Posts for tag: Infants
Preparing yourself for childbirth is important, but what about when you first leave the hospital with your newborn? With pregnancy taking a full nine months, expectant parents need all the time they can to prepare themselves for the big event. However, in the rush to paint the nursery and buy baby furniture, you may have overlooked some of the essentials of bringing your newborn baby home. There is no official instruction manual for becoming a parent, but with help from your pediatrician, you can ensure continual health throughout your child’s lifetime.
Leaving the Hospital
Often, moms-to-be will pack clothes for the trip home before even going to the hospital. Plan to bring loose-fitting clothing for yourself, because you most likely won’t fit in your pre-pregnancy clothes. Babies are frequently overdressed for their first trip home. In warm weather, it is practical to dress your baby in a t-shirt and diaper and to wrap them in a baby blanket. Hats are not necessary, but they can be a cute finishing touch, especially for the first picture in the hospital.
If it is cold, add a snowsuit and an extra blanket for your baby. Chances are much better that you will bring home a calm, contented baby if you do not spend too much time at the hospital trying to dress your newborn in a complicated outfit that requires pushing and pulling your baby’s arms and legs. If you have not already made arrangements with your baby’s pediatrician, make sure to ask when the baby’s first checkup should be scheduled before you leave the hospital.
The Car Ride Home
The most important item for the tip home with your newborn is a proper child safety seat (car seat). Every state requires parents to have a safety seat before leaving the hospital because it is one of the best ways to protect your baby. Even for a short trip, it is never safe for one of you to hold your baby in your arms while the other drives. Your baby could be pulled from your arms and thrown against the dashboard by a quick stop.
Infant-only seats are designed for rear-facing use only and fit infants better than convertible seats. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants and toddlers ride in rear-facing seats until they are 2-years-old or until they have reached the maximum weight and height limits recommended by the manufacturer. Never put a rear-facing infant or convertible seat in the front seat of your car – always use the rear seat.
If your child becomes ill shortly after you bring them home from the hospital, you want to have a good working relationship with a doctor you trust and respect. You have nine months to plan, so come in and talk to us! Opening a dialogue with your new pediatrician is the best way to start what will be a long relationship based in keeping your child healthy and happy.
With your baby at home, watch for these signs that it is time to call your pediatrician:
- Breathing faster or irregular
- Notice blueness or a darkness on the lips or face
- Newborn has a fever
- Newborn’s body temperature has dropped
- See signs of dehydration
- Baby’s belly button or circumcision area looks infected
Although most babies remain perfectly healthy after they are discharged from the hospital, it is important to watch for any signs of illness and take your child to your pediatrician for evaluation within a day or two of leaving the hospital.
Tips from Your Pediatrician for Prevention
- Wipe your baby’s gums with clean a gauze pad or washcloth after each feeding.
- Begin brushing your child’s teeth (without toothpaste), when his or her first tooth comes in.
- Clean and massage gums in areas without teeth.
- Floss once all the baby teeth have come in.
- Ensure your child is receiving enough fluoride.
- Schedule regular dental visits by your child’s first birthday.
Your Pediatrician Shares the Symptoms
- Predictable crying episodes.
- Intense or inconsolable crying.
- Posture changes.
When to Visit Your Pediatrician
- Can’t be soothed, even for a few minutes
- Doesn’t suck strongly at the bottle or breast
- Doesn’t like to be held or touched
- Has an unusual-sounding cry, or sounds like they are in pain
- Has diarrhea or blood in the stool
- Has trouble breathing
- Is less alert or sleepier than usual
- Is eating less than usual
- Is running a fever of 100.4 degrees or more
- Is throwing up
Most young children use a pacifier or suck on their thumb or fingers. Sucking is a natural instinct for an infant and often sticks around as a comforting habit into the toddler years. However, this can be troublesome if your child persists sucking a thumb or pacifier past the age of four or when the permanent teeth begin erupting. The risk of these habits can lead to include overcrowded and crooked teeth, problems with the development of roof and mouth development and bite problems. Sometimes the front teeth may even tilt toward the lip or not come in properly.
Pacifiers and thumb sucking usually stop on their own when your child begins pre-school or kindergarten due to the peer pressure associated with begins around other children their age. However, if your child is having trouble giving up thumb sucking or a pacifier, your pediatrician can offer you some helpful suggestions.
How to Stop Thumb Sucking and Pacifier Dependence
As a first step in dealing with your child’s sucking habits, ignore them. Most often, your child will stop on his or her own. Instead of forcing a change, your pediatrician offers these helpful tips:
- Praise your child when he or she isn’t sucking their thumb or pacifier. Be positive and do not punish him or her.
- Reward your child if he or she does not resort to thumb sucking or a pacifier during stressful situations or falls asleep without sucking.
- Try trading the pacifier for another special toy.
- Don’t make it into a power struggle or a dramatic experience trying to wean your child off the pacifier. Be patient and always remain positive.
- Focus on correcting the cause of the anxiety that may be causing your child to be dependent on sucking their thumb or a pacifier.
- Bandage the thumb or place a sock over the hand at night to remind your child of the habit.
- If serious enough, your dentist may also suggest a mouth appliance to block the ability to suck.
- In infancy, avoid ever dipping your child’s pacifier in honey, sugar or syrup.
For more advice or counseling about your child’s thumb sucking or pacifier habits, please visit your pediatrician. With their help, you can successfully wean your child off of their thumb sucking and pacifier habit.
Teething is an important part of your baby’s development. Although it can be an irritable time for your baby, there are many ways you can help ease the pain. Most babies get their first teeth around 6 months, but they might come anytime between 2 and 12 months of age. Teething does not cause a high fever or vomiting and diarrhea, so if your baby does develop these symptoms, it is important that you contact your pediatrician immediately.
Helping Ease the Pain
When your baby is teething, all you want to do is help ease the pain. Your pediatrician offers a few tips to keep in mind when your baby is teething:
- Wipe your baby’s face often with a cloth to remove drool and prevent rashes from developing.
- Give your baby something to chew on, but make sure it is big enough so that it can’t be swallowed and that it can’t break into small pieces. Teething rings are a popular choice for babies to chew on, as well as plush toys that are crunchy on the inside.
- Rub your baby’s gums with a clean finger.
- Never tie a teething ring around your baby’s neck, as it could get caught on something.
- If your baby seems irritable, ask your pediatrician if it is okay to give your baby a dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen to ease discomfort.
Cleaning Your Baby’s New Teeth
Once your baby’s new teeth have arrived, they are susceptible to plaque buildup just like adult teeth, which can lead to discoloration and dental complications. However, do no use toothpaste on your child’s teeth until they are old enough to spit—around the age of 2 or 3. Until then, brush their teeth with a small, soft toothbrush and water. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that kids visit the dentist by age 1, when six to eight teeth are in place, in order to spot any potential problems and advise you about proper preventive care.
By visiting your pediatrician, you can establish proper care for your child. Your pediatrician can help guide you in caring for your child through teething so that they are more comfortable.