Newborn Care Frequently Asked
Questions - Page 2
By Michael Schoenwetter, M.D. and
Loraine Stern, M.D.
Below are more frequently asked questions regarding newborn care:
During pregnancy what foods should I avoid? I want to make sure my
newborn is healthy.
Newborn Care Answer: Eating healthy during
your pregnancy will get your newborn off to a great start. There are
some foods, however, that should be avoided during pregnancy.
1) Alcohol - There is
no level of alcohol that has been shown to be safe during pregnancy.
Alcohol during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriages,
stillbirths and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome—which can cause mental
retardation, deformities, and heart problems in your newborn. There
are some doctors who say that 1 drink during your 3rd trimester is
okay, however, the safe choice would be to avoid alcohol altogether.
2) Caffeine - A study from 2008
suggested that 200 mg of caffeine per day can slow fetal growth.
There is also some evidence that excessive caffeine can increase
miscarriages and stillbirths. Most doctors would agree to limit
caffeine to less than 200 mg per day, which is the equivalent of a
12 ounce coffee.
3) Herbal Tea - There is insufficient
data on the effect of certain herbs found in some teas. Check with
your heath care provider first.
4) Unwashed Fruit/Vegetables -
Thoroughly wash all produce to decrease exposure to harmful
bacteria. Avoid raw sprouts of any kind.
5) Unpasteurized Foods - Most soft
cheeses- brie, feta, blue and certain Mexican cheeses are made with
unpasteurized milk. Do not eat these types of cheeses unless clearly
labeled “pasteurized” as unpasteurized products may expose you to
6) Undercooked Eggs, Meat and Chicken -
Raw eggs may contain salmonella, a potentially harmful bacteria.
Make sure to fully cook all meat and poultry before eating. Deli
meats and hot dogs need to be thoroughly cooked as well to avoid
listeria, a potentially harmful bacteria. These are probably best
Seafood High in Mercury - Seafood contains many beneficial
nutrients, such as iron, Vitamin D and fatty acids for yourself as
well as your newborn to be. Certain fish, however, have can have
high levels of mercury and should be avoided. These are shark,
swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish. The FDA recommends 12 ounces
per week of other types of cooked fish. This can include up to 6
ounces per week of albacore tuna. Other fish that contain little
mercury are shrimp, salmon, cod, and catfish.
Obviously, a healthy diet
during pregnancy will start your unborn baby and newborn off toward a
healthy life. Overall, a variety of foods is recommended, but be sure to
avoid the foods mentioned here. Always check with your healthcare
provider if questions about your diet arise.
Newborn Care Question
I have a 1 month old newborn and am concerned about the flu. What can I
Newborn Care Answer: As I am sure you know, we are experiencing a very
severe influenza outbreak due to the H1N1 virus. The seasonal flu, which
will come in the next few months, will make this flu season long and
harsh. Infants are at high risk for developing complications from the
flu, so it is appropriate to be concerned. Avoiding large crowds of
people, especially children, will decrease your exposure to the flu
virus. Of course, good hand washing is essential to decrease the spread
of germs. The most important preventative step would be for all
caregivers and household contacts to be protected against the flu by
receiving both their H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines. This forms a
protective "cocoon" around your infant.
Newborn Care Question
Ever since we had a new baby my 3 year old has become more aggressive,
especially towards me. I have read this is normal, but for how long?
Newborn Care Answer: I always tell the parents in my practice that are
in your situation that the older sibling's life is changing much more
dramatically than the parent's lives. The child feels like some of his
uniqueness has been taken away. I use the analogy of going from a rock
star to a back-up singer. Hopefully, the change is not that dramatic,
but the analogy gives you some insight into what your child is feeling.
Also, a 3 year old does not have the coping skills to deal with such a
change in his daily life and thus changes in his behavior can occur. I
am not saying that you should not discipline your child if he acts up,
just that he is going through a lot in his life, and very commonly a few
months of behavior changes are seen until routine is established again.
What is your opinion regarding cord blood banking for my newborn due
Newborn Care Answer: You have heard the term stem cells. They have the
potential to be transplanted to treat blood, immunological, metabolic
and malignant disorders. The blood that remains in the umbilical cord of
a newborn contains these multi-potential cells. Saving a newborn's cord
blood has been offered to parents for several years, mostly through
for-profit cord blood banks and promoted as "biological insurance" in
case one of their children needs it. There is an initial cost as well as
yearly maintenance fees to keep the blood available.
There is no accurate estimate of the
probability of a child needing cord blood. Estimates range from 1 in a
1,000 to less than 1 in 200, 000. Cord blood is not always the answer.
If the child whose blood is stored develops leukemia, for instance, his
own cord blood cannot be used because his genes are programmed to
develop leukemia. Only if there is a sibling or close relative whose
cord blood is stored is there a chance cord blood might help.
Cord blood banking should be arranged long
before labor begins. The team in the delivery room needs to collect it
under the correct procedures. It may not be done in the case of a
complicated delivery when the newborn and/or mother's well being is an
issue. There are less risks of infection, such as hepatitis and HIV, in
a newborn's blood compared with an adult's. Although, the newborn's cord
blood is readily available and easier to transplant than adult cells,
there can be complications. The American Academy of Pediatrics has
published guidelines to be aware of when making this decision.
There are only a handful of non-profit cord
blood banks, such as one established by the National Institutes of
Health, for families with a close relative that has a possibly treatable
condition. Be wary of claims made by companies promoting cord blood
banking as medical insurance for everyone. Do your homework and talk to
your pediatrician and any specialist that might be involved in the
illness in your family before committing money and hope to banking your
child's blood. Encourage the government to set up cord blood banks so
that everyone can benefit and worried families are not exploited.
My current response when parents ask about
banking a newborn's cord blood is that it makes sense only if you know
there is some disease in your family that might be helped with cord
blood. Otherwise, the investment would probably be better starting a
bank account for your child's education.
Although we hear about them on the news, the actual rate of
newborn abductions is very small. However, there are ways to protect
In the hospital - Most hospitals have an
alarm system set up with an anklet for each newborn. When a newborn
leaves a certain area, the alarm rings. Check with your hospital about
this prior to your delivery.
Never allow any staff
person to handle the newborn unless they have a photo identification
that matches their face;
If you need to leave
your newborn alone to shower or leave the room for any reason, have
the nurses keep your newborn in the nursery;
At home there are certain precautions you
should take at home with your newborn:
Do not put your home
address on social network sites to announce the birth.
Do not put storks,
balloons, etc outside to announce the newborn.
Do not open the door
to any worker without verifying their identity - for example by
calling the utility company they claim to be from.
When out and about, make sure to be vigilant
with your surroundings. Here are important tips when traveling with your
At the gas station,
if the baby is in the back seat, take your keys out of the ignition
and keep them in your hand while filling up.
If you go into the
minimart, TAKE YOUR NEWBORN WITH YOU. Yes, it's inconvenient, but
the guy who hotwires your car probably didn't see the baby in the
Again, newborn abductions happen very
infrequently but being extra careful is essential.
We hope these frequently asked questions are helpful and please check
back as we will be adding more new information regarding newborn care.
Care FAQ's Page 1 * Newborn
Care FAQ's Page 2 * Newborn
Care FAQ's Page 3
Be sure to read our
Newborn Safety Tips and Baby
Proofing page for some important information.
Please email us at
firstname.lastname@example.org if you have other common newborn care
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