Valuable Tips in Choosing a Child Car Seat

June 19, 2009 by  
Filed under Newborn Care

All parents agree that keeping their newborn safe and protected is the number one goal. While there are many ways of accomplishing this, choosing the right child car seat is without doubt one of the more important decisions. There are many options on the market so to make the process less complicated we have provided some valuable tips.

For one thing, you need to look at the age and weight of the child. It is important to understand that any child one year or younger should always be securely placed in a car seat that is made for the age, size, and weight of the child. Additionally, anytime the car seat is used, it should always be in the back seat and facing toward the back, never the front.

If your child is between the ages of one and four, the average weight would be anywhere from 20 to 40 pounds so keep this in mind. Height would also be important: obviously a child at four would be taller than that of a child at age two in most instances. The older the child is the more options you will have for placement of the car seat. For instance, once a child is older, he or she may be able to have the car seat facing forward although still in the back seat.

Parents often worry about being inconvenienced in needing to buy different car seats. However, there are new models on the market, some that are specially designed to convert from a rear facing to forward facing seat. Of course, the child’s age, height, and weight would still be considered.

One thing we wanted to address is the ongoing confusion between a child’s seat and a child’s car seat. This might sound simple but for new parents, things like this can be confusing. Simply put, a child’s seat is a carrier in which the baby is placed and carried around whereas a car seat is an actual seat used whenever the baby is in the car.

Interestingly, manufacturers have come up with innovative designs that now allow a car seat to be strapped securely into a car seat. As you can imagine, this offers convenience for the parent while still keeping the child safe.

Just remember that any seat used in a car has to meet strict legal standards. The best option is what they call a five-point harness attachment. With this, you would be able to secure your child in five different places to include hips, shoulders, and legs. This type of car seat is comfortable but it also adds a higher level of protection.

You might also consider choosing a car seat with an overhead shield, which is a padded cover that can easily be rotated over the baby. Another type of system similar to this is the T-Shield, which is a padded design that attaches to the shoulder straps.

We strongly suggest you consider car seats with a tether on top. With this design, the tether attached from the top portion of the car seat to an anchor point. As a result, the child is secured even more. The best design has a LATCH system; otherwise known as the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children model. With this, no car seat belts are needed but the child is very secure. Although the tether system is not available in all cars, if your car was made any time after September 2002, then the tether system is in place.

Of course, having the right car seat is not only safer and comfortable for the child but also far more convenient for the parent.

Since every child is built differently, it is imperative that you work with a professional when choosing a car seat so you get the exact seat that will work best for your child.

When buying, look for a car seat that will keep your child safe and secure, but also one that gives you a little extra room for blankets. This way, when you make a trip across town, or to visit relatives your baby is more comfortable. You will even find that some of the newer car seat designs come with a ravel vest that simply buckles in around the child for the ultimate in comfort.

You want a car seat that is easy to insert the straps and make any necessary adjustments. It can be a challenge to go through the routine of securing a child in a car seat but never give in to shortcuts. The new car seat designs being sold are made so the child is perfectly safe but also so the child can be strapped in quickly, making it easier for the parent.

Taking Proper Care of the Umbilical Cord

June 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Newborn Care

Once your baby is born, nature will take care of many things to include healing of the umbilical cord. While pregnant, the umbilical cord plays a vital role by supplying the fetus with nutrients needed for growth and development. Immediately after delivery, the umbilical cord is clamped of, cut, and then tied off. Your newborn does not feel anything since the nerve fibers in the cord cannot feel pain.

Things you should do in caring for the umbilical cord.

Most often, an umbilical cord will change color once the baby is delivered. Sometimes, the cord will have a green color, sometimes black or brown, and other times, bluish. These different colors are perfectly normal during the first week or two until the cord will eventually dry up and fall off.

The good news is that all you need to do during this timeframe is keep the area around the umbilical cord clean and protected so nothing bumps or touches it.

Keep in mind that the skin around the umbilical cord is sensitive, meaning only slight pressure can make your baby feel pain. Although newborns always have sensitive skin, this area is extremely delicate. You do not need to do anything special, just be a little extra gentle when changing diapers and clothing.

