The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
Read more »
That first baby is a big shock to the old lifestyle but it’s also kind of luxurious. There’s time for baby-rocking and eye-gazing. Life is filled with magic and surrounded by a rosy glow. But with two kids, that magic can turn into chaos pretty darn quickly. If you’re going to survive, you’d better whip yourself into shape. We’re talking about organization, sleep scheduling, and the lessons kids learn when they’re no longer an only child.
What Causes It?
The skin stretches with your expanding belly but may not shrink back to its prepregnancy state, explains OB-GYN Sean Daneshmand, M.D., a maternal-fetal specialist at San Diego Perinatal Center. Excessive weight gain can make it worse, as can a twin-or-more pregnancy; previous pregnancies and sun damage can contribute as well.
I think everybody should take probiotics. These microbial supplements boost the “good” bacteria in our intestinal tracts, improving our gastrointestinal health and enhancing our overall immunity. Current thinking is that even babies can benefit from them; ask your
doctor what she recommends.
Because the influenza virus can be dangerous, the American Academy of Pediatrics and virtually all other official medical groups recommend the flu shot every fall or winter for children 6 months of age and older. I almost never recommend getting the shot; I just don’t think it’s that effective. (Each year, the vaccine is formulated for the particular strains of influenza virus health experts think will strike that season, and it often misses the mark.) Instead, I believe the more important approach is to keep people from getting sick
in the first place by staying healthy.
First off, it might be helpful to understand why she’s being so possessive: She feels displaced by a younger sibling or in competition with an older one. She wants and needs that special alone time with you, which can be very elusive in a busy family. So promise and deliver that time every day.
When your baby is nursing well (usually by 2 to 3 weeks old), give her a bottle at one feeding—or, better yet, ask your partner to do it in the wee hours so you can get some sleep, Karp says. Don’t wait longer than 4 weeks, or she’ll be more likely to refuse it. Also try not to give more than one bottle per day; switching back and forth too much may cause nipple confusion. If you hope to breastfeed for months to come—and experts recommend continuing through the first year—beware of topping off your nursing sessions with a bottle.
Don’t wait. A good occupational therapy evaluation will give you a lot of information and can be fun for your son. As often as not, this type of visit is not only 100 percent reassuring, but you’ll also get tips for encouraging and recognizing normal growth and development. If there is a problem with your son’s motor skills, early diagnosis and therapy can make a huge difference.
Since your baby had some breathing problems at birth, he is more prone to developing them during the first year or two of life. To keep him from being exposed to germs that could cause an infection, limit his contact with anyone but family and close friends as much as possible during his first winter (when viruses are most rampant), and have people wash their hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before holding him. Also discourage all preschoolers from coming into contact with your son (barring siblings, of course), as they are notorious germ carriers.
Painful, cracked nipples are most often caused by an incorrect latch, Morton says. So when you breastfeed, make sure your baby is positioned properly: on her side, with your bellies touching. Also ensure that she takes your entire nipple and a good portion of the areola in her mouth. If adjusting your nursing style doesn’t help, consult a lactation expert ASAP; visit the International Lactation Consultant Association at ilca.org for a referral.
Because breast milk is somewhat lacking in vitamin D, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all breastfed babies be given a daily supplement of 400 IU to prevent rickets, a serious bone disease. If your baby is getting some formula—which is fortified with vitamin D—she’d have to drink 27 to 32 ounces a day to meet her daily requirement, so she may or may not need vitamin drops. Ask your pediatrician.
This is a common concern among new breastfeeding moms, because unlike with a bottle, it’s difficult to tell just how much milk your baby is drinking. But here’s the good news: If you’re nursing frequently and effectively and taking care of yourself, you shouldn’t have trouble making enough milk.
Frequent nursing is the best way to ease engorgement, which typically occurs 72 hours after giving birth and can last up to a week, or until your milk production system adjusts to the job at hand. Meantime, aim to breastfeed eight to 12 times a day, or about every two to three hours, for the first several weeks.
Many a mom has heard that beans, broccoli, chili peppers, garlic and onions should be avoided like the plague while breastfeeding. But if you devoured these foods during pregnancy, they probably won’t bother your baby now, says Ruth Lawrence, M.D., a professor of pediatrics at the University of Rochester School of Medicine in New York and chairwoman of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Section on Breastfeeding.