Newborn Care Tips
Newborn Care and the Holidays
November and Thanksgiving is the beginning of
holiday season. This is a time to be with family
and friends. Families with newborns, however,
have to be extra careful at this time of the
year. Being around crowds, especially children,
puts your newborn at risk to contract an
illness). One must worry about exposure to
the flu, RSV (a virus that can cause wheezing in
your newborn) and Rotavirus ( a severe
intestinal infection) as well as other
infections that are more prevalent around this
time of year.
If you are going to large gatherings of people
this holiday season, make sure that everyone
washes their hands before touching your newborn.
Also, limit exposure to young children, who are
more likely to pass an illness to your
Another important way to protect your newborn is
to make sure that all people who are in contact
with your little one have had both the flu and
whooping cough vaccines. This provides a
“cocoon” of vaccinated people around your
newborn, decreasing the risk of contracting
these illnesses. Happy Holidays!
Newborn Care - Fall Information
As Labor Day passes, fall begins and schools
around the country are back in session. Once the
school year begins, one needs to be much more
careful with their newborn. When kids are around
each other, it is much easier for them to
contract illnesses. Limiting exposure to school
age children is strongly recommended to decrease
the incidence of colds and sickness in your
Also, to protect your newborn, all household
contacts should be
vaccinated against the Flu and Pertussis
(Whooping Cough). This forms a protective
"cocoon" around your newborn. Your newborn will
receive its first vaccination against Pertussis
around 2 months old, but cannot receive the Flu
shot until 6 mos.Remember, it is not the outside air that can
make your newborn sick; it is germs from other
people. So feel free to take a walk outside so
you and your newborn can enjoy the fresh
air-just limit exposure to other people and
especially other children.
Once the school bell
rings, the number of children visiting my office
for illness increases dramatically.Even though
your newborn is not going to school, he is at
much greater risk for illnesses during this time
of year and heading into winter due to
transmission of illnesses. First and foremost,
all household contacts should get their Flu
shots, as your newborn cannot receive one until
six months old.Second, make sure all contacts
have received their Pertussis immunization
(Whooping Cough).The goal is to form a protect
“cocoon” around your susceptible newborn. Remember, the
outside air does not make your newborn sick,
people and especially children do.So, avoid
large crowds of people during the fall and
winter with your newborn.
As we enter summer, there are some frequently
asked questions pertaining to newborns and heat.
Parents are always asking if there newborns
should have extra water on hot days, in addition
to breast milk or formula.
The answer is no. Breast milk and formula have
plenty of water, which is evident by how
frequently your newborn urinates. An important
tip is for a breastfeeding mom to increase her
fluids during hot days as she is the one with
the potential to dehydrate.
Can my newborn have sunscreen? Newborns should
not be in the sun as their skin is very
sensitive. Outside in the shade is fine.
However, if sun exposure is unavoidable,
sunscreen is ok to apply to areas that are not
Remember, overheating while sleeping increases
your newborn’s risk for SIDS. This is especially
important during warmer months. A newborn should
be lightly dressed for sleep, in a room around
For most of the country, warmer weather has
arrived. Besides this meaning the Flu season has
passed, there are newborn issues related to the
warmer temperature that are frequently asked in
Newborn Care Winter Tip
As a pediatrician, I will never say there is a
bad time to have a baby. However, from an
infection risk standpoint, there are better
times than winter because there are some
infections that are more prevalent during this
time of the year. For example, flu, RSV (a
wheezy chest cough) and rotavirus (a diarrheal
illness) are illnesses that your newborn could
be exposed to in the winter.
Remember, the outside air does not cause
infection! It is exposure to people, especially
children, that can pass an illness to your
newborn. So, if weather permitting, do not be
afraid to take your newborn outside, just be
careful to limit his contact with a lot of
people. Make sure people wash their hands before
touching your newborn and keep runny nosed kids
away from the baby. Also, to form a protective
"cocoon" around your newborn, make sure all
household and close contacts have received both
the flu and the whooping cough vaccines.
The winter months bring colder climates and we
need to make sure our newborns and babies are
dressed appropriately for this type of weather.