The goal in keeping the umbilical cord clean is that you do not want your baby getting an infection. Remember, for both adults and children, the skin is a protective barrier, keeping viruses, fungi, bacteria, and a variety of organisms out so the immune system is not attacked.

The only difference between an adult and a child is that the baby’s skin is still being developed within the first year of life. Therefore, your newborn does not have the same degree of antibodies needed to battle germs. Keeping the umbilical cord area clean and dry is the best line of defense against infection.

Typically, you would never need to use alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to clean the umbilical cord area and in fact, most doctors highly discourage this in that it can cause the skin to dry out and the alcohol might be painful to the baby. The cord will fall off on its own when it is ready to there is no need to try to speed up the process.

Remember that even newborns get dirty. They spit up, urinate and have bowel movements, and so on but for umbilical cord care, all you need is a soft, clean and moist cloth. Once you have wiped the area around the cord clean, you can pat it dry or let it air dry for a minute.

If you notice any dried blood or pus that needs more than a gentle wiping with a moist cloth, you can use antibacterial soap and a moistened cotton ball or swab. The only recommendation we have is that when choosing the cloth, choose all cotton, which is soft.

You might find that the umbilical cords become a little wetter than anticipated. In this case, simply leave the baby’s diaper and clothing off so the area can get air or if needed, use a blow dryer with the heat on cool.

One of the most important things when it comes to caring for a baby’s umbilical cord is to position clothing and diapers so they are not touching. If the cord is bent, it can cause discomfort to the baby and it will likely take longer to heal. We also recommend that you change your baby’s diapers more often so moisture levels are reduced, thus less chance of infection.

Additionally, to bathe your baby during the cord healing phase, you should only give a sponge bath, not an actual bath. If the baby were to accidentally get wet, do not panic. All you need to do is use cotton swabs to soak up as much of the moisture possible and then allow the area to air dry or use the hair dryer.

Often, parents will try to hurry the process of the umbilical cord healing by removing small pieces of dead skin but do not give into temptation. This is not only painful to the baby, but it also increases risk of infection and skin tearing.

Reasons Breastfeeding is so Beneficial

June 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Newborn Care

During the time a fetus spends in the womb, he/she receives all then nutrients needed via the mother’s umbilical cord, which includes various compounds that help develop a strong immune system. Although the baby’s immune system is relative strong at birth, it is not yet to the point where it can offer full protection. Nature takes care of this in the form of breast milk, which is rich in a substance called colostrum.

For about two days, the mother’s breast will fill with colostrum so as the baby suckles, he or she is getting a ton of nutrients. The compounds found in breast milk offer many benefits to include finishing the development of the baby’s immune system. The colostrum has a yellowish coloring, expressed through the nipple. Loaded with carbohydrates, fats, white blood cells, and other nutrients, the baby is getting everything needed for a strong start in life.

One of the most important antibodies that breast milk contains is immunoglobulins, as well as proteins. The reason the antibodies are important is that they help the baby fight off bacteria, viruses, fungi, and a variety of organisms that could lead to disease. However, breast milk antibodies also work by coating the gastrointestinal tract so any bacteria existing within the baby’s stomach will not be able to reach the bloodstream. Additionally, small cells called macrophages exist in breast milk, which encapsulates and washes out germs known to cause illness.

As you can see, breast milk is a single solution that provides the newborn with all the nutrients needed to further develop.

Interestingly, while most adults watch the foods they eat to avoid as many fats as possible, for newborn babies, fats are actually essential to the growth of the nervous system and regulation of the hormonal system.

Breast milk also contains carbohydrates as mentioned, which is vital for energy. Typically, adults trying to keep weight off will stay away from carbohydrates but in newborns, they get the perfect balance of carbohydrates.

Over the years, many studies have been conducted specific to breast milk and all agree that nature’s solution is the best solution. For this reason, most doctors will encourage soon-to-be mothers to consider breastfeeding. Of course, some have difficulty with breastfeeding, which is where quality formula comes into play. However, what studies show is that for newborns that started life on breast milk, there is a significant decrease of infectious diseases. Even infant diabetes is dramatically reduced and breastfed babies tend to have fewer doctor visits.

