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Congratulations New Parents!

Preparing for your new baby is a very thrilling time of your life and you want to make sure you are doing everything that is best for your child. As most new parents do, you probably have many questions. The pediatricians at Northwest Pediatrics want to help during this wonderful experience.

The information in this section is designed to help you in these early exciting and exhausting weeks while you and your baby are getting acquainted with each other. While this is general information, each infant and family is unique, and our goal is to work together with you to keep your children happy and healthy.

We are honored that you chose us to be your child’s pediatrician. We want to provide the highest quality pediatric care to you and your child. Following is information for newborn care:


Feeding
Feeding is one of your baby’s first pleasant experiences. At feeding time, your baby receives nourishment both from the food and the nourishment of your love.

Both of you should be comfortable. Make sure your baby is warm and dry. Choose a comfortable chair. Hold your baby in your lap, with his head slightly raised and resting in the bend of your elbow. Whether you are breast or bottle-feeding, hold your baby close to your body in a comfortable position.

All newborns lose weight during the first few days regardless of how they are fed. This is a loss of excess fluid and not of body substance. Newborns are saturated with fluid, like a sponge soaked in water. The bigger they are, the more they hold, so to speak. Do not be concerned if your baby loses as much as 10 percent of the birth weight before starting to gain weight.

Some babies are congested at birth or shortly thereafter. Babies are obligate nose breathers, meaning they can only breathe through their nose and not their mouth. If your baby is having trouble feeding because of congestion, place a couple of saline drops in his nostrils and use the aspirator to suction out the nose before feedings.

Breast Feeding
Unquestionably, breast milk is the ideal food for a newborn. It provides the proper nutrients in the right proportions. It offers definite immune benefits, is instantly available and is free. Breast fed babies are less constipated, have less colic and diarrhea, experience fewer colds, ear infections and skin rashes, and are less likely to develop allergic problems. There are very few medical conditions that prohibit breast-feeding.

It is recommended that breast fed babies receive supplemental Vitamin D, which can be found in over-the-counter infant multi-vitamin drops.

How to Nurse

  1. Get comfortable. Lying on your side leaning forward slightly or sitting in a well-cushioned chair are comfortable positions.
  2. There are two positions to hold your baby for breastfeeding. You can hold your baby completely on his side – belly to belly with yours, or you can hold your baby under your arm like a football.
    • For the belly-to-belly position, place your thumb and index finger in a U shape and lift your breast.
    • For the football position, place your thumb and index finger in a C shape and lift your breast.
  3. Tickle the baby’s lips up and down with the nipple until your baby opens his mouth. Be patient and wait until the mouth opens wide. Quickly draw your baby close in to you. You want your baby to suck behind the nipple on the brown area. Sucking on the nipple is painful. If painful nipples persist, be sure you are following this technique.
  4. Hold back the breast from your baby’s nose with your fingers so he can breathe easily while nursing.
  5. You can use both breasts for each feeding, alternating the beginning breast at each feeding; or, you can use one breast for each feeding, alternating the breasts every other feeding.
  6. In general, babies empty a breast in 10 minutes. You may nurse as long as you like on each side, but do not allow the breast-feeding to be used as a pacifier. As time goes by, you will become familiar with the feeling of an empty breast and will change to the other side for the second half of the feeding. Remember, if you have sore nipples, you need to recheck the technique to be sure your baby is not sucking the nipple itself.
  7. When finished, press down gently on the part of the breast next to the corner of your baby’s mouth or gently insert your fingertip into the corner of the mouth, breaking the suction. This allows for gentle removal of the nipple.

