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.
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.
I guess it’s no small coincidence that I’ve chosen the day after our nation’s biggest food holiday to size up my post-baby body. And let me tell you: It’s not pretty.
The photo you see here is where I’m starting from. Five weeks ago, my belly was in the stratosphere. I wish I were brave enough to post a photo of what it looks like now. Because there really are no words.
But it may have even more benefits:
Proponents say that just five to 10 minutes of gentle touch daily can stimulate your baby’s digestion, boost immunity and prepare her for deeper, more restful sleep. Convinced? Here are some do’s and don’ts from Teresa Kirkpatrick-Ramsey, founder of Baby’s First Massage, a certification program in Dayton, Ohio
Prenatal diet Children of mothers who ate apples and fish during pregnancy were less likely to develop asthma and eczema, according to researchers in the Netherlands and Scotland. Low-mercury varieties of fish with the fewest chemicals include wild Pacific salmon and farm-raised trout, says Anatoly Belilovsky, M.D., a pediatrician specializing in asthma and allergies in Brooklyn, N.Y. There’s also a link between low vitamin D levels in mothers and childhood asthma.
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.
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.
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.
Parents tend to overtreat kids under 6 with anti-fever medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, giving too much too often and putting their children at risk for liver damage, according to a survey conducted at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
Probably not. It sounds like your baby has a cephalohematoma, a bruise between the skull bones and the overlying tissue. It’s usually caused by a hard delivery, or by a forceps or vacuum delivery, and should heal within a few weeks. As it does, the blood will calcify from the edges first, leading to a volcano-like bump with a soft center.
Ten years ago, Harvey Karp was a Los Angeles-area pediatrician known primarily for his gentle, child-centered approach to parenting. Now, thanks to the phenomenal success of Karp’s The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD and book, his name has entered the national lexicon. Though best known as the way to calm fussy babies, his techniques also play an important role in helping to prevent child abuse and postpartum depression (PPD). “Teach parents how to soothe their babies,” Karp says, “and you eliminate the No. 1 trigger for PPD and shaken baby syndrome: crying.”