While breastfeeding is highly beneficial to the baby, it also has benefits to the mother.

Whether a woman plans to breastfeed or not, her breasts will go through the process of preparing for birth and the feeding of the newborn. Therefore, if a woman cannot or chooses not to breastfeed, she is still going to have swollen, tender breasts. Usually, the woman will need to express the milk and then placed on medication to stop milk production. For women who breastfeed, pumping milk is a great way to store milk used while the parents are out and the baby is with the grandparents.

One of the greatest benefits is that nursing a newborn offers mother and baby special bonding time. This is an opportunity to cuddle and experience quiet time alone.

One of the newest discoveries is that women that breastfeed are at lower risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Additionally, after giving birth, the body’s return to a menstrual cycle and ovulation is delayed when breastfeeding. Having a baby is hard work so not having to deal with a menstrual cycle for a while is helpful. Keep in mind, if there is no menstrual cycle, the chance of getting pregnant lowers but breastfeeding with a period does not protect a woman from pregnancy.

If you want to give your baby the best start in life, we strongly suggest you consider breastfeeding. Not only will your newborn benefit, you will too. Nature has put everything the baby needs in one place. Breast milk is convenient, always ready to feed, and it is always at the perfect temperature.

Overcoming the Problem of Diaper Rash

June 3, 2009 by  
Filed under Newborn Care

It is common for babies to get diaper rash, especially during the first two years of life while wearing diapers. Some babies will only get a mild case while others get a severe case. Not only is the genital area affected, some babies will also experience redness, swelling, and pain on the legs and buttocks. In fact, many babies will have skin warm to the touch from the irritation.

Keep in mind that while diaper wearing is one cause, a baby can get this type of rash from anything irritating the skin. After all, babies have very delicate and sensitive skin.

Dirty diapers, whether dirtied or wet are notorious for causing diaper rash. While pure urine is not an infectious liquid, it does mix with various organisms and thus, the rash. For feces, bacteria are common so if a baby has a dirty diaper for any extended length of time, diaper rash would again be likely.

Although there are different forms of bacteria that could be a problem for diaper rash, one in particular causes the most issue, yeast. Yeast is a fungus that grows any place that is warm and moist such as a wet diaper. Of course, the diaper does not have to be wet for yeast to grow. All it needs is a place with high humidity and in the case of babies it grows in the folds of the skin where moisture is common.

However, diaper rash can be the result of other things.

For example, if you have recently changed your baby’s diet, he or she may have more bowel movements, which increases the risk of irritation. Even using new laundry soap can be a culprit. Just as adults have sensitivity to certain things, so do babies so if you have recently started laundering his or her diapers and clothing in a new soap or you are using a different fabric softener and you notice diaper rash, this might be the problem.

By nature, some babies tend to be sensitive to things in general. For instance, if your baby’s diaper is too tight, chaffing could develop.

Although you could spend a lot of money buying high priced products from the drug store, you will be amazed at how many home remedies actually work better for getting rid of diaper rash.

We suggest you start by washing off your baby using mild soap and water, followed by drying the skin completely. Additionally, change the baby’s diapers more often. Then during every change, use a clean, warm washcloth to wipe off the genital area to get rid of any leftover feces or urine, dry, and diaper.

One thing you never want to do even if you have been advised to is use alcohol on your baby’s skin. This is very strong and it can lead to irritation and dryness. Instead, after washing your baby after diapering, use a clean, soft cloth to dry or allow your baby to air dry for a few minutes.

If you have a baby that is prone to diaper rash breakouts, we also recommend that you look at the type of diapers being used. In this case, you want to stay away from diapers with elastic bands around the legs or waist and for toddlers, training or outer pants with elastic as this will not allow any ventilation and the tightness causes chaffing.

If necessary, you can talk to your doctor or the pharmacist about buying an antifungal cream. Most of these ointments can be purchased over the counter but your doctor may want to call in a prescription, which is probably stronger. Of course, any concerns about diaper rash should be discussed with the pediatrician.

