The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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The most common cause of this flattening is positional, so it's a good idea to change the position of your baby's head while she sleeps. Having her sleep with you in a safe family-bed environment (no fluffy comforters or pillows, and no gaps between the bed and the wall) makes it easy to change her head position from time to time. If your baby sleeps in a crib, place her head at opposite ends of the crib on alternating nights to position her head differently.
No. "It takes at least three to six months for your genitals to get back to normal," says Laura Berman, Ph.D., director of the Berman Center in Chicago and co-author of For Women Only (Henry Holt & Co.). A perineal tear or episiotomy can cause a tight feeling in the vagina, which can persist even after the site has healed (usually four to six weeks after a vaginal birth). To help combat the tightness, you or your partner can gently stretch the area using fingers that have been well lubricated with K-Y Ultragel or Astroglide (available at drugstores).
Nipple confusion can be a problem for many breastfed babies if they are given a bottle too early, even if it's filled with breast milk. Here's why: Infants coordinate their jaw, cheek and swallowing muscles in a specific way when they are breastfeeding. With a bottle, their feeding patterns are completely different--a bottle, for instance, gushes milk into a baby's mouth, and the child needs to move his tongue to control the flow. Not so with the breast.
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.
Reflux is a fairly common condition in which food and digestive juices back up into the esophagus from the stomach, often causing excessive spitting-up and, rarely, vomiting. Since your baby is breastfed, you may want to try eliminating such common allergens as dairy, eggs, wheat and peanuts from your diet; some women say they've had good success with this approach. If it doesn't help, your doctor may choose to prescribe medication for your infant.
The average newborn sleeps a total of 14 to 18 hours a day, older infants from 13 to 14 hours, 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). "The best way to judge whether or not your baby is getting enough sleep is to look at his behavior throughout the day," Mindell says. "If he sleeps 11 hours and is perky and happy, that's enough."
"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.
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.
I started losing a ton of hair a few weeks after my baby was born. What causes this, and when will it grow back? "You can thank estrogen for both your lustrous locks during pregnancy and the greater-than-normal hair loss after childbirth," says dermatologist Debra Jaliman, M.D., assistant clinical professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. Normally, your hair has three cycles: growing, resting and falling out. During pregnancy, high estrogen levels cause nearly all your hair to be in the growing phase.
Yes—as long as it's in moderation. Since anything you eat or drink can be transferred to your baby through your breast milk, you do need to watch what you put in your body.
Most new parents can agree: There's probably nothing scarier than your baby's first fever. Actually, anytime your child has a high temperature. Babies can't complain, so a fever is often your baby's way of letting you know something's wrong. But according to health experts, the treatment for your baby all depends, The New York Times reports.
It sounds like she has a hemangioma, a big name for a collection of small blood vessels near the surface of the skin. Though its appearance may be frightening because it looks so fragile and "angry," it's not painful or dangerous.
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 such infections, 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 them 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.