As parents, we have an instinct to keep our
newborns very warm. This works well when
outside, but overheating for sleeping in a
newborn is a risk factor for SIDS (Sudden Infant
Death Syndrome) and needs to be avoided.
The recommendation is to have the room the
newborn is sleeping 68-72 degrees, which is
considered comfortable to an adult. If you are
sleeping in light pajamas your newborn should
not be in a parka! Think about how many layers
you are in (adding the blanket) and that is how
many layers your newborn should be wearing
(including his swaddle blanket, if still using).
Parents always feel the newborn’s hands and feet
to test their temperature, but this is not
accurate as a newborn’s hands and feet are
always cold. A more accurate measure of the
newborn’s temperature is to feel the nape of his
neck. If warm or damp with sweat, the newborn is
too warm and a layer needs to be removed.
Newborn Care Fall Tip
When the leaves change color, it means that the
flu season is on its way. To protect your
newborn from the flu, all contacts 6 months and
older should be vaccinated. This will form a
protective “cocoon” around your newborn.
It is also recommended that pregnant women
receive the flu vaccine as well. This is not
only to protect the expectant mommy from the
flu, but there is some data that shows that
pregnant mothers who receive the flu vaccine
give some protection to their newborns for the
first six months of life.
This is very important as the vaccine is not
recommended until the baby is 6 months old. Talk
to you doctor and get you and your family
Newborn Care - September
Boy or Girl? -
Lots of families wait until the birth of their
baby to find out the sex of their newborn.
However, many families want to know their
newborn’s sex long before their birthday to plan
the nursery, buy clothes and overall feel more
prepared for the newborn’s arrival.
In the past, expectant parents had to wait until
15-20 weeks of pregnancy to satisfy their
curiosity. There is now a non-invasive test of
mother’s blood—which contains DNA of the unborn
baby—that can answer the boy or girl question as
early as seven weeks of pregnancy. The test is
more accurate out towards 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Besides helping pick out blue vs. pink paint,
the test can be helpful to doctors trying to
identify sex linked disorders, such as
The blood test may eliminate the need for more
invasive tests like amniocentesis. There are a
lot of things to think about when having a
newborn and hopefully our site can help out with
your process of reducing your stress.
to choose a Pediatrician -
During your child’s
life, particularly the first 2 years, you will
spend a lot of time with your pediatrician both
in the office and on the phone. Here are some
guidelines for how to choose the best one for
you in caring for your newborn.
Get names from neighbors and friends. If you are
new in the area, call the local hospital for
recommendations, although they are not allowed
to play favorites. They will give you several
names. If you happen to make friends with a
nurse, they are great at evaluating our skill.
The first criterion for most people is,
unfortunately, which pediatricians take my
Even if you have only one choice, plan to visit
in your 7th or 8th month. The office should give
you an appointment to meet the doctor and see
the office. Important points are:
Is the doctor certified by the American Board of
Pediatrics? This means that he or she completed
a 3 year specialized course after medical school
and passed a rigorous exam.
How to choose a
Click here to buy the DVD directly from Amazon
Spring Newborn Care Tip
Spring is a wonderful time to have a newborn.
The Flu season is ending and the weather is
warming up. Parents frequently ask when is the
appropriate time to take their newborn outside.
Remember, the outside air will not make your
newborn sick. It is exposure to people that
could give your newborn its first cold.
So, venturing outside in temperate weather to
take a stroll during your newborn’s first week
is fine. The important point is to avoid crowds
of people, especially children. Most adults are
intelligent enough to avoid coming near a
newborn if they have a slight cold, but a
toddler could be acting fine and very quickly
show symptoms of an illness.
If you are going stir crazy and want to go to a
restaurant, it is all right by two weeks, but
avoid busy places that have a lot of kids. Also,
make sure that you limit the number of people
that hold or touch your baby and insist that
they wash their hands.
I, as well as doctors across the country, am
happy that with the changing of the season, the
flu epidemic that we have experienced this
winter will be fading.
We are still seeing quite a bit of influenza,
but the overall numbers are going down. This
should make you, as parents of newborns, less
nervous that your new baby could contract the
One must still keep their newborn away from
crowds of people and everyone that is in contact
with your newborn should be vaccinated with a
flu shot and a whooping cough vaccine.
