Buckle Up for Your Baby!
Seat-belt use during pregnancy ought to be a given. But it’s not. Recent studies suggest that pregnant women aren’t sure whether or how to wear them. In fact, one study found that 20 percent of women fail to wear seat belts during pregnancy because they’re afraid the tight fit will hurt their babies.
“There is no better way to protect the fetus than to protect yourself,” says Tim Hurd, a spokesperson for National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in Washington, D.C. So, always wear your belt.
The lap portion should be worn as low on your hips as possible. (Belts worn too high on the stomach can cause injury in a crash.) Position the upper part between your breasts, and pull out any slack.
You create a win-win situation when you breastfeed. By eating right, you give your baby all the nutrients needed for growth and health, and you speed your way to a strong, healthy recovery.
Keep in mind that you’re still eating for two. As a nursing mom, you’re the sole source of all the nutrients your newborn needs to grow and thrive. And good food choices also help you regain your energy, health, and figure now that your baby is born. Every choice you make – from the cereal you select for breakfast to the vegetables you have for lunch to supplements you take – directly affects your health and that of your newborn.
Focus on Produce
Each day, include at least 5 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables (including at least one serving of a dark-orange vegetable, two servings of dark-green leafy vegetables, and one serving of citrus fruit). A rule of thumb is to include two fruits or vegetables at each meal, such as a banana and a glass of orange juice for breakfast, a glass of tomato juice and a salad for lunch, and at least one cup of steamed vegetables with dinner.
Include at least six servings of whole grain breads and cereals in your daily menus and examples could include two ounces of a high-fiber, ready to eat cereal for breakfast; two slices of whole grain bread in a sandwich for lunch; and rice and a roll at dinner.
You need the calcium equivalent of at least three glasses of fat-free or reduced-fat milk daily (or at least 1,000 mg* of calcium per day). You also can boost your calcium intake with plain yogurt, reduced-fat cheeses, calcium-fortified soymilk, or calcium-fortified orange juice.
Include three servings (65 g of protein) daily of extra – lean meats, chicken without the skin, fish, or cooked dried beans or peas.
Ask your physician about taking a moderate multiple-vitamin and mineral supplement when you’re nursing. If you fall short of your calcium requirements, ask about a calcium supplement, too. Remember to take these supplements with a meal, not on an empty stomach.
Choose Beverages Wisely
Remember, whatever you drink, your nursing baby drinks, too. So drink lots of water – 8 to 12 cups per day (more if you’re thirsty). You can drink caffeinated beverages in moderation, but it’s best to avoid alcoholic ones.
Balance Your Calories
Nursing boosts your daily energy needs by an additional 500 calories over your pre-pregnancy requirement, but your vitamin and mineral needs are even higher than they were during pregnancy. That means that every bite you take must be chock-full of nutrients to ensure optimal health for you and your baby. This is no time to drastically cut calories or skip meals!
Go with the Flow
Your time is seldom your own after your baby arrives, which can make eating well a challenge. But you need to eat regularly, so plan ahead. Stock the kitchen, refrigerator, your glove compartment in the car, and your purse with easy-to-prepare, healthful snacks.
Maintain a Healthful Diet
As a nursing mom, you require more calories from nutritious foods than at any other time in your life; this isn’t the time to drastically cut calories in an effort to fit into your jeans. A diet with too few calories may reduce your milk supply. While your energy needs increase by about 500 calories a day, your vitamin and mineral needs increase even more, which means every calorie counts. Eating strongly flavored foods (such as onions, garlic, broccoli, cabbage, or cauliflower), spicy foods, or beans may give breast milk an “off” flavor. This may make some babies fussy; others won’t even notice. If these foods seem to upset baby, cut back on them for a while.
Feeding is one of your baby’s most pleasant experiences. At feeding time, the baby receives nourishment from food and a feeling of security from parent’s loving care. The food helps your baby grow healthy and strong and parental love starts your baby in the development of a secure and stable personality. Both you and your baby should be comfortable at feeding time. Choose a position that will help you to relax as you feed your baby. For your baby’s comfort, be sure he or she is warm and dry. Whether breast-feeding or bottle feeding, hold your baby close. Face to face contact is very important for your baby. This is a good time to get to know one another.
Type of Feeding
Breast-milk is the best feeding for your baby. If you choose not to breast feed, an infant formula can be recommended. It is very important to use one fortified with iron. Breast-milk or formula is the only food your baby needs during the first 4 to 6 months of life. Breast-milk or formula should be continued until your baby’s first birthday. The cow’s milk that the rest of the family drinks is not an appropriate food for the first year of life. See also Guidelines for Nursing Moms.
