decisions regarding the care of a new baby
by Jackie D.
Igafo-Te'o, Bridges4Kids, March 20, 2003; Revised August 6, 2005
You've just had the most beautiful experience of
your life to date. Your baby is beautiful, you are beginning to heal,
maybe you've even named her after your great grandmother - now it is time
to take her home from the hospital. What's next? As a new parent you'll be
faced with many decisions. Some are more clear cut than others.
Breastfeeding versus bottle feeding and going back to work versus staying
at home might prove to be some of the harder decisions that you will have
to make. Fortunately for you there are a few decisions that are real
Your Baby's Sleeping Position
Have you ever heard the saying "back to life?" It means put your baby on
her back to ensure life during sleep. The safest position for your baby to
sleep in is flat on her back. Never put your baby to sleep on her belly.
She could suffocate in her sleep. New and young babies do not yet have the
strength or ability to turn or raise their head if they start to
suffocate. The next safest position is on her side with her arm straight
out at shoulder level. This position (with her arm preventing roll-over)
will stop her from rolling onto her belly. It is safe to put her on her
belly during the daytime while she is awake. Your baby needs to develop
the ability to lift her head and eventually push up onto her hands and
knees. There is a time and place for everything. Remember - back to life.
Your Baby's Sleeping Area
Everyone likes to decorate their new baby's room. Pretty mobiles, large
stuffed toys, comforters, pillows and blankets with pretty cartoon
characters on them - they're all lovely and we all usually have them when
our baby is new. Be sure to remove ALL of this from your baby's bed before
putting her to sleep. Pillows and thick comforters can cause suffocation.
As your baby grows and rolls over she can become entangled in her
blankets. When your baby is new it is best to dress her in a one-piece
sleeper before putting her to bed then swaddle her into a blanket. Do not
wrap the blanket on her above shoulder height. This way if for some reason
she gets uncovered in the night she'll still have some cover provided by
As your baby grows you'll find that these sleeping precautions will no
longer apply. Always use good judgment when your baby's safety and health
are involved. Call your pediatrician or local health department with any
questions. It is ALWAYS better to be safe than sorry.
Vaccinate Your Baby
This is a choice that should be an easy one for any new parent.
Vaccinations are now being combined so that fewer "pokes" are needed than
ever before. The diseases that immunizations protect your new baby against
are REAL and if contracted they can cause serious damage - even death.
While it is easier to "get in and get out" with your child so that you can
"get it over with", it is advisable to consider spreading vaccinations out
over several days. Some doctors now even advise against combining vaccines
and believe that spreading them out over a few days makes it easier to
monitor your child for side effects. Some groups have made claims over the
years that certain immunizations cause SIDS, Autism and other disorders.
None of this has ever been substantiated by the Centers for Disease
Control. However, debate is still brewing across organizations worldwide. If your child has special needs at birth consult with your doctor
regarding an acceptable immunization schedule. If you object to
vaccinations based on your religious beliefs be sure to produce a form
stating your objection when it is time for your child to enter most
daycare centers, preschool, head start and Kindergarten. Being vaccinated
is a requirement in many situations as your child grows. If you have
concerns about combination shots, ask your doctor about individual shots
that can be given out over a period of time. If you are concerned
with the content of the vaccinations that your baby is supposed to
receive, ask your doctor for lot numbers from the bottles and seek help
these three no-brainers and you'll have plenty of time and energy to deal
with the really controversial issues.
Enjoy your baby.