How Often to Nurse

  1. Often with the first feeding, the baby is not very wide-awake, hungry or interested. If your baby keeps falling asleep during feedings try to find methods that will wake him up to finish feeding, such as changing his diaper between breasts, undressing him or tickling his feet.
  2. Make every attempt to feed your baby the immune-rich colostrums whenever he is awake. Usually the milk comes in on the third day. Sometimes you won’t even know the milk has come in except for the slurping you hear while your baby is sucking. Your breasts will then begin to feel more comfortable as the milk leaves the breast.
  3. It takes several weeks to establish a stable milk supply. Most babies will want to nurse very frequently. This does not mean you do not have enough milk. The more your baby wants to suck, the more your breasts will be stimulated to produce milk. However, do not nurse your baby more frequently than every 2 hours from the start of one feeding to the start of the next feeding. As babies are able to last longer between feedings, your milk supply will adjust itself to the demand of your baby. Be careful of using frequent formula supplements, as too many of them will decrease the times your baby sucks, thereby decreasing the amount of milk you produce for the next day.
  4. Since the only real stimulus to milk production is emptying the breast, frequent nursing helps build up your milk supply. You can, however, get to a point of diminishing returns if your baby is nursing every hour. Fatigue, tender nipples and shortened filling times may reduce the quality of milk. Talk to your pediatrician if this happens or consult the lactation consultant at your hospital. He or she can be a great source of support and information.

Care of Nipples

  1. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching your nipples.
  2. Wipe nipples with clean water before and after nursing.
  3. Leave bra open and nipples exposed to air for five to 10 minutes after nursing.
  4. Remember, if nipples are sore, the nursing technique needs to be adjusted.

Going Back to Work
Mothers who are returning to work or will be spending time away from their babies can supplement breast-feeding with bottle-feeding. Expressed breast milk or formula can be fed to babies in an infant bottle.

Even though exclusive breast milk feedings have been shown to be ideal, any amount of breast milk is helpful. The breast milk provides immune protection through antibodies, which are not found in formula. Breast milk feedings as little as once a day can be beneficial. Your body and milk production will soon adjust to the level of breast-feeding that you choose.
Some experts believe if you know you will need to supplement when returning to work, it is helpful to offer one bottle per day beginning after your baby is 2 weeks old. This will ensure a good breast-feeding foundation and help your baby be receptive to the bottle when needed. The bottle is often best received when given by a support person other than the baby’s mother. It may also be helpful to give the bottle during the time of the day your baby will receive it when mom returns to work.
For those mothers returning to work it is often recommended to obtain an electric breast pump. These can be rented from hospitals or purchased at baby stores. After the immediate newborn period and when you are sure your baby is gaining weight well, you can begin to express additional breast milk for storage. Also when you return to work you can take your pump with you. Many work places provide mothers time and space to pump at work. Also breast pumps and infant bags have cooling compartments to keep milk cool until you get home. There are also car adapters, which allow for breast pumping in the car (not while driving please).

Storing Breast Milk
After expressing breast milk, it is recommended to store it in a refrigerator for immediate use or in a freezer for later use. If necessary, breast milk can stand at room temperature (66-77° F) for up to 10 hours. Otherwise, if you plan to use the milk within 24 hours you can store it in the refrigerator or cooler bag. If you are storing breast milk for later use you can freeze it in a zero degree freezer for up to six months.

Breast milk can be defrosted in a refrigerator over night or by running it under warm water. Refrain from running the bottle under hot water or heating it in the microwave as some proteins in the breast milk may be destroyed at high temperatures. Once breast milk is thawed, feed it to your baby within 24 hours. Be sure to shake well prior to use to evenly distribute all milk components. Discard any unused milk and never refreeze unused or partially consumed breast milk.

Bottle/Formula Feeding
Another option for infant feeding is infant formula. Formula can be used alone or along with breast-feeding as a supplement. Infant formula companies continue to make advancements in an effort to make formula more close to breast milk. The most recent advance has been the addition of DHA and ARA to formulas. These are acids previously found only in breast milk and are felt to aid in visual development. If you choose to formula feed you can feel comfortable that these products will provide adequate nutrition for your baby.

