Newborn Baby | Fit Pregnancy

Newborn Baby

A Guide To The First Six Weeks

“It was much harder than I expected.” This is a common refrain among new mothers, whose lives are often a blur of feedings, diaper changes, dirty dishes, smelly laundry and crying. (The crying baby and the crying mommy, that is.) But you will get through it.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Deborah Blum was worried. Already she had soothed her screaming 6-month-old child, Marcus, back to bed — twice. At 3 a.m., when Marcus woke a third time, that was it. With dad, baby and diaper bag in tow, she sped off to the hospital. Within an hour, they had the diagnosis: an ear infection.

Upon Arrival

The first meeting of mother and child can only be described as magical. Both stranger and close confidant, your baby blinks and stares at you as though he’s surprised to finally meet you, as you are to meet him. After waiting 40 weeks for this moment, you’ll be understandably anxious for some quality time together. But your baby’s caregivers will be equally eager to make sure your child is healthy. Luckily, doctors have found a way to make everyone happy.

Fearless First Year

For many women, pregnancy and delivery are small potatoes compared with the sheer panic that sets in once their baby enters the world. While it’s natural to be anxious about mastering your new responsibility, the hospital is not making a mistake by sending you home with your newborn, says New York pediatrician Michel Cohen, M.D., author of The New Basics:  A-to-Z Baby & Child Care for the Modern Parent (ReganBooks, 2004).

Teary Eyes


Your son has a blocked tear duct. The first line of therapy is to massage the duct five to 10 times each day (use your little finger to gently stroke the inside corner of the eye, right next to the nose, using a circular motion). You'll also need to flush the eye several times a day. If possible, use expressed breast milk, as it contains antibodies to ward off infection. You also can use saline solution (make sure it has no thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative). If infection does set in--usually characterized by a red or swollen lower eyelid--call your pediatrician.

Smoking While Breastfeeding


No! It's true that if you smoke, nicotine and other garbage will end up in your milk and may cause harm to your baby, such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. (Secondhand smoke isn't good for your child, either, so if you're going to smoke, make sure you do it when you're not around her.) Also, do not smoke two hours prior to breastfeeding, if possible. But the benefits of breastfeeding--higher IQ and reduced risk of ear infections, diarrhea and some childhood cancers, to name just a few--far outweigh the negative aspects of smoking while nursing.

Breastmilk Toxins


Absolutely not. Granted, breast milk does contain trace amounts of the same chemicals found in cow's milk; our air, food and water supply; our very own bodies; and, yes, in formula. Yet it is still the "cleanest," best food you can feed your baby. And because of its newest additives, while formula may seem better for your baby than breast milk, it's not. So don't let your concern keep you from breastfeeding. Just eat the healthiest foods possible and drink clean water (bottled or filtered, if necessary).

Slow Weight Gain


No. I'd like to make three important points: First, children grow at different rates. Second, my impression is that most babies start to "resemble" the family's body type in the first year of life. Third, studies show that breastfed babies tend to be leaner than their formula-fed counterparts.

Heart Murmur Worry


A heart murmur is a quiet extra sound that usually comes from turbulent blood flow through a tiny hole between the heart chambers or from the sound blood makes as it flows through the valves.

More than 50 percent of children have audible heart murmurs at some point in childhood; almost all of these conditions are innocent. An experienced pediatrician usually can determine that this type of murmur will cause no harm and that the child does not need to see a cardiologist.

Preventing RSV


RSV is one of the nastiest respiratory viruses around, so I'm pretty comfortable recommending preventative shots for preemies and higher-risk babies, such as those with cardiac disease, immune system problems or asthma. While it rarely endangers healthy full-term babies or toddlers, they still can be at risk. So follow these prevention tips for all children:
•Make sure everyone washes his hands before touching your baby.
•Avoid people who are coughing and sneezing, and minimize your childs exposure to toddlers.
•Stay out of crowds.