Life, in general, is full of advice. When you are pregnant, the advice is voluminous. Advice comes from pregnancy and childbirth magazines, books, family, friends and your obstetrician’s office. Not all advice is good advice and weeding through it all can be overwhelming.
So here’s more advice from a busy pediatric practice about your beautiful bundle of joy. First, breast is best. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the United States Surgeon General, breast milk is the best nutrition for your baby. That said, breastfeeding is not an easy task. Like everything in life, practice makes perfect. New mothers need plenty of rest, good nutrition and water, as well as emotional support while learning to breastfeed. It takes approximately 6 weeks for mom and baby to find their rhythm. Mom will have good milk supply, the soreness should have diminished and mom will be better able to enjoy nursing her baby. The baby will become an efficient feeder in less time. Breast milk’s benefits for the baby include easier digestion, fewer allergy risks, less constipation, less obesity, less diaper rash, improved immunity and a stronger mother-baby relationship. The benefits for mother include lower cost, greater convenience, faster recovery, less post-partum depression, reduced risk for breast cancer and higher satisfaction. Don’t hesitate to ask for assistance from your pediatrician or a lactation consultant.
Breastfeeding is not the best situation for everybody and there should be no guilt in bottle-feeding. Babies thrive with commercially made formulas. Cow’s milk, soy, lactose-free and specialty formulas are available. Consult your pediatrician to find what formula works best for your little one. No matter the nutrition source, watch the baby for sucking on hands, rooting or crying to indicate readiness to feed and the relaxation that occurs with a full tummy.
Secondly, illness prevention is a must. In Kindergarten, we learned to wash our hands after using the restroom and before eating. In the daily care of a newborn, we should always wash our hands before handling them, feeding them and after changing them. Anyone who comes to visit must wash their hands before coming in contact with the baby. If they are sick with a fever or cough, they should not enter the home until they have been free of illness for at least 24 hours. Due to the lack of immunity, a fever and illness is a big concern in a newborn. If the baby feels warm, take a rectal temperature. It is the most accurate. If the temperature is above 100.4, the baby must be seen immediately at the pediatrician’s office or emergency care.
Finally, a baby should be put on their back to sleep. Since the American Academy of Pediatrics instituted the “Back to Sleep” program, there has been a significant decrease in the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Babies should sleep on a firm, well-fitted mattress with no pillow or fluffy stuffed animals in the crib. Co-sleeping is not recommended because of the fear of suffocation from being trapped in bedding or under a parent.
Newborns frequently have their days and nights mixed up. Caring for a newborn is exhausting. Arrange your day around your newborn’s sleep schedule and nap when he or she naps. The laundry and dishes will wait. As early as 2 months of age, sleeping patterns start to regulate. Feeding frequently during the day makes for a better sleeper at night.
Healthy Steps Pediatrics is helping to grow healthy children one step at a time. We look forward to helping you raise a healthy newborn. 678-384-3480