Formulas come in three forms:

  • Powder -- intended to be mixed with water
  • Concentrate -- liquid formula to be mixed with equal parts water (1:1 ratio)
  • Ready to feed -- a fully prepared formula, which can be opened and fed directly to your baby

It is important to be aware of which type of formula you are using and pay close attention to the mixing instructions. Adding too much water can lead to improper nutrition, while adding too little water can lead to illness.

Formulas are also available in a variety of milk options. Most infants begin with a cow’s milk based formula. There are also soymilk, lactose free and predigested formulas that may be recommended by your pediatrician in different situations. All infant formulas have the same calories, iron and nutrients unless specifically stated. Do not change your infant’s formula without first discussing it with your pediatrician.

It is recommended that formula or breast milk be used the entire first year. Whole milk does not provide adequate iron, vitamins or nutrients and may be irritating to your baby’s stomach.

The amount of formula your baby eats will vary. Newborns generally take between 1 to 3 ounces every 3 to 4 hours. Babies may want to eat more than they need to. This may result in large spit ups. If this occurs feeding your baby smaller amounts more frequently may be helpful. Sometimes your baby may not be as hungry at a given feeding time. He may take less, but will probably make up for it at the next feeding. However, if the decrease in feeding is abrupt or persistent, you should contact us. Your baby’s intake will gradually increase as he grows. Signs that your baby is ready to increase his intake include desire for more to drink after a bottle is complete or a desire to eat again more frequently.

Water
Formula can be mixed with tap water from either the municipal water supply or a safe well. Bottled water may also be used. Well water should be checked before giving it to your baby. If you are unsure of the quality of your water supply, you should not give it to your baby or drink it yourself.

In most cases, it is not necessary to feed an infant additional water. In newborns, water is discouraged because it does not contain any nutrition and can actually fill up the baby. In older babies and in certain circumstances (such as constipation), small amounts of water may be recommended by your pediatrician.

Sterilizing Bottles
Because of improvements in sanitation and municipal water supplies, it is no longer necessary, in most cases, to sterilize your baby’s bottles. Bottles, caps and nipples should be thoroughly cleaned with hot soapy water or washed in an automatic dishwasher. Sometimes the high temperature in the dishwasher will seal the hole in the nipple. If the milk does not flow easily when the bottle is inverted, you should re-puncture the nipple or buy a new one.

Spitting
Spitting can occur because your baby has overeaten or swallowed too much air while vigorously eating. A mouthful or two is not a cause of concern. Some babies who are spitters need special handling after they eat. Instead of putting them in an infant seat, which brings the knees up, putting pressure on the stomach, it sometimes helps to have them stretch out on their backs or sides with the head of the crib slightly elevated. If you do this, put a folded towel or blanket under the mattress, not under your baby. If you are concerned about the amount of spitting or if you think your baby is spitting up most of the feeding every time, then you must bring him in to the office to be weighed and examined. A baby who spits up, but continues to have good weight gain and is not fussing is usually fine.

If the spit up is a large amount, discolored (yellow or green) or projectile (shooting out of the mouth with force), you should contact us.

Burping
Burping is a way of expelling swallowed air. Even though he was fed properly with the nipple always full of milk, a baby sometimes needs a little help in expelling swallowed air.

Hold your baby upright over your shoulder or sitting upright on your lap and gently rub or pat his back. Laying your baby over your lap on his stomach while patting the back is another method.

In the first few weeks, burp your baby after about every five minutes or after every ounce until you learn how often he needs it. Do not worry if your baby does not burp, sometimes there is no burp to be had.


Bowel Movements
Most babies move their bowels by the time they are 48 hours old, but thereafter there is no set schedule. Some babies seem to have a stool after every feeding while others “go” only once every few days. The frequency of stools changes in the first couple of months.

For breast fed babies, initially the stool may be green-black and sticky, but soon becomes the more normal seedy mustard-like stool. Formula fed babies have more of a soft-formed stool one to three times a day.

Grunting Baby
At the end of the second week, some babies will forget to relax the rectal muscles for a bowel movement. They will cry, grunt, strain and turn red in the face and appear to be in pain, just like the constipated baby. However, instead of passing a large firm stool, only the beginning portion is hard and the rest is perfect consistency or even loose.

