Feeling frenzied all the time can take a toll on your fertility. Here’s how you can chillax and boost your odds of baby-making success.
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Here’s one part of new motherhood you might not have thought about: what to do if your baby poops in the tub. As unpleasant as the prospect may be, it’s wise to have a game plan, says Atlanta pediatrician Jennifer Shu, M.D. “It’s common for babies, especially newborns, to have a bowel movement in the bath,” she says. “The water is warm and soothing, which causes the intestinal muscles to relax.”
Those sounds are probably caused by sliding tendons, which happen when soft tissue (tendons) interacts with hard tissue (bones). It’s very common for a baby or toddler to make clicking and popping noises—similar to the sound of cracking one’s knuckles—in the spine and around the shoulders, knees and ankles.
Your newborn spikes a fever. Or, your 1-year-old wheezes heavily after tasting peanut butter. Suddenly, after a call to the pediatrician, you’re heading to the emergency room. It can be frightening, but there are ways to prepare, such as researching which local hospitals have urgent-care pediatricians on staff. Here’s what else to know before you go:
“From the time you are born, your body is bombarded with thousands of different microbes, some of which can cause illness,” says Jon S. Abramson, M.D., professor and chairman of pediatrics at Wake Forest University Health Sciences in Winston-Salem, N.C., and a member of the World Health Organization Strategic Advisory Group of Experts for Immunizations. “Vaccines protect infants from these serious diseases.”
She could. Clogged tear ducts, or nasolacrimal duct obstructions, are very common during the first year of life—so common, in fact, that I see dozens of babies with perpetually runny eyes. These obstructions are almost always perfectly harmless and nothing to worry about, even though the resultant tears may give you pause.
Follow these simple, doctor-recommended tips for keeping your baby clean and comfy.
It’s disconcerting to see a newborn with a red, blotchy face, but baby acne is a common and harmless condition.
Care tip: Wash your baby’s face daily with a mild baby soap.
When it comes to mother-child bonding, embrace what comes naturally.
Simple activities, such as a post-bath foot rub or playing where’s-your-bellybutton, not only establish a lifelong foundation of love and trust, they also help your child’s brain develop. Here are five activities for you and your baby to do together:
As any new parent can attest, babies are messy creatures, and spit-up and diaper leaks can lead to some pretty grimy crib sheets. Changing those linens can be an exercise in frustration: Because of the crib rails, it’s hard to reach in and grab a corner of the sheet; plus, once you do, the whole mattress can pull up and jam against the bumper. Here, two experts share their tips for easier changes.
Ditch The Bumper
Jaundice is caused by the buildup in the blood and skin of bilirubin, a byproduct released when red blood cells are broken down in the body. It can occur within 24 hours of birth or gradually appear over the first few days. Occurring in more than half of newborns, it’s easy to spot: your baby’s skin and eyes will have a yellow cast.
Feel silly talking to your newborn? You shouldn’t. “Exposure to intonational patterns, as well as the repetition of common words, helps infants learn to communicate,” says Mellisa Essenburg, M.S., C.C.C.-S.L.P., a speech pathologist in San Diego. Chatting with your baby won’t help her talk sooner, but it will support her ability to say words when she’s developmentally ready (around 1 year). It’s also a great way to bond with your baby from Day One. Convinced?
Here are some fun ways to help your child develop the gift of gab:
As exciting as new milestones can be, they also can present new challenges. “Around the age of 5 or 6 months, when your baby has mastered rolling over, she’ll want to explore and see what’s going on, not stay still,” says Ari Brown, M.D., a pediatrician in Austin, Texas, and co-author of 2007’s Baby 411. “This can make diapering a chore.” Try the following mom-tested strategies to keep a busy baby still—and you clean—while cleaning a messy bum.
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.
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.