Weight Gain and Loss
Most newborns weigh between 5 ½ to 10 pounds, with the average weight being 7 ½ pounds. During the first days of life, infants generally lose 10% of their weight before they start to gain. Breast fed babies may lose slightly more weight at first without cause for concern. This weight loss is from loss of excess body water and is perfectly normal. Most infants regain their birth weight by 10 to 14 days, double it by 4 months and triple it by one year. Many parents want to know if their baby is eating enough. The best gauge of this is growth. Besides growth, satisfaction after eating, wetting 6 or more diapers daily, and having stools wills all let you know if your baby is eating enough.
Burping your baby helps remove swallowed air. To burp your baby, hold him or her upright over your shoulder, and gently rub or pat/ his or her back. Another way is to place your baby face down across your lap and gently rub his/her back. Burp your baby during and after each feeding. Sometimes a baby will not be able to burp. Do not try to force the baby to burp if the first few attempts are unsuccessful. Don’t be alarmed if your baby spits up a few drops when being burped. Sometimes just being patient and holding your baby upright for a few minutes will help.
Breast-milk contains all the vitamins a baby needs. Formula-fed babies need no extra vitamins because they obtain enough from their formula. Your pediatrician can discuss with you whether your baby requires supplemental vitamins.
Especially in hot weather, you may offer your baby lukewarm, boiled water once or twice a day. Do not give your baby so much water that he or she becomes full and uninterested in breast milk or formula. Do not give your baby sugary liquids (like soft drinks or juices). They can harm your baby’s teeth or cause diarrhea. Regular milk, even if boiled, is not good for a baby in the first year of life, and may cause allergies. To avoid botulism do not give honey or Karo syrup to a baby until he or she is over 1 year old. You should wait to give solid foods to the baby until he or she is 4 to 6 months old. Discuss further feeding advice with your pediatrician.
Other Baby Care
Room temperature: Try to keep an even, comfortable temperature in your baby’s room. Windows may be opened in warm weather, provided there is no draft on the baby. The ideal temperature is between 68-74 degrees Fahrenheit.
Dress the baby with just enough clothes to keep him or he comfortable. Some babies are allergic to certain materials, so watch for rashes in areas that come in contact with clothing. When it is warm, the infant does not require any more clothing than an adult. A T-shirt and diaper are usually sufficient. Do not use excessive clothes or coverings. Your baby should be loosely wrapped in order to allow moderate freedom of movement. The body should be dry, not clammy with perspiration. Baby’s hands and feet are normally cool. A warm blanket usually makes your baby feel more secure even though it is not needed for dressing an infant for cold weather. Remember to dress the child with only one more than an adult would wear. Always wash new clothes in mild detergent before putting them on baby.
It is a good idea to have a fairly regular time for bathing your baby. The room should be warm and free of drafts. Keep bathing supplies together to save yourself steps. Wash your baby by sponging or by laying him or her in a tub of water below the level of the umbilical cord. The water level should be below the umbilical cord until it has healed. Wait a couple of days after circumcision before placing an infant in water. When bathing your baby in a small tub, check the temperature of the water with your elbow before placing your baby into the tub. The water temperature should be around 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Three inches of water should be sufficient. Wash your baby ‘s face with plain warm water and a soft cloth. Wipe the bridge of the nose toward the ears. Do not clean the inside of either the nose or the ears. Clean the outer areas with a moist cotton ball. Wash your baby’s head with a mild shampoo. Work from front to back, to keep suds our of your baby’s eyes. White dandruff-like flakes are often found on the scalps of infants. These flakes are the result of shedding of dead skin, and they do not indicate a dry scalp condition. Do not use oils, lotions, or Vaseline. Placing oil on the scalp will make these flakes adhere to the scalp and make the condition worse. Formation of thick yellowish scales on the baby’s scalp is a condition called “cradle cap” and is very common in infants, and results from accumulation of old, dead skin. This condition can occur in spite of washing. Oils, lotions, or Vaseline make the condition worse. You can treat cradle cap by removing the scales with a soft brush. Using a small comb or brush to stimulate the scalp while shampooing helps to prevent cradle cap from forming. Wash your baby’s face with plain warm water and a soft cloth. To clean around the eyes, use cotton dipped in cool water. Wipe the bridge of the nose toward the ears. Do not clean the inside of either the nose or the ears. Clean the outer areas with a moist warm cotton ball. Use a mild soap and warm water to wash your baby’s body. Be sure to wash in the folds of the skin. Rinse well. Pat your baby dry. Do not use powder as this can get into the baby’s lungs and cause trouble breathing. If the skin is very dry, you may use a little cream after the bath.
