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I will never forget the day we brought Josie home from the hospital. My wife and I were so excited. Since it was winter, we had an adorable snowsuit that made her look like a cuddly stuffed bear. First, I went inside to get the camcorder ready to document everything as mom and baby arrived. With the camera rolling, Noel entered carrying Josie and was excitedly greeted by our dog, Brewer, who nearly tackled both of them. The combination of seeing Noel for the first time in a few days and what he thought was a new stuffed animal led to a scene that was quickly erased from our camera’s memory. Thankfully, no one got hurt, but it certainly wasn’t what we expected. Most pregnant women get a lot of advice about what to expect when they bring home their baby. Here is a list of my top tips, both as a pediatrician and a father:
- Breast-feeding: Breast-feeding moms should put baby to the breast about every two to three hours. All babies don’t need much milk for the first few days, usually just a few ounces. Mother’s breast-milk will start to come in after a few days, and volume will typically match the baby’s needs. Most bottle-fed babies will take about 2 ounces every 2-4 hours. All babies initially lose weight with the goal of being back to birth weight by 2 weeks of age. The initial newborn visit in the first week of life is important to make sure that your baby isn’t losing too much weight. Weight loss up to 10 percent is acceptable. Dads can help support Mom by bringing her snacks, water and helping around the house so Mom can concentrate on breastfeeding. Continue Reading »
- How do I dress my baby for winter?
If going outside, layer clothing instead of dressing in bulky clothes for warmth. Make sure to have footwear, mittens (socks can be used as mittens if needed) and a hat. Do not use a bulky snowsuit in a car seat. Snowsuits are fine for spending time outdoors, but are unsafe for use in car seats. The thickness of snowsuits does not allow the straps of a car seat to be tight enough. Your baby may slip loose or fall out of the car seat if there is an accident. Instead use a blanket to go over the baby or a car seat cover to block the cold wind.
If you’re planning on staying indoors, have your baby wear one more layer than you are currently wearing inside. When your baby sleeps, don’t have extra blankets, pillows or bedding in the crib. If you need to have a blanket, there are specialty baby swaddlers or sleep sacks that a baby can sleep in. Be careful not to over-bundle your baby. Eliminating loose bedding and avoiding overheating your baby will decrease the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- Can my baby get frostbite or hypothermia?
Yes, a baby can get frostbite with prolonged cold exposure. Make sure to give your baby a break from the cold. If you are uncomfortable or cold, they are uncomfortable and cold as well. Frostbite happens when the skin and outer tissues become frozen, most commonly in fingers, toes, ears and nose. Keep an eye on your baby’s skin, it may look pale, gray, and blistered. Prevention is best, but if you suspect frostbite put frostbitten parts in warm (not hot) water. Do NOT rub frozen areas. Dr. Budiasih has a very informative blog on hypothermia.
Hypothermia may occur when your baby’s body temperature falls below normal. It can occur more quickly in children than in adults. Your baby may become lethargic. Look for fatigue or unusual behavior. Get medical attention as soon as possible for either hypothermia or frostbite. Continue Reading »