Disclosure :: This post is sponsored by Women’s & Children’s Hospital.
Tips for a Healthy Newborn
After months of making sure you had a healthy pregnancy, your baby has finally arrived – and you may be thinking, “Now what?” Here are some things parents can do to promote the health of their newborn and for their own peace of mind.
- Wash your hands before touching baby, and ask your guests and babysitters to do the same. Your baby wants and needs to be held and touched for a lot of reasons, but baby simply doesn’t have the proper immune system to take on the world of germs you and others might be carrying around with you. Washing your hands in warm water (to keep cold hands from giving baby a shock) can make a big difference in keeping your baby healthy while his or her immune system is growing big and strong. Also, limit exposing your newborn to germs away from home, especially for the first two months of life. Once their immune system is stronger, there will be plenty of opportunities to introduce your little one around town.
- Feedings and diapering can be causes of concern for new parents. Follow the instructions from your pediatrician and the hospital staff. Most babies will have several wet diapers and dirty diapers each day, but there is some variation between babies. If there are any concerns, always feel free to call your pediatrician for advice.
- One of the most important things you will do for your little one is to be sure that your baby always sleeps in a safe place – it’s especially important to remind sitters and family members of this.
We have learned much about keeping babies safe in the past few years, and some people may not realize the important factors. Babies should always sleep on their backs on a flat, firm surface that is intended for infant sleep. There should be nothing else in the sleeping area besides your precious baby – no pillows, toys, bumper pads, loose blankets, etc. Also, the first few weeks and months with baby can be tiring, and it can be very helpful if baby learns to fall asleep without assistance.
Once or twice each day, try to place your little one in the safe sleeping area while still awake yet satisfied. If your baby learns to fall asleep alone, your nights will be much easier for the next couple of years.
- Get help before you reach the breaking point. Hospitals, doctors, nurses, lactation specialists – the list of professionals who can and will help you is endless. Whether you need a little or a lot of assistance, it’s fine!
There are caring, knowledgeable medical experts available to help you with things like latching on, pumping breastmilk, swaddling baby, changing diapers and taking care of baby in general. Don’t let yourself get to the point that you are crying on the hallway floor or pulling your hair in exasperation – find the right resources to help you and baby get and stay healthy and happy. Your pediatrician and staff are always ready to guide and support you.
- Sleep when baby sleeps. You have probably heard and seen this tip everywhere, which is because it is excellent and useful for every parent. Your baby’s sleeping patterns are typically going to even out within the first month to two months, so prepare yourself now, and learn to sleep in tandem with baby.
Remember, while these early days and weeks can seem stressful and overwhelming, the sweet moments and bond you are forming with your precious little one will bring you joy forever. Use your support team, stick to good health habits for you and your family and you’ll do just fine.
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Dr. Donna Zappi Fox is a pediatrician located on the campus of Women’s & Children’s Hospital. Learn more and see our average kids E.R. wait times at www.Womens-Childrens.com.