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  Last Updated on 07/13/2018

Three No-Brainers for New Parents

 

Three easy 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 no-brainers.
 
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 her clothing.
 
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 before vaccinating.
 

Remember these three no-brainers and you'll have plenty of time and energy to deal with the really controversial issues.

 
Enjoy your baby.

 

 

 

 

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