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Newborn Care TipsNewborn 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 newborn. 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 TipsNewborn 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 newborn.

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.

Summer Tip
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 covered. 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 68-72 degrees. 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 my practice.

Newborn Care TipsNewborn 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 TipsNewborn 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 vaccinated!

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 hemophilia. 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.

Newborn Care TipsHow 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 insurance.

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 pediatrician Continued Here.

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Newborn Care TipsSpring 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 flu. 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.

Newborn Care TipsLove 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 TipsNewborn 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 or two vaccinations, 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 newborn supplies 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 preserve heat. Click here for more information on how to protect you and your newborn/family during the holiday season.

Newborn Care TipsNewborn 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 media page.

Newborn Care TipsBack 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 parents. 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.

Newborn Care TipsBumper Pads
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 crib.

Newborn Care TipsSpring 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 baby irritable.

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 immediately.

Newborn Care TipsWinter 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 prevalent. 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 prevent infection.

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 protection. 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 TipsNewborn 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 parents. If 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 newborn video 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 TipsNewborn Care Holiday Tip - December joys and hazards for newborns
One 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 newborn vaccinations page for more information.

Newborn Care TipsNewborn Care Fall Tip
By 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.

If 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 information.

Newborn Care Summer Tip - 2009
How do you care for a newborn during hot weather?
This 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 excess fluid/water.


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