Trying to get pregnant? Make sure you know the bottom line on baby-making—what you don't understand can affect your bub-to-be's health.
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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.
Most new moms suffer from what I call the “post-baby belly blues.” The good news is that you can firm and restrengthen your abdominal muscles by doing core exercises that target your transverse abdominis (the deepest abdominal muscle), such as crunches, pelvic tilts and planks. [For descriptions of these exercises, go to fitpregnancy.com/postnatalworkouts.] Correct technique is key.
There is no doubt that finding time for sex can be tricky with a baby (of any age) at home. But this is when it becomes even more important to use your time wisely. When you know your baby is asleep, make your move. If you can arrange for someone to care for your baby for a few hours, go out and have a romantic date—or you can skip the dinner or movie and head to a hotel instead. If your baby has a regular sleep routine, plan around that. Set the alarm a little early and have sex in the morning, or in the shower, even on the bathroom floor.
The oral version of this medicine, Accutane, passes into breast milk and should never be used by nursing moms. The cream versions are known as Retin-A or Renova; like virtually every other topical cream or lotion, their transfer into breast milk is zero, or nearly zero, so they can safely be used.
I once asked my favorite child psychologist, the great Dr. Fay Levinson, for her advice on this fairly common situation. “Top and tail,” she told me. In other words, keep it simple and keep it brief: Wash her bottom and hair and forget the rest. Also bathe her only when necessary.
First, let me say that all medications have the potential to cause allergic reactions, so you should think twice before reaching for any medicine bottle. If a child has a stubbed toe, it should be iced and elevated first; this may help avoid the need for painkillers. Likewise, teething pain can be treated with a frozen washcloth (to avoid damaging the gums, first rub the cloth well to remove rough edges; also consider putting a bit of breast milk on it to make it taste familiar), cold teething toys and lots of TLC.