The diaper area should be clean as often as the baby is wet or soiled. Clean the baby with either plain warm water or a diaper wipe. Dry the skin of the diaper area thoroughly before applying a new diaper. Whether you use disposable diapers or cloth diapers is a matter of personal preference.
Babies should sleep on their backs until they are able to roll over, usually by 6 months. The American Academy of Pediatrics has determined that this reduces the risk for SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
You can take your baby outside whenever the weather is pleasant. Babies born during warm weather may be taken outside after they are 1-2 weeks old. If you use a carriage or stroller, be sure the wind blows over the top and not into it, directly on your baby. You should avoid taking your baby to crowded places, where the chance of exposure to illness is greater during the first six weeks of life.
Visitors should be limited to very close friends and relatives who are not ill. Be sure that you limit visitors if they make you tired. They should wash their hands before handling the baby. Your other children should be encouraged to handle the baby and help you with baby care. Your children should wash their hands as well.
Smoking is strongly discouraged. It is very irritating to your baby’s nose and lungs. It gets into the clothing, furniture and hair. It is very harmful even when not done in the presence of your baby. Now is a good time to quit!
Infant Car Seats
Your baby’s first car ride will be when you take him or her home from the hospital. You will want to do everything possible to assure a safe trip for your baby. Your baby can be seriously injured in the event of a sudden stop or crash. Infants are safer when properly secured in an infant car seat.
Child safety seats when used correctly reduce the risk of death by 71% for Infants and 54% for toddlers!
Nebraska State law requires that all children ages 6 years and under must always ride correctly secured in a federally approved child safety seat.
Safe Kids offers car seat inspections
• Child safety seat inspections and education are held the first Tuesday of each month at the O’Neill Fire Hall.
• There are Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians on site.
• Prenatal car seat installation is available and encouraged!
• Low income guidelines can be utilized if needed.
• Call 402.336.5122 to make an appointment.
• More about SafeKids
Quick Tips for Transporting Children Safely
• No more than one finger should fit between the child’s collarbone and the harness straps.
• Read and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for your child safety seat and the vehicle owner’s manual.
• The harness retainer clip should be located at the armpit level.
• The child seat should be installed tight. There should be no more than 1” of movement side to side at the restraint system’s belt path.
• Children should ride in a rear-facing child safety seat until reaching the maximum weight for the child seat or the top of their head is within 1” of the top of the child safety seat.
• NEVER place a rear-facing child safety seat in the front seat of a vehicle with an active air bag!
• If a forward-facing child safety seat is placed in an air bag equipped seating position, slide the vehicle seat as far back as possible, out of the air bag’s path.
• Older children, up to age 8 and 80 pounds should ride in booster seats.
• Children ages 12 and under should ride in the back seat, the safest place!
Proper installation of your child’s safety seat is important!!! To find out when the next Child Safety Seat Check-Up event will be held in your area go to www.nsp.state.ne.us and click on “Child Safety Seat Info”
Other Safety Tips
Never leave the baby alone on a table or other high place, where he or she could roll off. Be sure that the bars or slats on the crib or playpen are no more than 2 3/8 inches apart, so your baby’s head cannot possibly get caught between them. The mattress should be firm, flat and fit the crib on all four sides. Keep the crib free of clutter. This means no pillow and no toys which baby could become entangled and never allow plastic sacks, buttons or pins within baby’s reach so he or she is not tempted to pick them up and swallow them. Babies are attracted to colorful shiny objects. Inspect toys carefully to see they are not breakable and large enough so baby cannot place part of it in his mouth and suffocate.
A baby’s delicate skin can be burned easily. When you take the baby outside, protect him or her from hot rays of the sun. Always test the water before your baby’s bath to be sure it is not too hot. Smoking cigarettes is dangerous because hot ashes could fall on your baby. Smoke in fibers of clothing and furniture irritates the lungs of babies and do not hold your baby while cooking. Hot grease could spatter on the baby, and he or she might touch hot pans or their contents.
From Birth to Five Months
The types of injuries that occur in this age group are related mostly to the environment of the child. Since an infant starts with very limited mobility and then becomes a mobile child, many injuries occur when new developmental stages such as rolling, crawling, or walking begin.
Also, if a home is not child proofed, many children will sustain an injury due to unprotected household appliances, furniture, outlets, faucets, blinds, and many other common areas. It is important to get to the height level of the child and go around the house checking for any potentially dangerous areas.
Here are some other helpful hints to protect baby.
• All babies should be placed on their backs to sleep to prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
• The crib should have a firm mattress, snuggly fitting in the crib without any choking or suffocating hazards such as pillows, stuffed animals, blankets or small toys in the crib.
• All homes should have working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, and a fire escape for the family.