The good news is that you can control diaper rash, getting rid of it completely within a day or two with proper care. However, if the diaper rash disappears but returns quickly, talk to your doctor. Then, if you notice any seepage or pus, contact the doctor immediately to get the infection under control.

Making Travel Time with a Newborn Easier

June 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Newborn Care

Having a baby is hard work so after arriving home, most parents are spent. Before you know it, the time will come when grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends want to see the newest member f the family, which means taking a road or air trip. Of course, you will also be loading up the newborn into the car as you make trips to the pediatrician, to the store for diapers, and so on. Most doctors will recommend that new parents not travel with a baby three months or less but when you get to the point of traveling, we feel these tips will make the process easier and more enjoyable.

Typically, new parents start planning for a trip with a new baby and soon realize this is a major ordeal. You would think gathering a few items would not be difficult but it is always more involved. We want to offer encouragement that regardless of the type of travel you take, car, air, bus, or train; you can make choices that take some of the load off.

As you begin packing, you will obviously pack things such as diapers, bottled, pacifier, and other necessities but other supplies should be taken on your trip. For instance, if your baby is starting to teeth, be sure you pack a gel teething ring, as well as pain relief ointment that can be rubbed on the gums. Aspirin, petroleum jelly, lotion, and even sunscreen will come in handy.

Of course, you want to make sure you take both cool and warm clothing items. This way, no matter the climate, you can dress your baby in layers. After all, you may be heading to a destination where the weather is predicted to be warm, only to arrive finding that a cool front came through. Another consideration is that while you might keep your home at 75 degrees, the home where you are heading may prefer 68, a big difference for a little baby.

Now, you can travel by air but if your baby is still very young, we recommend that you talk to the doctor first. Most pediatricians feel that a child should be a minimum of one year old before flying. The reason is that the air is recycled so there are a lot of germs, the pressurized cabin while taking off and landing can cause earaches, and overall, babies do not do well on planes when little. Another obstacle specific to flying would be for mothers that breastfeed in that finding a private place is difficult.

Typically, new parents will choose to travel by car. In this case, just make sure that you have the proper car seat so you know your child is 100% safe. The car seat should always be positioned in the back seat, facing backwards. If you like, one parent can sit in the back seat with the baby. The reason this is so important is that if a child is in the front seat facing forward and the airbag were to deploy, it could cause serious harm or even death.

You also want to make sure that you bring snacks and beverages on the trip for the baby and adults. If your baby is three months or older, he or she is going to get hungry often and trying to explain that you will feed the baby soon means nothing. For this, make sure you have formula prepared and it might be worth the investment to buy a bottle warmer that has a cigarette lighter adapter. If you breastfeed, then the bottle issue is resolved.

Changing diapers while driving down the road is a little trickier. We strong recommend that you never change the diaper while in motion but find a rest stop where you can lay out a portable changing pad. Be sure to take a plastic trash bag where dirty diapers can be placed as you travel, you do not have to deal with the smell.

One important note is that children are susceptible to germs because they do not have a strong immune system so you want to make sure they are not overly exposed to strangers and strange places. You know that every person you visit is going to want to hold and kiss on your baby but never be afraid to tell them to wash hands so fewer germs are being exposed.

You will likely be faced with various obstacles as you travel with your new baby but look at this as an adventure, a new experience to enjoy.

Helping your Baby with the Pain of Colic

May 28, 2009 by  
Filed under Newborn Care

Although colic is relatively common, experts have yet to identify the real cause. Colic causes stomach or bowel pain, which for a baby can be excruciating. If you think your baby might have this condition, you need to have him or her seen by a doctor.

For a baby with colic, you can try turning the baby so he or she is in a different position, which can help. Another method for easing the pain of colic is by holding the baby close so there is slight pressure on the stomach.

New discoveries include soothing sound to calm a baby with colic.