Do not be afraid to take your newborn out of the
house in the upcoming nice weather. Remember, it
is not the outside air that gets you newborn
sick, it is the people, especially children,
that are contagious.
Having a newborn in the spring fits with the
season of renewal and rebirth. However, the
chaos that your house may be in because you do
not have the time or energy to pick up, vacuum
or dust is ok.
What I tell new mothers is that if you have to
choose between cleaning the house and catching a
nap while the newborn sleeps, the choice should
be obvious. Let the house go to hell. Take your
rest first. The vacuuming or whatever will still
be waiting for you. Your newborn is not crawling
on the floor or eating off the counters.
If you have a grandparent visiting, use that
opportunity to ask him or her to do laundry,
housecleaning, food shopping or anything else
that takes you away from resting.
I know from experience that there is nothing
most grandparents would like than to feel
needed. This is not a permanent position but
just help for you at a difficult time. In
addition, we have excellent
newborn frequently asked questions to help
answer those common questions. Of course the
most comprehensive amount of newborn information
is on our
Newborn Care DVD which comes with an
excellent 12 page guide. An excellent
baby shower gift for new parents.
Your Newborn by Loving Yourself
When having a newborn, most parents experience
an overwhelming rush of love. They cannot stop
looking at the newborn baby's face or marveling
at the tiny fingers and toes. Holding the
newborn, even when she does not cry to be held,
releases endorphins and increases the
gratification you feel.
For some parents, however, the stress of
delivery, the sleep deprivation and the constant
demands can sap energy and make a parent feel
guilty that there is not constant joy. No matter
what you have read or been led to expect, many
parents go through this. Although both mothers
and fathers of newborns may experience this, it
is more common in mothers.
BABY BLUES is a mild form of depression that can
last a few days or weeks. Some of the signs
include crying, trouble sleeping, anxiety,
irritability and mood swings. This is a less
serious and shorter version of POST PARTUM
DEPRESSION, which lasts longer and can interfere
with the ability to care for your newborn.
Symptoms of post partum depression include loss
of appetite, insomnia, intense irritability and
anger, overwhelming fatigue, feelings of shame,
guilt or inadequacy, withdrawing from family and
friends and, in severe cases, thoughts of
harming yourself or the baby.
Supportive therapy and medication can make a
world of difference. but sometimes parents of
newborns do not feel they should care for
themselves when the baby is so needy. Please ask
for help - from your pediatrician, from your
obstetrician, family doctor or counselor. The
better you are, the better the baby will be and
the better you can love her.
Newborn Care - Winter Warnings
If you have a newborn at this time of year, you
have the best Christmas gift you could have.
Getting together with those who want to know
your new family member can be wonderful but
there are several things to be mindful of.
If there will be several preschool aged children
at a gathering, do a lot of hand washing and
hand sanitizing, cleaning of surfaces and
doorknobs and your own hands.
Make sure all adults have received the whooping
cough booster and that your newborn and children
are immunized. Even if you baby has received one
immunity is not complete until after 6 months.
If you are flying, try to take the first plane
out in the morning - it is probably the cleanest
it will be for the day. Non-stop flights are
less likely to leave you stranded at a
connecting airport, running out of diapers for
your newborn and growing tired and cranky.
Flying into bad weather at Christmas time is
dicey. Have alternate plans and bring more
than you think you might need.
If you are driving, make sure you have emergency
supplies such as blankets and water. If you are
caught in a storm you can lose heat quickly if
the car heater does not work. Putting your
newborn under your outer wear against your skin
and covering both of you with blankets will
Click here for more
information on how to protect you and your newborn/family during
the holiday season.
Newborn Care DVD Study
Fall Season Information
We created Newborn Care 101 to educate new
parents and families. With education and
knowledge of the questions and challenges new
parents will frequently face, they will be able
to relax and enjoy the wonderful experience of
having a newborn. Ironically, a study was just
published in Pediatric News regarding educating
new parents with a
newborn care DVD.
The study showed that educating parents through
a brief, 15 minute DVD decreased the number of
visits that those parents had to their
pediatrician versus educating them through
reading material. I always felt that watching a
DVD would be better educationally, and this
study backs that theory.