• The hot water heater of the house should be set to no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit (50.0 degrees Celsius) to prevent accidental scalding.
• Strings from blinds should be out of reach of the crib as these can be a choking hazard.
• No strings should be tied around pacifiers or toys.
• Babies should never be left unattended on a changing table or elevated area where they can roll off. Barriers such as toys or pillows will not prevent a child from rolling off.
• Cigarette smoking should be stopped when a baby is born. Smoking away from their face is little help since the smoke gets into clothing, skin, hair, furniture, carpets, drapes, car seats and so on. There is no excuse with today’s knowledge of the hazards of smoking or the medicine patches and inhalers available to help in the quitting process.
• Gun safety should be emphasized. If a gun is in the home it should be locked and stored away from the ammunition, which should also be locked.
• If cloth diapers are used the safety pin should be carefully closed and locked in a closed position.
• Bathtubs can be slippery so a rubber mat or cloth should be placed on the bottom of the tub and never leave a baby unattended in a bathtub.
• Gates should be used on all staircases.
• Baby walkers are dangerous. Not only can they flip over and harm the child the also inhibit a child’s development for walking.
• Milk and milk products, corn syrup, Karo syrup and honey should all be avoided until at least one year of age as these foods can cause intestinal bleeding, allergic reactions or carry bacteria.
• If you use a crib be sure the sides are always completely raised, the crib is not near a heater and the crib slats are no more than two and three eighths inches apart.
• Babies should not ride on an adult bicycle even if placed in an infant seat.
• Avoid direct sunlight as babies can sunburn very easily. If there will b e exposure to direct sunlight, use at least 15 SPF sunscreen.
• Check all toys for loose parts, splinters, and sharp edges.
• Cover electric sockets and keep your baby away from hot pipes, stoves, radiators, and fireplaces.
• Keep all medicines and poisons such as household cleaning products, soaps, insecticides, and solvents out of reach.
• Playpens can be used after three months of age but children should never be left there for long periods of time.
• Any hot liquids or cigarettes (which you hopefully quit when the baby was born) should not be taken while holding baby since babies start to reach and grab at three to four months.
• Since four-month-olds may roll, extra caution should be taken to b e sure that the children of this age couldn’t roll onto something harmful such as a sharp object on the ground.
• Children may place objects in their mouths so choking is a major concern. Avoid all objects small enough to be put in a child’s mouth.
• Insect sprays with up to 10% DEET can be used. In areas of the country where ticks are prevalent the infant should be checked for tick attachments on the body.
• All baby sitters should be at least 13 years of age, mature enough to handle emergencies and known and trusted by parents.
• All pools or hot tubs should have fences on all four sides
• Install only garage door openers with sensors so they will not close on a child.
• Learn Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). Call Avera St. Anthony’s Hospital for the next training session (402) 336-2611.
During the first few years of life, children undergo dramatic changes. It’s natural to wonder how your child is growing and developing compared to other children the same age. However, it’s important to remember that each child is different and will grow and develop at different rates.
If you do find that your child does not perform many of the skills appropriate to his or her group, you should consult your child’s physician. Early help can make a difference.
• Responds to sounds with blinking, crying, a change in breathing shows a startled response
• Lifts head momentarily when lying down
• Sleeps for three to four hours at a time and stays awake for one hour at a stretch
• Crying stops with the child is spoken to or held 2-3 Months
• Looks and responds to talking with vocal noises
• Becomes interested in visual and audible stimuli
• Responds to parents’ voices and faces
• When lying down, the child lifts his or her head, neck and upper chest with support of the forearms
• When in a prone position, the child holds head erect and raises his hands
• Reaches for and bats at objects
• Head control is greatly improved
• Mobiles are of great interest
• A social smile is spontaneous
• Able to fall asleep without a bottle or breast-feeding
• Develops consonant-based sounds (baba, dada, mama)
• Rolls over on own
• When sitting, holds head up on own
• Stands in place with help
• Grasps and mouths objects and starts to self-feed
• Transfers small objects from one hand to another
• May begin to show anxiety with strangers
• First tooth erupts
• Responds to own name
• Understands words, such as no-no and bye-bye
• Imitates adult vocal sounds
• Plays interactive games, such as peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake
• Crawls, creeps and moves forward by scooting his bottom
• Shakes, bangs, drops and throws objects
• Self-feeds with fingers
• Begins to use a cup
• Occasionally experiences anxiety with strangers
• Bangs blocks together
• Plays social games
• Has a one-to three-word vocabulary
• Imitates vocalizations
• Pulls to a stand and may take a few steps alone
• Drinks from a cup
• Looks for dropped or hidden objects
• Waves good-bye