For example, a noise machine that has the sound or rain or ocean waves might be beneficial. Numerous studies have been performed showing that both of these sounds are very similar to what the baby hears while in the womb. Therefore, if the baby is suffering with pain from colic, these sounds offer calmness.

Sometimes, sound is a great distraction so if your baby is crying or upset because of colic, you might try running the dishwasher, vacuuming the carpeting, or playing music. The concept here is that the sound takes the baby’s mind of the pain or startles the baby so he or she is able to pass gas, which also provides much-needed relief.

You might try using the noise approach, keeping the television on, playing various CDs, or having some type of noise going in the room where the baby is.

Although tiny, even newborns can feel stress. After all, they have only been in the world a short time so everything is new and unknown. To ease the effects of colic, most doctors recommend providing the baby with an atmosphere that is relaxing. If you have tried the sound option but to no avail, then try a quiet room. Keep in mind that many things come with colic to include acid reflux, which is miserable for adults that understand what it is, let alone small babies that have no clue.

As we mentioned, most studies show that music is magical. Choose soft jazz, classical, or some other soothing type of music that will create a peaceful environment. Anything such as Chopin or Beethoven work amazingly well. Not only will this type of music probably help with the colic issue, but it also introduces your baby to fine music.

Interestingly, while there have been many studies that can prove music helps ease the pain of colic, just how it works is not fully understood. However, with so many doctors and parents seeing the results, it is certainly worth trying.

You should also consider the types of foods and beverages your baby is being given.

Before you make any major changes, you should consult with the pediatrician. One example is herbal tea, which many parents swear by. Now, since this is a newborn baby, the doctor should approve and the tea should be mild and only lukewarm. Green or peppermint tea is great options that can help with colic while also boosting the baby’s immune system.

Even the type of formula or the nipples being used could have something to do with the case of colic. What happens is that some nipples will allow the baby to suck in too much air. Obviously, since colic is a problem related to excessive gas, this only makes matters worse. Be sure you choose the best nipples possible and even change your baby’s current formula.

There is no cure for colic but there are things you can do to ease the pain. For mothers that breastfeed, even positioning the baby properly will reduce the amount of gas buildup. Of course, most women realize that breast milk contains colostrum, which are important antibodies that help with the development of the baby’s immune system.

The final recommendation for colic is to be patient and understanding.

Since there is no cure for colic, it is important to understand that your baby is not faking anything but living with real pain. Being patient and loving is both comforting to the baby and to the parent. While it might seem like a lifetime when dealing with a colicky baby, typically this condition will disappear after a few months. Being extra loving and patient will help everyone get through a difficult time.

With colic, it is all about time. Keep in mind that if your baby has colic and by age two months the symptoms have not decreased or gone away, you should meet with the doctor to determine if there might be another health issue going on. Sometimes, babies have lactose intolerance where they are allergic to certain milks, especially cow’s milk. As mentioned, changing formula, preferably to soy could be all that is needed.

Having a Newborn around the Family Pet

May 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Newborn Care

There is nothing more fun to watch than a child is with the family pet enjoying each other’s company. While most situations of having a newborn and pet are safe, there are some things to consider. Unfortunately, we have all heard the horror stories about babies and animals so we wanted to provide some helpful information that will make it a smoother transaction of bringing a newborn into the home where a pet already exists.

Safety is without doubt the most important consideration. Even though you love your dog, cat, bird, or other type of pet, your newborn baby will steal your heart and become your number one priority. Therefore, your goal is to have both baby and pet in the same home but also in a safe and protected environment.

In most cases, it only requires a little bit of preparation and things will go fine. Although your dog may be gentle, whether a large or small dog, you want to keep a close eye on the dog and baby to determine reactions. You know your pet and his or her behavior so the level of monitoring should easy to determine.

There are times when dogs and cats see a newborn as a threat, even prey. Even a curious pet could accidentally cause harm to the baby so making an introduction is imperative. We highly recommend that you have the dog put on a leash and held by your spouse, friend, or other family member. Then with the newborn in your arms, slowly kneel down so both baby and dog are at the same level, open the blanket, and allow the dog or cat time to investigate. If you have a dog that tends to be a little rough, or one you are concerned about, use a muzzle.

