How soon should I see a doctor after learning I’m pregnant?

It’s critical to see a healthcare provider throughout your pregnancy, both for the safety of you and your unborn child. Prenatal care offers not just medical care, but also education and support for pregnancy and childbirth.

Most providers schedule your first visit around eight weeks of pregnancy. As soon as you suspect you’re pregnant, call your obstetrician/gynecologist to set up your appointment.

At this initial visit, you can expect to discuss your due date, your health history and any pregnancy risk factors you may face. This is a good time to ask your provider questions about your pregnancy, so jot down anything you’d like to ask and take the list with you to your appointment.

If you need help locating a provider, ask your local health department for resources or visit our online Bootheel Community Resource Guide: http://www.bootheelbabies.org/bootheel-community-resource-guide/

Always talk to your medical provider if you have questions about pregnancy or your health.


Is my baby at risk for heat stroke?

July and August are among the hottest months of the year, and your baby is especially vulnerable to the dangers of overheating – including suffering from heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat stroke. Symptoms include unusual tiredness or thirstiness, as well as cool, moist skin. Leg and stomach cramps can also occur. Heat stroke is more severe and can include a temperature of 103 degrees or higher with no sweating, hot/red/dry skin, rapid pulse, vomiting, restlessness, lethargy and unconsciousness.

If your baby exhibits any of the symptoms of heat stroke, call 911. While waiting for an ambulance, move your child to a cool area and undress him or her. Sponging your child down with cool water can help decrease his or her body temperature. A fan may also help.

Avoiding placing your child at risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke by:

  • Dressing him or her in loose, lightweight clothing
  • Staying in the shade when you’re outside
  • Checking his or her temperature during car rides, to ensure no overheating
  • Keeping your baby well hydrated
  • Staying indoors when temperatures are very high
  • Never leaving your child in a parked car

Always talk to your medical provider if you have questions about heat stroke or your baby’s health and wellbeing.


Why your baby shouldn’t sleep in a car seat

Babies sleep safest flat on their backs, in a crib or other safe sleep surface with a tightly fitted sheet. Car seats, strollers and swings all place babies in an upright position which, similar to sleeping on their tummies, puts them at risk for suffocation.

This illustration from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development helps illustrate how babies sleeping on their stomachs are at a higher risk for choking and suffocation.

sids_baby_anatomy

When a baby sleeps on his or her stomach, fluids will exit the esophagus and pool at the opening of the trachea, making choking much more likely. Likewise, babies sleeping upright and on their sides are at a similar risk.

Experts recommend babies shouldn’t be allowed to sleep in car seats or similar devices like strollers and bouncers for an extended period of time (more than one to two hours, depending on the age of your baby and the device).

If you’re going on an extended car trip, experts suggest stopping at least every two hours and removing your infant from the car seat. Never leave a baby unattended in any device, especially newborns or babies under six months who can’t hold their heads up yet. It’s also important to always follow manufacturers’ recommendations for using a device, and pay attention to straps and harnesses.

If you have questions related to safe sleep, speak with your child’s medical provider or contact your local health department.

 


3 easy ways to soothe your baby

 

Babies cry – all of them, and some more than others. It’s their way of communicating with us, whether they’re hungry, or tired, over-stimulated, in pain or simply unhappy. When it comes to calming your baby, start by checking off the typical culprits: Hunger, dirty diaper, fever, too hot or too cold. If your child is still fussy or having trouble falling asleep, here are some other tricks to try:

1.) Swaddling

Swaddling helps infants feel more secure, as well as keeps them warm. You can read more about how to swaddle safely here: http://www.bootheelbabies.org/how-to-safely-swaddle/

2.) Sound machines

White noise, crib aquariums and similar products are great options for soothing a baby. White noise mimics sounds heard in the womb –a heart beating, blood flowing and muffled voices. The repetitiveness can help babies fall and stay asleep. Just be sure you never put anything inside the crib – it puts your baby at risk of suffocation and injury.

3.) Rocking

Rocking is one of the oldest tricks in the new parent book, and for good reason: It works. Studies have shown that babies’ heartbeats actually slow and their breathing patterns regularize when being rocked.

Every baby is different, which means what works for one baby may not work for YOUR baby. If your baby is extremely fussy or cries more than three hours a day, talk to your doctor about the possibility of colic or other health-related issues.