DO NOT give laxatives, enemas or suppositories without consulting us first. Your baby is not constipated if two or three days go by between movements. Breast fed babies in particular can go for 10 - 14 days between bowel movements. Then they may grunt and strain before producing a soft stool. This is normal.

Diarrhea
Diarrhea is defined as excessively watery stools with little substance remaining on the surface of the diaper, occurring with frequency. If it lasts more than one day, or is becoming more frequent, please call our office.

Diaper Rash
The best approach to the treatment of diaper rash is to:

  1. Remove the diaper and let your baby air dry as much as possible.
  2. Apply an over-the-counter diaper ointment as needed. This provides a barrier between the skin and urine/feces.

If the above suggestions do not seem to clear the rash, a prescription cream or ointment may be necessary. Please call the office to schedule an appointment.


Bathing
Until the cord has fallen off, which usually occurs between the second and fourth week, you should sponge your baby with water or a soapy cloth and water, and rinse well. Once the cord has fallen off, you may bathe your infant in a small tub or basin. Use a foam or cloth liner in the tub to make your baby less slippery. Arrange your supplies nearby so you will not be distracted reaching for things. NEVER leave infants or small children alone in a tub.

You can wash your infant with a baby body wash and baby shampoo. Dove® soap is gentle and non-drying. Avoid strongly scented soaps such as lavender and berry scents for the first few months.

When cleaning the eyes, use a cotton ball and fresh water and gently wipe from the corner of the nose to the outside. When cleaning the nose and ears, clean only what you can see. Do not stick a cotton-tipped applicator in an area you cannot see.
When cleaning an uncircumcised penis, do not try to retract the foreskin. If it slides back easily by itself it can be cleaned, otherwise just clean the outside as you would the rest of the body.

Circumcision
If your baby boy has been circumcised you will need to apply a piece of gauze with Vaseline® or A&D Ointment to keep the diaper from sticking to the healing area, or follow the directions given to you by the obstetrician. If a ring has been left in place, then no Vaseline is needed. When the swelling has gone down, the ring will naturally slide off.
You may notice a small whitish or yellow area of scab during the first week after the circumcision. This is normal and will disappear during the healing process. Please call us if your baby is bleeding, has a discharge, severe inflammation or fever.

Vaginal Care
In utero infants are exposed to maternal hormones. At times, a scant amount of vaginal bleeding may occur as these hormones wear off. This is usually very normal and resolves by itself. This should be mentioned, however, to our office at the first checkup so we can check for any other problems.
Remember to clean in-between the labia, or folds at the sides of the vagina, with every diaper change. If there is an accumulation of white material inside the labia, gently wipe some of it off at each bath until it is gone.

Clothing
After you get your baby home, dress her as you dress yourself, adding a hat and covering the feet. If you are comfortable in one layer of clothing, she will be, too.


Sleeping
One of the most dangerous pieces of baby furniture is the crib. To help prevent your child from being injured in the crib, the National SAFE KIDS Campaign recommends the following:

  • Purchase a crib that has been certified to meet national safety standards. Be sure it has a Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) certification label. Handing down a crib from one generation to another may carry sentimental value, but older cribs do not always meet today’s safety standards.
  • Choose a crib with no more than 2 3/8 inches of space between the slats or the spindles. Be sure there are no missing or loose slats or spindles—your baby’s head can get caught, presenting a strangulation hazard.
  • Always keep the side rail locked in its up position when your baby is in the crib.
  • Use vinyl or cloth bumper pads to keep your baby from hitting against the side of the crib. Secure the pads with snaps or at least six straps tied securely on the outside of the crib, away from your baby.
  • Never use a pillow in the crib and make sure no soft bedding, toys, plastic bags or other plastic materials are in or around the crib.

Position
Medical research has clearly proven that up to half the fatalities from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) may be related to how a baby is placed in the crib. That is why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all babies are put on their backs when it is time for bed.