The reaction you want to see is the dog or cat gently smelling the newborn. The goal is to prevent the dog or cat from licking the baby but even if the animal were to lick the baby’s face, that is fine but you will want to wash it off once the introduction is complete since the baby still has a delicate immune system. You may even find that the baby’s develops a rash or redness if licked, which might be an allergic reaction.

In most cases, introducing a newborn to a dog is a little easier than with a cat. The reason is that cats like to slap things, even in play, which might scratch the soft skin of the baby. For introducing a cat, rather than use a leash, we recommend a chest harness, which will give you a little more control over the cat’s actions.

Remember, although you may trust your pet 100%, you should never leave your newborn alone or unsupervised around any animal. At first, you may need to use a dog crate or door gate to control the situation for dogs. Now, if you have a cat, the most important thing is to use a system that would allow the cat access to the baby’s room.

As mentioned, there is a slight chance that the pet’s dander causes an allergic reaction with the child. The odds of this happening are extremely low but if you see a rash, redness, or even trouble breathing, you know your newborn is experiencing an allergic reaction.

If you find that your baby is allergic to the family pet, you want to keep them apart. Of course finding a new home for the pet is one option but in most cases, the animal is a part of the family so this would be a very hard decision. We suggest you consider other alternatives such as an air filtration system, frequent bathing of the dog/cat, washing the animal’s bedding more often, and so on first.

Bringing a newborn into a home with pets is most often a wonderful experience. Typically, you see the animal being very protective of the baby, which starts of bonding process that will last for years. It does not matter the type of pet, dog, cat, bird, rabbit, or reptile, simply consider options for creating a safe environment for the baby and enjoy watching the bond grow. Interestingly, some pets have become so protective over babies they have actually alerted parents of trouble, even saving lives.

Finding a Qualified Nanny

May 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Newborn Care

If you were to look back in history, you would see that many families used a nanny. Although using a nanny became less popular for several years, today, more and more parents are choosing this type of childcare over a babysitter or daycare center. Nannies used to be only for the rich and famous but this is not the case anymore. Nannies are specially trained so they have tremendous knowledge and expertise in childcare.

One of the first decisions you will make for your newborn baby is the pediatrician but following that, you should consider hiring a trained nanny. With this, you will have an extra pair of hands and input that could make your life less complicated.

Finding a qualified nanny involves many things, one being a connection between parent and the nanny. This person should live a life of integrity, someone with sound character, and values that match the way you see raising your child. Instead of choosing a nanny that will set the rules, this person should support you, someone who is willing to go by your rules. Of course, a good nanny will have advice and suggestions but they should never push them on you. Since this person will care for your newborn, you want someone you can trust and a person who will create a safe, comfortable, and smooth environment.

In addition to having a connection between parent and nanny, there must also be a connection between the baby and nanny. As you begin your search, you will be interviewing many people. It is important to watch the nanny around your child, paying attention to the way in which he or she handles the baby. Remember, even newborns have keen senses so if the child has any fear or feels uncomfortable, you will notice the baby crying, squirming, and appearing restless. These should all be indicators that a particular nanny is not the right fit.

Some special considerations would also come into play when choosing a qualified nanny.

For one thing, depending on the nanny, he or she may have children or live in a home with other people. Germs can be spread through contact, meaning if the nanny’s child or a family member were sick, your baby could be exposed. While you can never fully control the spread of germs, as you interview nannies, learn about their personal situation, especially if there is any type of known illness.

You could certainly conduct a search on your own for a qualified nanny but another option is to work through a licensed agency. These agencies carefully screen anyone interested in working as a nanny, performing background and even credit checks. The agencies will also look at the person’s driving history, health history, and criminal history.

Typically, new parents want the most experienced nanny they can find but even people just starting out might be the perfect fit. The goal is to choose a reputable agency so even people just starting out as a nanny will have been investigated. From there, you need to interview the individual to see if there is a click with you and the child.

Some people who become a nanny have grown children or even grandchildren. In fact, some nannies have no children at all but were at one time a nurse. Again, do not discount everyone simply because they are just getting started as a nanny, have grown children or no children at all.

