When an infant needs a routine-but-painful medical procedure, such as a vaccination or blood draw, nobody’s happy. “It troubles parents, it stresses health care providers, and the adults transmit their anxiety to the baby,” says Neil Schechter, M.D., director of the Pain Relief Program at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford. Happily, some simple techniques can reduce stress and tension for everyone without the need for medications.
Don’t expect your baby to be able to see much when she makes her arrival. “A newborn’s vision is very poor—between 20/200 and 20/400,” says Los Angeles pediatrician Cara Natterson, M.D., author of Your Newborn Head to Toe: Everything You Want to Know About Your Baby’s Health Through the First Year (Little, Brown and Co.).
By the time your child is 5, more than 30 percent of her classmates will have tooth decay, which can be well advanced even by age 3. “Early preventive care is the key to keeping your baby cavity-free,” says Elizabeth A. Shick, D.D.S., M.P.H., assistant professor of pediatric dentistry at the University of Colorado, Denver School of Dental Medicine.
New parents obsess over the contents of their babies’ diapers, but most of it is normal. In newborns, it can range from one thick, pale-yellow bowel movement per day to more liquid but grainy bright yellow squirts after each feeding, says Andy Clark, M.D., a pediatrics expert on JustAnswer.com. Here’s the first month’s poop scoop:
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.