Healthy Moms

. January 15, 2013.

Bringing your new baby home from the hospital is an exciting milestone for parents. But it can also be nerve-wracking, especially for first-time moms and dads. Here are some helpful tips from local ProMedica Physicians pediatricians about caring for you and your little one after his or
her arrival.
Learning and Development
Katie Machanda, MD
When it comes to your baby’s development, remember there is a large range of what is “normal.” Try not to compare your child to other children. Ask your pediatrician about any questions or concerns you have.
Newborn babies love contrast. Try posting a drawing of a black circle on white paper at the changing table. You may find the simple drawing engages your baby as his or her vision develops. 
There is also quite a bit of data suggesting that classical music can be beneficial for your baby. It can be soothing and help regulate breathing. This is called the “Mozart effect.” Although we are unsure why classical music is calming, it may be because it is similar to the sounds your baby heard in the womb. 
There is also evidence that videos may have a negative effect on your baby’s development, particularly delaying speech. Putting a baby in front of a television is not recommended until they are two years old, and even then with limited exposure. We encourage parents to read to their baby instead, even when the baby is in utero. This helps them hear the wave and flow of language and can help with
language development.
Jacob Maciejewski, MD
Remember that children under four months are at a high risk for choking. They should only be fed breast milk or formula.
When it comes to sleeping, babies should be placed on their backs. A firm crib without blankets or stuffed animals will decrease the risk of suffocation. Also, as of June 2011, new federal guidelines prohibit making and selling cribs with drop-down side rails. The slats of cribs should also be no greater than 2 3/8 inches to reduce risk of injury or death.
At six months, your baby will begin to be more mobile, meaning you will have new concerns with his or her safety. Keep all medicines, household products and sharp objects out of reach, and remember that nothing is ever completely “childproof.” If an item is small enough to fit through a toilet paper roll, it could be a risk for choking.
Carmen Weeber-Morse, MD
Breastfeeding offers many benefits for moms and their babies. Breast milk is easy to digest and packed with immunity, reducing a baby’s risk for allergies, skin conditions and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. For moms, it offers emotional satisfaction, reduced risk for some cancers and aids reducing post-partum bleeding and losing weight gained during pregnancy.
When you’re breastfeeding, be sure to eat a balanced diet, drink plenty of water and get as much rest as possible. You’ll also want to reduce your caffeine intake and continue taking your pre-natal vitamins, as well as a calcium supplement.
Health and Wellness
Christine Stahle, MD
Keep an easy-to-read digital thermometer in your home medicine cabinet. Also, saline nose drops and a nasal aspirator will come in handy for clearing your baby’s nose for relief during a cold.
To keep your baby healthy, it’s also important that you stay healthy. As an expectant mother, you’ve probably already been offered flu and pertussis (whopping cough) vaccinations by your obstetrician, but it’s a good idea to have dad get both as well. Once your baby arrives, you may want to have hand sanitizer ready during cold and flu season. And remind family and friends who are sick that they’ll have to wait until they are well to hold your baby.