Also, Newborn Care 101 is 70 minutes long in
total and covers all the frequently asked
questions that new parents have for their
pediatrician. The full study can be read on our
Back To School --- For Infants
Even though your newborn / small infant is not
going back to school, older children are. Here
are 2 ways to protect your baby this fall:
Flu shots: everyone in your household over the
age of 6 months should get a flu shot. This will
minimize the risk that your newborn / infant
will get sick, since we cannot give the shot to
children under 6 months.
Whooping cough shots: there is currently an
epidemic of whooping cough in some areas of the
US. While mostly annoying and debilitating to
older children and adults with several weeks of
a relentless cough, it can be deadly to infants.
Most of us have been immunized as children, but
immunity wears off over the following decades.
The vast majority of cases in infants come from
Everyone over 10 years including parents,
grandparents, caregivers and anyone else in
contact with your infant should get the booster
shot now. Your family doctor or pediatrician, an
urgent care or clinic can give it.
It is understandable to think that soft things
are safe for your baby - stuffed animals, soft
toys for example. One of those soft things is
bumper pads sold for cribs printed with cute
designs with matching sheets.
Research through records of the Consumer Product
safety Commission by doctors at Washington
University in St. Louis uncovered 27 deaths of
infants from 1985 through 2005 due to crib
bumper pads. This is probably a falsely low
number since all such deaths are not reported.
Bumper pads caused death in 3 ways:
by the baby's face wedged against the bumper;
wedged between the bumper and the mattress; and
a tie circling the child's neck. Although the
American Academy of Pediatrics has stated that
bumper pads should be firm and not
"pillow-like", this study actually found that
the firm pads were more hazardous.
Additional comments on
Bumper Pads - Summer Newborn Care Tip
In the days when infants could get their heads
trapped between the slats of a crib, bumper pads
made sense. Since 1986, however, crib slats have
been required to be no more than 2 3/8 inches
apart. Since the danger of head entrapment is
gone, there is no good reason for parents to
cushion the sides of the crib. Parents are
afraid that children will hit their heads on the
rails or get their arms or legs stuck between
the slats and break a bone. The truth is, it
would be difficult for a small child to suffer a
serious head injury bumping into the side of the
crib and few children would have enough strength
to break a bone if stuck through the slats. If
you sleep in the same room with your infant, the
bumper pads interfere with your ability to see
the infant. In addition, when they are able to
pull themselves up, children can use the pads as
a stepping stone to be high enough to crawl over
the rail. Although bumper pads are cute, I think
the safer decision is to leave them off the
Newborn Care Tip - 2010
As temperatures and humidity rise in the spring
and summer, newborns can break out in a heat
rash, which my mother called "prickly heat".
Newborns do not sweat well. They have sweat
glands, but in hot weather the glands plug up.
This results in tiny red, raised dots in areas
of the body that are the warmest, such as the
neck, the groin, under the arms, in the fold of
the elbows or behind the knees. Occasionally
these can look like itty bitty blisters.
Sometimes the rash itches, which can make your
Prevention is the best treatment. Do not
overdress your newborn. The level of clothing in
which you are comfortable is exactly what the
baby should wear. Overdressing your newborn,
making him/her too warm, can cause or worsen a
heat rash. Keep as cool as possible. In the
hottest or most humid days stay in air
conditioning if you can.
Avoid oily or greasy creams in rash areas. Give
daily baths with lukewarm water followed by
scrupulous drying. A light dusting of powder
applied with your hand, not by shaking the
container, might help dry out the area.
The cardinal rule is that we cannot diagnose a
rash over the phone. No matter how carefully you
may try to describe it, your pediatrician will
have to see it in person. Sometimes areas of
heat rash can develop a yeast infection, which
might need treatment with a prescription cream.
If the skin is uniformly slightly red you might
be told to use an over the counter cortisone
cream for a couple of days.