 


The baby name game

Are you having trouble finding the perfect name for your soon-to-arrive baby? Check out the 25 most popular baby names of 2017 so far, collected by www.babycenter.com, along with our tips for choosing the perfect name for your little one:

GIRLS:

  • Emma
  • Olivia
  • Ava
  • Isabella
  • Sophia
  • Mia
  • Charlotte
  • Amelia
  • Harper
  • Aria
  • Ella
  • Emily
  • Abigail
  • Madison
  • Evelyn
  • Avery
  • Lily
  • Sofia
  • Scarlett
  • Mila
  • Riley
  • Chloe
  • Layla
  • Penelope
  • Aubrey

BOYS:

  • Liam
  • Noah
  • Mason
  • Lucas
  • Ethan
  • Oliver
  • Elijah
  • Aiden
  • James
  • Benjamin
  • Logan
  • Jackson
  • Jacob
  • Carter
  • Sebastion
  • Jayden
  • Jack
  • Alexander
  • Matthew
  • Luke
  • Michael
  • Gabriel
  • William
  • Wyatt
  • Henry

Tip No. 1: Practice saying the name out loud, and think about possible nicknames that might be derived from it. Also, consider what the initials may spell (D.U.H. isn’t a great monogram).

Tip No. 2: Take your time. Once you think you’ve decided on the perfect name, sit on it for a while. See if it still feels right after a few weeks (or even months). And don’t let friends or family dissuade you too easily. Your opinion is the one that matters most.

Tip No. 3: Ultimately, it’s most important to go with your gut. Pay less attention to the meaning behind the name or to current fads, and focus on what’s really significant for you – whether that’s a traditional family name, or just a name that feels meaningful.

See the full list from BabyCenter here: https://www.babycenter.com/top-baby-names-2017.htm


3 reasons your baby should always sleep alone

Babies often wake up in the middle of the night – it’s what they do. Keeping your newborn in your bed so you are close by when the baby wakes may seem easier. However, sharing a bed with your infant increases his or her risk of injury and suffocation. Here are three reasons why bed-sharing is not worth the risk:

#1

Loose blankets and sheets put your infant at a higher risk of suffocation. As a baby squirms and wiggles during sleep, a blanket or sheet could move and cover his or her nose, impairing breathing.

#2

Your baby could fall off your bed. Cribs include barriers to keep your baby from rolling off during the night, but your bed doesn’t have the same safeguards. The few feet from your mattress to the floor are dangerous for an infant, or he or she could become trapped between the mattress and headboard, footboard or wall.

#3

You could roll on top of your baby. Just like your baby squirms during sleep, you do the same, and you likely won’t notice if you roll on top of your baby. Across the U.S., there have been many reports of infant deaths related to these circumstances.

To reduce your infant’s risk of injury or death, it’s best to allow your baby to sleep alone, on their back, in a crib or other safe sleep surface. To learn more about how to ensure your baby sleeps safely, check out this blog post or visit http://www.bootheelbabies.org/safe-sleep/

 

Disclaimer: If your baby has a fever or other symptoms, or you have concerns about the growth and development of your child, always seek care with your healthcare provider.


Q: How can I help my older child adjust to our new baby?

A: Welcoming a new baby is a big change for the entire family – especially siblings. Your older child may resent the new baby for taking away your attention. If you’re worried about whether your older child will adapt to a new baby in the house, here are some tips to make the transition easier.

  • Prepare in advance. During your pregnancy, teach your child what having a new baby will be like. Read age-appropriate books about new siblings, pretend a doll is the new baby or visit friends with newborns so your child knows what to expect once the baby arrives.
  • Encourage prenatal bonding. Let your child feel the baby kick, listen to his or her heartbeat and watch ultrasounds so siblings already have a connection before birth.
  • Introduce the baby. Make your children’s first meeting a special event. Let the older sibling give a special gift to his or her brother or sister, like a stuffed animal or onesie, and allow him or her to touch and hold the newborn. You may also want to arrange for someone to take him or her on a special outing, such as to the park or to get ice cream, to make the day feel really special.
  • Let your older child be a special helper. Allow him or her to help with daily tasks like feeding, dressing or rocking the baby. This will help your older child feel like an important part of the baby’s life and encourage bonding.
  • Spend time with your older child. Even though babies take a lot of effort, make sure to set aside some daily one-on-one time with your older child, such as a special bedtime routine or singing a song together. Let the older child know he or she is still special to you.

