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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Eczema is an allergic skin rash often triggered by substances in the baby's diet. Before you resort to using cortisone cream, try dietary changes: If your baby drinks formula, talk to your doctor about trying a soy or hypoallergenic brand. If you're breastfeeding, consider eliminating potential allergens from your diet--the most problematic are dairy, eggs, peanuts, wheat and citrus. In the meantime, fewer and shorter baths in lukewarm water can bring relief, as can using a "baby-friendly" laundry soap such as Dreft or Method and avoiding scented lotions and creams.
I'd say no. I've seen thousands of babies in my practice, including many who outweighed your daughter by 5 or 6 pounds. They looked pretty fat, actually, but all of them grew into normal-sized children. Well, there may have been a few exceptions in the families who believed potato chips and ice cream were suitable daily snacks, but that's another story.
Probably not enough to cause your baby any concern. If you were to exercise very heavily, your body would produce sufficient lactic acid to affect the taste of your milk a bit, but even so, your baby would likely not reject it. Normal exercise, on the other hand--running a few miles, hiking for an hour, or playing a game of soccer--will cause minimal lactic acid to accumulate in your body and thus no change in your milk's taste.
"Encourage him to switch," says Jodi Mindell, Ph.D., associate director of the Sleep Disorders Center, Children's Hospital in Philadelphia and author of Sleeping Through the Night: How Infants, Toddlers and Their Parents Can Get a Good Night's Sleep, revised edition (HarperCollins). "At night, keep the lights low, and move slowly when you feed him. Be boring. Make sure he gets bright light in the morning, and keep him as busy as you can during the day. Make noise. Play with him." In other words, during the day, be interesting.
"If you are doing this and your baby is sleeping all night, don't worry," says Jennifer Waldburger, L.C.S.W., co-owner of the Los Angeles-based consultation service Sleepy Planet. "After about four months, if he's waking up, you probably need to let him do the last little bit of falling asleep on his own. You can still rock him as part of the wind-down process, but put him down drowsy, not asleep. When a baby is put to sleep a certain way and wakes up, he checks to see if everything is the same as it was when he went to sleep," Waldburger explains.
Look to your baby for his evolving schedule after about three months; before that, anything goes. "You don't have to be rigid," says Jodi Mindell, Ph.D., associate director of the Sleep Disorders Center, Children's Hospital in Philadelphia and author of Sleeping Through the Night: How Infants, Toddlers and Their Parents Can Get a Good Night's Sleep, revised edition (HarperCollins). "But some structure helps both parents and baby. By 9 months of age, most babies naturally move to napping at around 9 a.m.
You should anticipate the future, according to Jodi Mindell, Ph.D., associate director of the Sleep Disorders Center, Children's Hospital in Philadelphia and author of Sleeping Through the Night: How Infants, Toddlers and Their Parents Can Get a Good Night's Sleep, revised edition (HarperCollins). "If you want the baby in his crib by a year, the best time to start making the change is at 3 months of age—before habits are firmly established," she says. That said, small steps are best. "Take a week—or several—and do the baby's bedtime ritual in his room," Mindell says.
"Definitely," says Jennifer Waldburger, L.C.S.W., co-owner of the Los Angeles-based consultation service Sleepy Planet. "Babies are sensitive to a mother's cues. If you're not sleeping, you're more tired and stressed and your baby picks up on those vibes."
Jennifer Waldburger, L.C.S.W., co-owner of the Los Angeles-based consultation service Sleepy Planet, and other experts suggest that when he's about 5 months old, you can experiment with letting your baby cry a bit at night. (That does not mean letting him cry it out for hours.) Try starting with five minutes, Waldburger suggests; if that's too hard to take, pick him up after three minutes. "It sounds cruel not to pick up a crying baby," she says, "but we find that teaching babies how to calm themselves is really kinder in the long run.
Applying sunscreen to babies younger than 6 months is generally not recommended because it can be absorbed through their thin skin and nobody knows for certain if it's harmless or not. At this age the best sun protection is to keep your baby in the shade and covered in loose clothing and a hat with a brim to shield his eyes and face.
Contrary to common belief, which blames respiratory allergies for symptoms that are actually caused by lingering colds, allergies are relatively rare in children and even more so in infants. In fact, it takes several years of exposure for a child to develop a reaction to an allergen like pollen.
While it has never been proven that immersing a baby in water early will teach her to swim sooner, getting her used to the water is a good idea. What's more, taking your baby to a swimming pool can be a lot of fun for both of you, as babies love kicking and splashing in the water (provided it is warm enough). In case you're worried, the chlorine is perfectly safe for young infants. Even swallowing pool water won't make your baby sick, precisely because the chlorine is a disinfectant. But keep sessions short to avoid overstimulation.