What Pediatricians Wish Every New Mom Knew?
Being a new mom is never easy. There are a lot of things that you may encounter and not know how to handle. Taking care of a baby will be new to you and it can become very overwhelming. You can be engulfed by loads of work, worries, and problems, and before you know it, you are overcome by stress. It takes a lot of experience for a parent to be good at child rearing, but of course, as a new mom who doesn’t have this, you need to be knowledgeable enough to keep you from walking in the dark. To help you with your knowledge in taking care of your baby and help you avoid going into panic, here is a list of what pediatricians wish every new mom knew.
1 – Infants cry a lot
We don’t have to worry every time our newborn baby cries because it is just our baby’s way of communicating with us. There are a lot of reasons why our babies cry, but most of the time, it is nothing serious. The most common reasons behind your baby’s cries are hunger, dirty diaper, discomfort, being sleepy, need for attention, feeling hot or cold, and need to burp. However, you should still be attentive enough to determine if your baby is actually not feeling well. It may be hard to determine unless you have really familiarized yourself with your baby’s cries but according to Dr. Gwen Wurm, the crying will be different in some way. Your baby’s cry may be more insistent, have higher pitch, and lasts longer than usual. If you think your baby is sick, do not hesitate to visit your pediatrician.
2 – Infants feed several times a day
As someone new to taking care of a newborn, you may be surprised on how frequent your baby feeds. Newborns stomach are still very small and thus, have small capacity so digestion would be faster. Also, compared to formula milk, breast milk is faster to digest so your baby will feed more frequently if you are breastfeeding. Newborns nurse around 8-12 times a day during his/her first month and as your child grows, he will feed less often. Always make sure that you are able to feed your baby whenever he/she is hungry.
3 – It is normal to have spit ups
It is common for babies to spit up since their digestive system is still immature. This phenomenon wherein your baby’s stomach content comes back up into the esophagus is known as gastroesophageal reflux and happens when your baby consumes a lot of milk fast, if your baby suddenly changes position after feeding, or if he/she gulps down a lot of gas. According to William Byrne, MD, chief of pediatric gastroenterology at Doernbecher Children's Hospital, in Portland, Oregon, seventy percent of infants under three months spit up three times a day and it is normal for them to spit more than that. However, you should be able to recognize the difference between normal spitting and vomiting since vomiting can be a cause for concern. Spitting up has an easy flow while vomiting is forceful.
4 – Fevers are serious in infants
It can be scary for parents to diagnose their baby with fever but it is more alarming if your baby is still a few weeks old. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), babies younger than three months should immediately be brought to a doctor’s attention if diagnosed with a rectal temperature of 100.4 °F or higher. This is because bacterial infections are very risky for newborns since there is a higher risk that the bacteria can cross over the protective layer of cells between the bloodstream and the central nervous system since it is very thin in young babies. If this happens, the bacteria can cause serious damage rapidly.
5 – Having rashes is normal
It is normal for us parents to worry whenever we see something unusual growing on our baby’s skin, however, we should not always make a fuss whenever we see our baby develop some rashes. Although some rashes are a cause for concern, developing skin rashes are actually quite normal for newborns because their sensitive skin is adapting to a new environment. These rashes are usually harmless and disappears on their own. Examples of common rashes in newborns are pink pimples, milia, Mongolian spots, erythema toxicum, salmon patches, dry, peeling skin, and prickly heat.
6 – Weird-colored poop is normal
As a new mom, seeing weird colors in your baby’s poop may alarm you. However, what you see as a weird-colored poop can be normal. For example, you may think that a greenish black colored poop of your newborn is a cause for concern but this is just very normal and is referred to as meconium. This color is due to the substances your baby ingested in the uterus including the amniotic fluid, mucus, and skin cells. Other normal colored poops are army green which indicates that your newborn is digesting his/her milk, yellow/green which is a normal color for breastfed baby, peanut butter brown if your baby is formula-fed, and dark brown when your baby starts to eat more solids. Still, you should watch out for poops which are bright green, red, black, or light gray since these are unusual stool colors.
7 – There is a proper way to safely put your baby to sleep
According to AAP around 3,500 babies die every year while sleeping mostly because of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), suffocation, or strangulation. To avoid this kind of situation, we must be very careful on how we let our babies sleep. If our babies are less than one year old, we should always let them sleep on their backs. Also, I recommend that you put your baby’s sleep area in the same room as you sleep during his/her first year. For his/her crib or sleeping area, use a firm surface and always make sure that the sheet is tightly fitted and there are no objects that may endanger your baby from suffocating, entrapping, or strangling. Lastly, don’t let your baby sleep in your couch or sofa.
It is natural for us parents to worry about our babies since we want our babies to be in their best possible condition. For moms who are new to taking care of babies, every situation with your baby is unfamiliar and handling these kinds of situations can be very difficult. However, too much worrying can lead to stress which is not good for both you and the baby. To avoid this stress and to help you be more at ease in handling matters concerning your baby, it is good that you have some basic knowledge about babies and one good source of knowledge are pediatricians. Thus, to offer some help with your problems, I have listed in this article what pediatricians wish every new mom knew. I hope this helps!
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