After interviewing several people, you will now narrow your choices down two or three.

If you are working with an agency, they would help create a legal contract and most often, the nanny would come with a trial period so if you are not happy, you are no longer contractually obligated. Even if you choose the perfect nanny, there could be times when he or she becomes ill or has an emergency. Therefore, you will need to have a backup – someone trusted that could fill in should this type of situation arise. You might also ask the agency if they provide the nanny with any insurance benefits or vacation pay. If not, this is an incentive that you might consider offering.

Choosing a nanny is a difficult and emotional time. After all, your goal is to find a qualified and responsible professional who will care for your newborn as if he or she were their own. Approaching the hiring of a nanny as a business helps and as the individual works with you, the relationship will likely relax and evolve.

Being Prepared for a Premature Baby

May 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Newborn Care

Typically, a woman will be pregnant for nine months, which is the average time it takes for a fetus to develop but sometimes, babies come early. If the baby delivers one to two weeks ahead of schedule, it is no big deal but anything more means you have a premature baby.

Determining the exact date you will deliver can be difficult. For this reason, doctors will ask for the date of your last menstrual cycle and look at the development period of 260 to 270 days. However, every pregnancy is different so due dates are seldom hit, meaning the mother delivers a few days early or late.

Obviously, if a baby is born too early, there are usually complications or increased risk of health problems. For instance, if a baby is born three or more weeks early, development problems are common but not always serious.

Interestingly, one baby goes on recoded for being born at 21 weeks gestation and living. However, even a baby born between 25 and 26 weeks is relatively common but also with an increase for problems. The most common concerns have to do with the nervous system, brain development, and lung development, which is the last organ to finish growing. Because of this, some premature babies have health issues later in life in relation to the underdevelopment issues.

Sadly, one concerns that doctors face is varying degrees of mental impairment. However, while this is a serious issue, some health problems that premature babies face are not so horrible. As an example, Respiratory Distress Syndrome is a possibility but a treatable condition. The child may end up on medication for a short period or life, depending on the problem and severity of the problem.

Of course, the earlier the baby is born the more chance of problems. Even with this, each and birth are different so one baby that might be three weeks early could have health issues while another baby three weeks early would be perfectly fine. Therefore, you cannot base your premature experience against another.

Keep in mind that some things can be done while your premature baby is still young to help.

The best option is prevention. This means that seeing a doctor throughout the pregnancy, taking prenatal vitamins, and so on all increase the chance of a healthy baby. Today, medical intervention and prevention is much better than years before, which is great. Therefore, make sure you stay on a healthy diet, live a stress free life, and get appropriate sleep.

Premature babies also have a much better chance of survival in the hospital than ever before. Depending on the baby’s condition, he or she may need a breathing tube, the body’s temperature will be carefully monitored, and blood pressure and heart monitors are used. While your baby is in the hospital, he or she will be seen by a lot of doctors and nurses to ensure the baby’s health is both monitored and regulated. If you want to breastfeed, you probably can and in fact, many doctors suggest it for the sake of the baby.

You may also find that some premature babies have a type of neurologic disorder known as ROP or Retinopathy of Prematurity. In some cases, a condition known as Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy is also a problem. Each of these health risks can occur with a premature baby and if your child were to be diagnoses with one, the doctor would be able to provide medical insight and guidance. Of course, premature babies may experience other less serious complications that are easy to manage.

Probably one of the more common things that might happen is infection. After all, a premature baby does not have a fully developed immune system so fighting off infection is difficult. Because of this, it is vital that you as the parent keep the newborn away from a lot of people and for those who are around, they need to wear surgical facemasks and always wash their hands. Your baby’s pediatrician may also recommend adding supplements to your baby’s milk, which will encourage immune system development.