Co-Sleeping
We also recommend you do not allow your infant to sleep with you or on a soft surface such as a waterbed, couch or pillow. These practices can lead to suffocation.

Sleep Patterns
Your new baby will probably wake to be fed every two to four hours in the beginning and fall back to sleep by the end of the feeding. Your baby may also have one or two periods a day when she is awake and crying, even after she has been fed, changed and rocked. Gradually, your baby’s own pattern of feeding, sleeping and being awake will become apparent to you. Eventually, the time between feedings will become longer as will the length of time sleeping at night. From the beginning, whenever you can, try to put your baby to bed awake, so she can get used to falling asleep on her own without sucking. In this way, your baby will be more likely to fall back to sleep without crying until fed.

After two to three months, when your baby awakes during the night, try to avoid going to her so quickly and see if she is able to fall back to sleep on her own. Childhood sleep experts believe after 3 months, babies do not wake up because they are hungry, so try to avoid feeding during the night if there is a chance your baby will go back to sleep. Avoid putting on the light, having eye contact and talking or entertaining if you want to avoid night feeding and waking after 2 to 3 months of age.

Help Baby Sleep Through The Night


When Baby Spits Up Frequently
All babies spit up, some more than others. When it happens after nearly every feeding, parents often become concerned. They worry that their infant will not be ingesting enough food to grow or that the infant has something seriously wrong with his/her stomach or intestinal tract. If an infant spits up significantly but gains weight, then it is only messy and a nuisance. After "normal" spitting up, there are three common conditions that pediatricians diagnosis:

  • the baby is allergic to the formula
  • the baby has gastroesophageal reflux
  • the baby has an area of blockage or narrowing in the intestinal tract (pyloric stenosis)

Normally, when an infant feeds, swallowing pushes the milk back into his/her throat and down into their esophagus. At the bottom of the esophagus there is a muscle that opens to let nourishment pass into the stomach. The muscle then closes when the stomach squeezes to push the food into the small intestine. In children with gastroesophageal reflux, this muscle opens as the stomach squeezes, so food and stomach acid come up their esophagus and out of their mouth. Other times, the acid and food may only come part way up, causing the infant to have abdominal pain or gas similar to when an adult experiences heartburn.

Infants with gastroesophageal reflux are good eaters. Many of them are "guzzlers" and can not be put off when hungry, finishing their milk very quickly. Other symptoms of reflux might include sudden or incolsolable crying (from the stomach acid), general fussiness, bad breath and frequent night waking.

Most of the time, just hearing the parents’ story and seeing an otherwise thriving child is enough to complete the diagnosis, but sometimes x-ray evaluations are recommended. The first test is typically a barium swallow - the baby is given a small amount of chalky liquid and the radiologist watches as the material is swallowed and enters the stomach. In children with reflux, the barium can be seen returning up the esophagus. Other tests, including a pH probe, radioactive scans and directly looking into the esophagus with a special scope, are usually performed in severe cases by a pediatric gastroenterologist.
In most cases, gastroesophageal reflux is self-limiting, which means the problem will resolve itself by the time the infant is able to sit up (around 6 months). Even if the child does not develop problems from his/her reflux, the condition can sometimes be difficult to care for and stressful on the family.

Three complications of reflux may occur when the problem is severe:

  • Babies can spit up all their feedings causing them not to grow or gain weight. Malnutrition or "failure to thrive" can result from losing too much food from the frequent vomiting or from lack of appetite due to pain.
  • The stomach acid can irritate the lining of the esophagus causing inflammation and in severe cases, narrowing of the esophagus.
  • Babies with reflux can also develop respiratory problems from stomach contents entering the nose, windpipe or lungs.

Many infants are first diagnosed as having reflux while investigating the cause of recurrent breathing problems such as wheezing or pneumonia.

Treatment for gastroesophageal reflux includes positioning, dietary changes, altering feeding schedules and medications.

