Your Baby is unique. As parents, you will come to know your baby best. Trust yourself. Most new parents are unsure of their parenting skills or what to actually expect in their new little bundle of joy. These worries will soon disappear with experience. As your child’s pediatric care providers, we are here to answer your questions and address your concerns as you build your confidence. In the interim, here is a list of some of our frequently asked questions (and the answers) from new parents. With equal parts of love, warmth, proper nutrition and attention, your baby will grow and thrive!
1. Some practices are clear cut, such as having babies sleep on their backs. In many instances, however, such as swaddling or not, how often to bathe, and so on, there are many ways to raise a baby properly (I don’t even know that burping is essential, let alone the “right” way to do it). Most of the time, if something feels right to do, go for it!
2. Newborns spend two-thirds of their time sleeping, and the remaining third is divided between feeding, watchful wakefulness, and, yes, crying (2 to 3 hours per day)!
3. All babies spit up, have gas, give little body jerks when falling asleep, open 1 eye at a time, sneeze, sounds a little congested off and on (especially if born in winter) and hiccup. These are normal. However, projectile (forceful) vomiting with every feeding/every other feeding, continuous coughing over several hours or fever (Temp > 38 degrees C or 100.4 degrees F) should prompt an immediate visit to the Doctor.
4. You can have visitors over, as long as they promise (and are trustworthy) that they are not ill and wash their hands very well. However, if you prefer not to have visitors, tell them no and say it is doctor’s orders. I will back you up.
5. The worst place to take a newborn is to work/church/crowded places. People often go to work while ill, and they also feel, because they know you, that they should be allowed to hold the baby.
6. We are a strong proponent of breastfeeding. That having been said … if you cannot breastfeed, formula and water supplies in this country are such that you should not feel guilty about this. We usually recommend either Similac or Enfamil formula.
7. For slightly older babies with colic, I will give parents advice and help them to cope, but I tell them up front that nothing may work, and they may have to ride it out for a few months. They will remember the colic when older, but the baby will not.
8. If you have a question, you can go to a reliable source such as healthychildren.org or the app Pediatric SymptomMD. If you still do not have answers, call us. That’s why we are here. After hours you may call or office number and speak with CHOA RN advice line – but a provider is always on back-up call in case further advice is needed. We recommend that if your child needs to be seen when our office is closed that you use CHOA Urgent Care or go to CHOA – Scottish Rite Hospital.
9. I have said this before in print, but it is so important that I will say it again: I tell parents to talk and sing to their baby. If a parent comes home from work and the spouse is too tired to hear how the day went, tell your baby instead. They love to listen to language. Let the words wash over them.
10. It is impossible to spoil a new baby. If you create a bad habit, you can always break it when the child is older. If babies want to be held, hold them. If they want to be fed, feed them. They’re the boss.
11. We are a practice that believes in vaccinations. We follow the AAP, ACIP and CDC recommendations on scheduling these. If you do not want to vaccinate or are interested in some alternative vaccination schedule – this is not the practice for you.