaper, diaper wipes, diaper rash ointment at your disposal. Use baby wipes to wipe your baby.
Clean from front to back to avoid UTIs. Roll down the waistline of the diaper in cases if the umbilical cord hasn't fallen off. This will keep that area dry. Change the diapers regularly and immediately after a bowel movement. Clean the area gently and apply diaper ointment to heal rashes.
11 What To Do About Changing Diapers At Night
It's not necessary to change the diaper every time at night. Until it is extremely wet or your baby has pooped in it. Today’s diapers are well absorbent that they let your baby sleep throughout the night. If they wake up on their own or at feed time you can use this chance to clean them up and change the diaper.
Few things like establishing a routine, changing the diaper at bedtime, applying the rash ointment, using well absorbent diapers, getting the exact diaper size fit for your baby to avoid leakage are to be done for night time diaper changes.
10 What Happens When There Are Too Many Visitors
Having visitors coming to meet your baby is understandable but it has risk factors linked to it. Imagine if any of your visitors who have a cold or allergy, your child being fragile is at high risk of catching the infection. It's okay to say no to visitors and have them visit you after some time.
A study shows that kissing the baby on lips or closer to the mouth can spread viruses. It might seem harmless, but lots of guests bring lots of risks and possible concerns.
9 Don’t Bathe Them So Often
Bathing is something your baby may not like and hence this process is not needed every day. If you quickly change the diaper and burp cloths you are already maintaining the hygiene towards necessary areas like diaper area, face and neck potion. Avoid bathing them immediately after a feed.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends sponge baths if the umbilical cord hasn’t fallen off. It takes a week or two for the umbilical cord to fall off. Keep supplies such as baby shampoo, soap, clothes, diaper, towel at your reach. Ensure that the water in the tub is about two inches and is warm, not hot.
8 Whether or Not to Avoid Scented Massage Oils
Massage is good and relaxes babies. Avoid using perfumed massage oils for the baby who has dry or sensitive skin. Use of vegetable oil such as pure refined sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, can be used to massage your baby. Vegetable or plant-based oils which are absorbed quickly are good for massage.
They are easy to digest when the baby sucks his oiled fingers. Refined oils have a mild smell, thin texture, and longer shelf life. Mineral baby oils, derived from petroleum are safe options. They are harmless when the baby sucks the fingers and are not likely to turn foul in humid and hot weather.
7 The Shape of Their Heads
Newborns have an unusual head shape due to the position of the baby in the uterus during pregnancy or at the time of birth. Baby’s head gets to a normal shape within a span of about 6 weeks after birth. Due to soft bones, the shape of the head changes easily.
Baby’s head gets flattened when the head is in the same position for hours. The AAP recommends infants to lay on their back during sleep. You can also use a wedge pillow, move the baby’s crib, place toys on the opposite side of the crib to keep off the flat side.
6 Baby Dandruff
Dandruff is uncommon and harmless in babies. It’s a mild or un-flamed form of seborrheic dermatitis or seborrhea. It occurs in babies due to overproduction of sebum or skin oil or overgrowth of a fungus called Malassezia which may cause the skin cells on the scalp to shed quickly.
If the skin on your baby’s scalp is scaling it may not necessarily be dandruff, it could be scalp sunburn or cradle scrap. Mild dandruff can be removed by using regular baby shampoo. In case of severe dandruff use medicated shampoo once or twice a week as prescribed by your pediatrician.
5 Soft Spot on the Baby's Head
Soft spots on the head are known as fontanelles. One is at the back of the head and is called posterior fontanelle and the on top of the head is called anterior fontanelle. The posterior fontanelle is tough to feel and closes at 6 weeks as the head bones grow.
The anterior fontanelle can be felt and does not close until the first birthday. Their soft head bone is connected with tissues that change the head shape during birth. Fontanelles give important clues regarding the health like sunken fontanelles may be a sign of dehydration, bulging fontanelles could indicate illness and may require medical treatment.
4 When to Worry about Fever
Fever is a serious issue in babies under 3 months. Checking your baby’s body temperature can help your pediatrician to restore your baby’s health. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that normal body temperature for a healthy baby is between 97 to 100.3 degrees Fahrenheit.
When body temperature exceeds this range, you need to call the doctor to get the baby checked for infection or disease. For babies older than 3 months, check their behavior. If he is playing and taking fluids no need to call the doctor until he has a high fever along with vomiting, diarrhea or a cough.
3 Allowing the Baby to Cry
Allowing the baby to cry is a sleep training method in which the child develops the falling asleep skill on his own. Pediatrician Marc Weissbluth, the author of the popular book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, says that crying may be a necessary part of helping some children develop healthy sleep habits.
Mastering this skill will make him learn to soothe himself at bedtime. This skill is used when he wakes up after a nap or at night time. Babies can’t speak and use crying to communicate. Hence you can’t ignore your crying baby, as you never know what‘s going on with him.
2 Sleep Patterns
Babies sleep ideally up to 16 to 17 hours a day. In many cases, for the first few weeks, babies don’t sleep for more than 2 to 4 hours at a time, be it day or night. Their sleep cycle is short because of their rapid eye movement sleep, which is considered important for the development happening in their brain.
At 6 to 8 weeks of age, most of them begin to sleep for a shorter time in the day and longer time at night. Experts say, 4 to 6 months old babies can sleep for 8 to 12 hours during the night. So, develop a consistent bedtime routine and work towards training your baby to sleep through the night.
1 Crib Safety Measures For Prevention
Babies sleep a lot hence you should create a safe sleep environment for them. According to Rachel Y. Moon, MD, FAAP more than 3,500 babies in the U.S are victims of SIDS. These cases sometimes occur due to the practice of placing things like blankets, cushions, soft toys and pillows in the baby's crib.
Removing such things and placing your baby on his back on a firm mattress can reduce the risk of SIDS Place the crib next to your bed as AAP recommends room sharing reduces the risk by 50% and is safer than co-sleeping or bed sharing.
Source: Parents.com, Parenting-circle.com, Businessinsider.com, Babycenter.com, Parenting.firstcry.com, Mayoclinic.org, Heathychildren.org