0 -3 months
When parents come to the hospital to have a baby these days, they
know all about car seats, baby monitors and onesies.
But, one newborn expert noticed, they're not nearly as clued in
when it comes to burps and breasts and baby body parts.
"Over the years, I have been amazed at how many parents are very
knowledgeable and prepared with regard to baby equipment and
brand-name accessories, but not well informed about the baby itself
and the baby's basic needs," says Janet Stockheim, who trained at
Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago and now is a practicing
pediatrician and assistant professor in New York.
Over two decades of caring for babies, moms and dads, Stockheim
kept getting the same questions. She started penning answers that
she planned to put in a pamphlet about baby's first month to hand
out during her nursery rounds in the hospital or at the baby's
first office visit.
But her how-to got too big and grew into a book, Nothing but
Newborns, a primer for taking care of baby in the first weeks.
Because mothers leave the hospital after only two or three days,
parents often get minimal guidance on the basics of baby care, she
says. When they turn to self-education, many books make baby care
sound too complicated or bury the information about newborns within
the baby's entire first year, Stockheim says.
"The newborn period goes by so quickly, parents really need to
get that information in a book focused on newborns that is quick
and easy to read," she says.
The first thing new moms need to know is to sleep when baby
sleeps. "Mental fatigue is often the hardest part of parenting,"
After that, the baby doc offers these tips to keeping infants in
the pink through their first few weeks:
• A newborn skull is soft and needs to rest in different
positions to avoid flattening in one area. Tummy time while awake
is a great way to take pressure off the skull.
• Babies cannot be vaccinated for influenza until 6 months
of age. Therefore, everyone who cares for the baby should be
vaccinated to prevent the spread of influenza to the baby,
especially in the fall/winter season.
• Caretakers of infants should learn infant CPR. Formal
classes or at-home kits (available through the American Heart
Association) will teach skills that could be lifesaving.
• Babies signal hunger with early cues such as increased
alertness, mouthing/sucking motions and rooting (turning the head
with an open mouth, looking for a nipple). Crying is a late sign of
hunger. Feeding on early cues is a great way to develop your baby's
trust and a strong bond.
• Wet burps and spit-ups leave milk deposits (proteins and
fats) coating the back of the baby's nose, which may cause
congestion. Flushing the baby's nasal passages with saline nose
drops, with or without suctioning, may help to clear noisy,
congested nasal passages.
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