Positioning. Babies with reflux need to be positioned so gravity can help keep the food from coming back up out of the stomach. The best position to put the baby after feeding is on his/her stomach with the head propped up about 30 degrees. This position causes the stomach to fall forward, closing the valve at the bottom of the esophagus. Remember, the child should not be allowed to fall asleep in this position and should always be placed on his/her side or back when sleeping. Avoid placing the child in an infant seat or swing since this causes increased pressure on their stomach. The best approach is to hold the baby quietly for a half hour after feeding.

Dietary Changes. Most infants with gastroesophageal reflux do better when their feedings are thickened with cereal, making the feedings heavier and thus less likely to come back up the esophagus. Make the nipple size larger so babies do not have to suck harder and fill their stomach with air. Infants who are breast fed may be fed some rice cereal by spoon during or after feedings. In addition, some reflux babies are more successful on hypoallergenic formulas such as Alimentum®. Always consult the child’s physician before making a change in formula.

Feeding Schedules. Occasionally, feeding the infant smaller amounts more frequently will help. Unfortunately, these infants are usually not satisfied with smaller feedings and will cry for more. This causes them to swallow air, which could make the reflux worse.

Medications. When the above measures do not work, the infant may be referred to a pediatric gastroenterologist for additional treatment, including medication. While many different medications may be used to treat reflux, most of the mediations either neutralize stomach acid (Mylanta, Maalox), reduce acid production in the stomach (Pepcid, Zantac) or improve intestinal coordination (Reglan).


Crying
All babies spend a lot of their time crying. Learn your baby’s cries. Crying is your baby’s way of communicating with you. Each time he cries, he is not asking just to be fed. He may want company, his position changed or he may be tired. Learning what certain cries mean will help you meet your baby’s needs more completely. Don’t be afraid to hold your baby as much as you want. It will not spoil him, but it will satisfy his need to be close to you.

When babies cry, they take in a lot of air. This can cause gas. Therefore, it is common for crying to cause gas as opposed to the gas causing your baby to cry.

Colic
Colic is a term used to describe an infant who, although happy and content most of the day, has periods of fussiness unrelated to hunger or a wet diaper. These periods of fussiness generally occur in the evening and can last for hours.
Fortunately, colic is self-limiting. It usually begins at about 2 weeks and typically subsides by 2 to 3 months of age.

What can be done in the meantime? The treatment of colic is no more exact than its cause, but there are some basic things you can try. Some tricks work for some babies some of the time.

  • First, make an appointment to see us to make sure your baby is healthy and has nothing more than colic.
  • Feeding time should be quiet and unhurried. Your baby should be fed slowly in an upright position with frequent burping. Make sure your infant is not hungry and is getting enough to eat by reviewing the diet with us.
  • Breast-feeding mothers should eliminate coffee, tea and all caffeinated soft drinks during this time.
  • Remove cigarette smoke from your colicky infant’s environment. Newborns exposed to passive cigarette smoke are three times more likely to suffer from colic.
  • Gentle rocking motions are found to be soothing to some colicky infants, as parents find out when they take their colicky baby for a ride in the car. Any motion, from rocking the cradle to walking your baby in a stroller, is often a magical antidote for a colic attack.
  • Your crying infant’s mood might change dramatically when he hears new, repetitious sounds, such as the noise of a vacuum cleaner or clothes dryer.
  • Increasing physical contact makes your baby feel warm and secure. A hot-water bottle, filled with WARM water and placed on your baby’s stomach might help. There are several infant holders that allow more contact and let the parents do chores or take care of other children. Holding your colicky baby too much will not spoil him.
  • Play soft music in your baby's room.
  • Try wrapping your baby snugly (swaddling) after feeding and before sleep.
  • Parents should get all the help they can. Ask a relative or neighbor to take over for a while to care for your baby. Lack of sleep will cause a new mother to lose her strength and confidence, and a tired mother should not feel guilty about leaving her newborn for a while. Having a grandmother take the infant out in a stroller for an hour each day can make a world of difference.
  • If your baby is fussy after every feeding, especially if the fussiness is accompanied by arching of the back, gagging and spitting, your infant may have reflux, a condition your doctor may need to treat. Call us if you notice this behavior in your infant.