Although sibling rivalry may occur, following these tips can promote bonding and make the adjustment to a new baby easier for your entire family.

Have a question for the blog? Email it to info@bootheelbabies.org.

 

Disclaimer: If your baby has a fever or other symptoms, or you have concerns about the growth and development of your child, always seek care with your healthcare provider.


3 signs a crib isn’t safe

Since 2011, the federal government has required crib manufacturers to follow strict guidelines, making newer cribs safer for your infant. However, there may be occasions when a new crib is not available, such as when you are away from home, or you may prefer to use a secondhand crib. Be sure to check a used crib for these three signs that it may not be safe for your baby.

  1. Wide slats – If the spaces between a crib’s slats are more than 2 3/8 inches, your baby could get trapped between them.
  1. Drop side – The government’s 2011 standards banned drop-side cribs, which have been responsible for the deaths of more than 30 babies. If the movable part of the crib malfunctions, it could suffocate or strangle an infant.
  1. Gap between mattress and crib – Make sure the space between the mattress and crib is no more than two fingers wide in every direction. If it is bigger than that, your baby’s hands or feet could get caught.

Reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS and other causes of infant mortality by providing a safe sleep surface and following the ABC’S of Safe Sleep. If you are in need of a crib for your baby, contact your local health department; the number is listed in our resource guide. To learn more about how to ensure your baby sleeps safely, check out this blog post or visit http://www.bootheelbabies.org/safe-sleep/

Disclaimer: If your baby has a fever or other symptoms, or you have concerns about the growth and development of your child, always seek care with your healthcare provider.

 

 


4 tips for helping your baby sleep better

It’s important to realize that every baby is different – and that includes sleep habits.  From how fast they fall asleep to how long they sleep, babies often have minds of their own. But there are some easy things you can do to help promote better – and safer – sleep for your infant.

No. 1: Back to sleep

Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep – not on the stomach or side. Your baby will breathe better in this position, and it reduces the risk of SIDS and other suffocation hazards.

No. 2: Avoid overheating

You’re not comfortable when you’re too warm, and neither is your baby. Make sure your baby isn’t over bundled during sleep time. Dress your baby appropriately for the room’s temperature and avoid using loose blankets or unfitted sheets, which can pose suffocation hazards. A sleep sack is a good alternative to blankets.

No. 3: Keep the crib clear

Your baby should sleep in a crib or other safe sleep surface with a tightly fitted sheet. Do not put stuffed animals, quilts or bumper pads in the crib with your infant. These all pose suffocation hazards.

No. 4: Stick to a schedule

Having a set bedtime routine is beneficial for children of all ages, but it applies to babies as well. Experts say that between six and eight weeks of age is a good time to start following a set pattern leading up to bedtime.  This may include a bath, followed by a diaper change and pajamas, reading a bedtime story or singing a song.

If you’re having continual sleep challenges with your infant, be sure to discuss them with your doctor to identify possible causes and solutions. Got a bedtime tip of your own? Share it with other parents on our Facebook page: www.Facebook.com/BootheelBabies


How to safely swaddle

Swaddling is a way of snuggly wrapping an infant in a blanket. Although special swaddling blankets are available, a basic receiving blanket will also work. Newborns love to be swaddled because the warmth resembles their mother’s womb. When done correctly, swaddling can be a great way to calm infants and promote sleep.

Babies can be swaddled at night and naptime. To make your baby safe and comfortable, keep these swaddling tips in mind:

– Stop swaddling by two months of age, before babies start to roll over.
– Put babies to sleep on their backs in their own cribs.
– Keep cribs free of blankets, bumper pads, pillows and stuffed animals.
– Check babies for signs of overheating, such as sweat, flushed cheeks and rapid breathing.

And if you’d like to learn more, check out this BabyCenter video: How To Swaddle Video

To learn more about how to help your baby sleep safely, click here

 

Disclaimer: If your baby has a fever or other symptoms, or you have concerns about the growth and development of your child, always seek care with your healthcare provider.