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New baby, new worries

Photo via Flickr user Carmen Rodriguez NSP

Whether British royalty, sports hero, or average Joe, new parents are bound to have plenty of questions about their new babies.

Baby news from both the royal family and Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins has newborns on the minds of many, so to get a few tips on making the transition home a little easier, HealthTalk spoke with Emily Borman-Shoap, M.D., medical director for newborn care at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital.

Borman-Shoap’s first piece of advice for new parents? Stop Googling!

“We will help you! Call or visit a Univeristy of Minnesota Physicians or Fairview clinic to tap into years of experience and expertise from the care providers and nursing staff. New parents cannot call too much, and pediatricians and nurses are happy to help,” said Borman-Shoap.

Heading home

When parents get home from the hospital, Borman-Shoap says it is important to put all the focus on getting to know the baby.

“Parents are surprised how much work a new baby can be, so I encourage them to let the chores go and work on getting to know the new family member,” she said. “Say no to visitors if you’ll want to clean up before they arrive. Save that time for developing your relationship.”

Calming your baby and yourself

New babies bring a lot of surprises and quirks.

  • Squeaks, sneezes and hiccups are common and often keep parents up at night. This is normal.
  • Babies are stunned by being out of the womb. Loud noise is upsetting and the lack of arm and leg control is surprising. Swaddling, shushing and gentle rocking can help with soothing a newborn.
  • New little ones sleep a lot and are only bright-eyed and alert for about an hour a day. Let them sleep, but try to build an awareness of night and day. Be quiet and minimal at nighttime and keep lights low. During the day, keep shades open and activity normal.

Time to eat

Many mothers are concerned their child is not eating enough when nursing. The first few days, the baby will eat colostrum, an early form of breast milk which comes in small amounts but is full of nutrients. The full volume of a mother’s milk usually comes in on the second or third day after the baby is born.

Listen for swallowing sounds and watch for wet diapers, a moist mouth and milk in spit up to know the baby is eating.

Borman-Shoap recommends finding a hospital designated as baby-friendly, such as the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital, and working with a certified lactation consultant for support in the first days and weeks.

Families choosing formula should work with their health care team to determine the proper amount to give a newborn.

The back end

A lot of parents express concern about digestive problems like constipation or reflux. Borman-Shoap recommends discussing these concerns with your physician, but says most are more worrisome for parents than the baby.

“Big warning signs include blood in vomit, continued disinterest in eating and not gaining weight. Most of the other issues work themselves out,” she said. “Being a new parent is full of surprises, and that’s why it’s helpful to have a good support team to call on for advice.”

Other resources

Happiest Baby on the Block

Baby-friendly hospital designation

  1. July 26, 2013 1:35 pm | Allison Holt & Associates Says:

    Yes, new mothers should take advantage of the resources at their fingertips – and not find answers online. Parenting brings with it a great deal of newness, some difficult. At our office we see new mothers frequently who have trouble adjusting to motherhood. It can be hard to adjust to a new family member and deal with the lifestyle changes.

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