Above all, be patient. Colic is not your fault, and it won't harm your baby. If your frustrations become overwhelming, call us.


Illness

When to Call Us
A newborn’s immune system is not as mature as an older baby’s and it is necessary to observe your baby for signs of illness. For infants younger than 2 months, lack of interest in feeding, needing to be awakened for every feeding and a fever higher than 100.4° (taken rectally) are all signs of possible illness. Also, persistent irritability or listlessness, vomiting or diarrhea are reasons to call us. Young babies should be seen whenever illness is suspected. No medications or home remedies should be given until you speak with us.

In the early weeks, limit the number of visitors and relatives who want to hold and kiss your baby’s face and hands. In the first 2 months of your baby's life, limit their contact with the outside world and have visitors wash their hands before touching your infant.

Taking Temperatures
The most accurate way to take an infant’s temperature is rectally. A digital rectal thermometer (rectal has a round ball on the end) is recommended. Digital thermometers are inexpensive, safe and easy to read/use.

To take a rectal temperature, place your infant/child down on a flat surface or your lap. Lubricate the thermometer with Vaseline®. Carefully insert the bulb into the rectum for approximately 1/2 inch, but never force it. Hold your child still and press the buttocks together to stabilize the thermometer. Wait for the beep and then remove.

When reporting a temperature to our office, always tell us what the thermometer reads and how you took the temperature.

What is a Fever?
Fever is defined as a body temperature over

  • 100.4 degrees F or 38 degrees C taken rectally
  • 100 degrees F or 37.8 degrees C taken orally (not recommended for infants)
  • 99 degrees F or 37.2 degrees C taken under the arm. Note: Temperature taken under the arm is less than 50 percent accurate.

Home Environment
Keep your home, car and family smoke-free. If you do smoke, before you pick up your baby, rinse your mouth, wash your hands and change your shirt after smoking. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home, or test existing ones.

If possible, try to restrict visitors. While part of the joy of parenthood is showing off your new baby, even a 15-minute visit can be very tiring for a new mom. Sure, close relatives and friends can visit, but they should make their visits short. Make sure all guests leave their own children at home and that they always wash their hands before picking up your baby.

Nurture your baby by holding, cuddling, rocking, talking and singing. Spend time playing with and talking to your baby when she is awake. It is never too early to read to your baby.

Tips for New Parents:

  • Get plenty of rest. Sleep will be at a premium during the first month, so plan on resting when your baby does. Since a new baby is a lot of work, being tired will make mom’s job even harder. There are many more new chores to be done so parents must establish an entire set of new priorities. Cuddling and holding your baby should rank ahead of a clean kitchen floor. Getting to know the newborn is more important than doing laundry or cooking, so let some of the housework go.
  • Arrange for a helper. Everyone needs extra help during those first few weeks with a new baby. Despite all the books and comedian’s jokes, we still believe the best person to help is a grandmother, either a mother or mother-in-law! Grandmothers come with a great resume: they have the experience, are well versed in shopping, cooking and cleaning, and will welcome the chance to ‘mother’ both the newborn and the new mother.
  • The importance of dads. Fathers must get involved with their newborns right from the start. When given the chance, today’s fathers want to help with feeding, changing diapers and all the other work involved in caring for a newborn.
  • Postpartum checkup. Remember to schedule this check-up for the new mom.

Car Safety
Every baby must be secured in a federally approved car seat, facing backwards in the back seat. The manufacturer’s directions for safe installation must be followed before the baby is allowed into the car. This includes the ride home from the hospital.

Never allow your child to ride unrestrained or on the lap of an adult. As your child gets older, it is a good idea that she sees her parents always using safety belts

 


© 2005 Northwest Pediatrics Inc.