Be concerned if there are large, soft blisters
with yellowish fluid inside. This may signal a
staph infection and should be treated
Newborn Care Tip
As a pediatrician, I will never say there is a
bad time to have a newborn. However, there might
be "better" times than winter. At this time of
the year, new parents have to be extra careful
exposing their newborns to lots of people as
there are a number of infections that are
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a common
cause of respiratory infections in infants and
babies. It can be mild in older child and adults
but has the potential to affect infants much
worse. There is presently no vaccine to prevent
RSV, but premature babies and babies with
underlying health conditions can be given
monthly medicine during the winter to try to
Rotavirus is an intestinal infection that gives
children severe diarrhea It is the leading cause
of severe diarrhea worldwide. The concern with
this type of infection is its potential to cause
dehydration. A vaccine does exist and can be
administered as early as 6 weeks to provide
Influenza is also common during the winter. H1NI
has decreased in prevalence in the U.S., but the
seasonal flu season has not begun yet. There is
a yearly flu vaccine available but babies cannot
receive their first dose until 6 months of age.
Therefore, be careful exposing your newborn to
lots of people, especially other children. Make
sure everyone's hands are washed before touching
your baby. Most importantly, vaccinate all
household contacts against the flu.
Newborn Care: New Year Tip
Happy new years! With a new year comes a newborn
in your life. In 2009, many families are still
recovering from our economic situation. Based on
what economists are saying, 2010 may also be
difficult financially. Preparing for your
newborn's arrival and caring for your newborn is
expensive. Furniture, clothing, food and doctor
visits - both obstetrics and pediatric,
contribute to the expenses of new parents.
Start to consider the additional costs in your
monthly budget. By planning ahead you will be
more prepared for this new adventure, which will
decrease the amount of stress new parents may
encounter. It is also important to be aware,
after the newborn arrives of your stress level
as new parents. Different levels of stress are
illustrated in my "Parental
Comfort Zones", which are important
to monitor for new parents. The key is to get
parents of the newborn to be in a healthy "Zone"
which will make the experience of newborn
parenting more enjoyable.
Family and friend support is also essential.
With a newborn on the way and after the
newborn's delivery, it is important to reach out
to family and friends who can be an instrumental
support network in reducing stress of new
you are able, 2010 is also a great time to give
to those families in need. Newborn Care 101 is
donating a portion of its proceeds of the
to The American Academy of Pediatrics - Friends
of Children Fund.
Check out our
Frequently Asked Questions
(FAQ's) section for more information which will
help reduce a new parent's stress.
Newborn Care Holiday Tip
December joys and hazards for newborns
of the good things about the holidays is
families getting together, especially with their
children. However, if you have a newborn, you
may be exposing your infant to a virus ranch.
Toddlers and preschoolers, particularly those
who are in childcare or nursery school, are
often either just coming down with something,
going through a viral infection or just getting
over one. The problem is that they shed virus
before and after you even know they are sick.
Newborn infants are not able to overcome
infections as well as older children. If you go
to family gatherings or have people to your
home, minimize your newborn’s exposure to
people. Insist that adults wash their hands
and/or use a hand sanitizer before handling your
newborn and keep small children at a distance.
They can look but not touch.
Check out our
page for more information.
Newborn Care Fall Tip
now you have probably been bombarded with
information about the swine flu and seasonal
flu. Alarmingly, about 50% of parents say they
will not get their children immunized against
the flu, although vaccination is recommended for
anyone over 6 months.
you have a newborn under 6 months, that child is
at risk for the most serious complications of
flu but cannot be immunized. Parents, siblings
and other household members and caregivers must
be immunized themselves to decrease the risk
of any newborn or child under the age of 6
months from contracting the flu. You can get
both seasonal and swine flu vaccinations at
once. Your pediatrician, local health
departments, drug stores and a variety of other
venues can take care of it. Check out our
newborn vaccinations page for more
Newborn Care Summer Tip
do you care for a newborn during hot weather?
is a question that frequently comes up in my
practice during the summer months. Newborns
can't regulate temperature like you and I can,
so it is up to us to keep the newborns
comfortable. Parents rarely under-dress their
newborns and usually err on the side of
dressing their newborns too warmly.
A newborn should be dressed in the same amount
of layers as you are dressed. This goes for both
inside and outside. This is especially important
during a newborn's sleep, as overheating during
sleep can increase the incidence of SIDS.
Another frequently asked question in my practice
is whether or not a newborn needs water, in
addition to its regular feeds during the hot
weather. The answer is no.
One of the largest
components of breast milk and formula is water.
If your newborn is urinating frequently, he or
she is adequately hydrated and does not need
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