Next, premature babies are more prone to episodes where they stop breathing, which is called Sleep Apnea. The key in this situation is to use a special monitoring system that will monitor the baby’s breathing, sound, and movement so if he or she were to stop breathing, an alarm would sound and immediate action could taken. Finally, babies that come too early may have Jaundice, which causes the whites of the eyes and the skin to turn yellow. This is the result of bilirubin buildup within the bloodstream and to correct the problem, the baby is placed under warming lights. Jaundice is not harmful as long as it is corrected so once you bring the baby home, if you begin to notice a change of skin color, call the doctor right away.

The thing to keep in mind when it comes to premature babies is that the more information you know the better the baby will develop. Make sure that you and the baby are eating properly, that both are getting adequate rest, monitor the baby closely, avoid stress, and lean on family and friends for physical and emotional support.

More than ever, a premature baby has a great chance of life, unlike many years ago. With new technologies and medicines, we now see very small babies not only living, but also thriving and growing into healthy children. Some of the greatest and most intelligent people ever to live were premature babies such as Albert Einstein so if you have a premature baby, follow the doctor’s advice and things will be fine.

The Importance of Finding the Best Pediatrician

February 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured, Newborn Care

A common concern for any parent is finding the most qualified pediatrician for their newborn. At various stages of the baby’s life, he or she will need to see the doctor so you want someone you trust. Obviously, finding a pediatrician is of huge importance so to make the process easier, we wanted to provide you with helpful information.

Always remember that every pediatrician is different. Each doctor has his or her own way of doing things and a unique personality. Therefore, you need to choose a doctor that you click with and someone who has the same perspective of raising newborns as you do. As a new parent, you will have many questions so you need a doctor who is patient and willing to take time to answer them. There could even be times when you need the pediatrician in the middle of the night so the doctor you choose should be open to helping no matter the time.

We suggest that you do research and find several possible doctors. It is imperative that you sit down with each prospective pediatrician and have face-to-face time, not something you want to do via email or on the phone. Typically, this type of personal meeting will make the process of choosing much easier.

Never be afraid to ask about any licenses, certifications, or other accomplishments achieved by the doctor. Each school is also different, meaning their principals and level of teaching will be different. For instance, chances are that a pediatrician who trained at Harvard or the Mayo Clinic is going to have more current and intense education and training over a doctor that received his/her degree from a school in Africa. Regardless of where the doctor went to school, we strongly recommend you only choose one that is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics in that they have high standards.

It is also important to identify the different hospitals where the pediatrician works. For instance, you might have insurance that covers one hospital more than another so as long as the hospital you want to go to is good, then try to find a doctor that has an association there. Another consideration is how far the doctor’s office is to your home. If you have frequent doctor’s visits, then it would be more convenient to find someone nearby. One of the most important questions is to find out if the doctor will come to the hospital after the baby is born so you know your child is getting care immediately after birth.

Something that many parents are unaware of is that you can have more than one pediatrician. Often, parents will have a pediatrician and a specialist, especially when there are unique health considerations. Even if you have an amazing family doctor, this should not be the baby’s doctor in that he or she will not have the level of expertise needed.

Next, if you choose a pediatrician who is in practice with several other doctors, ask about the policy of which doctor would see your baby if your own pediatrician were unavailable. Once a name or names have been identified, set up an appointment to go in and actually meet the other doctor(s). This will provide you with peace of mind that you need. Some pediatricians also have practicing nurses or RNs that have special training with newborns so this too would be valuable information to have.

Make sure you discuss important issues such as certain immunizations and vaccinations. Some doctors are pro and some con. You do not necessarily have to agree with the doctor but you should at least understand why they may or may not oppose something. Working with your new pediatrician, you will learn about schedule for shots, nutrition, diet, and so on.

If you have no idea where to start your search for a qualified pediatrician, ask your OBGYN. If you deliver early or have not yet chosen a pediatrician the obstetrician can care for your newborn during the first six weeks. If the OBGYN is unsure, then talk to the staff at the hospital for recommendations. Of course, you can always perform your own online research. Some websites that offer a wealth of information include: – The Health Pages – American Academy of Pediatrics – The Doctor Finder – American Board of Pediatrics

Not only will these organizations provide you with names, but other information relating to training, education, history as a pediatrician, insurance, and more.

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