Baby Care Tips

Baby Care Tips

Feeding Your Baby

Does Your Baby Need Water?

Babies usually do not need water. Water does not contain any of the nutrients or calories that your baby needs and may make your baby feel too full to breastfeed.


Your baby’s doctor may prescribe vitamins and fluoride to ensure that your baby gets proper nutrition and to protect your baby’s emerging teeth. Breast milk provides all the nutrients that a baby needs during the first six months. Therefore, breast milk substitutes and solid foods (such as infant cereals and baby food) are not needed for nutritional or physical reasons prior to six months of age. Giving solid foods too early can contribute to obesity, may provide more salt than your baby’s system can easily handle, and may cause an early onset of a food allergy.

Burping Your Baby

During the first few weeks, you will need to burp your baby frequently. You need to do this during, and at least once after, every feeding. Traditional overthe-shoulder burping works well, or you may want to try sitting your baby in your lap and leaning him slightly forward, supporting his jawbone and upper chest with your hand. Gently rubbing or patting your baby’s back is comforting and may help the air bubbles come up.


Pacifiers may interfere with identifying feeding cues. If breastfeeding, pacifiers are discouraged for the first 4 to 8 weeks of life while breastfeeding is being established.

Pacifiers may; however, be used briefly as a method of pain management during procedures that may be painful. Following the procedure, the pacifier will be discarded if you are breastfeeding. Once breastfeeding is firmly established (around 4 to 8 weeks of life), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends pacifiers for the first year of life to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).


How Much and How Often to Feed

Babies should be fed at least 8 to 12 times per 24 hours. Feed your baby on demand at the earliest signs of hunger. Babies demonstrate hunger by turning their heads when their cheeks are touched or “rooting”; sucking on their fists; increasing their physical movement and stretching; and crying. During the first month, if your baby sleeps longer than four hours and starts missing feedings, wake him up and offer a feeding.

Choosing to Breastfeed

Breastfeeding is the preferred method of infant feeding; breast milk provides the very best nutrition. Formula cannot replicate the nutrients found in breast milk. The different nutrients in your breast milk keep pace with your baby’s growth and changing nutritional needs. For example, when your baby is five weeks old, your milk is the perfect mix of nutrients for a five-week-old. When your baby is 10 months old, the composition of your breast milk will be different – and perfect for your 10-month old baby! Woman’s Breastfeeding Guide offers comprehensive breastfeeding information for you and your baby.


The following are just a few benefits of breastfeeding for you and your baby:

Benefits for Baby

• Easily digested

• Perfectly matched nutrition

• Decreases obesity

• Protects against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

• Fewer gastrointestinal disturbances

• Fewer ear and lower respiratory infections and breathing problems

• Stimulates sense of taste and smell

• Antibodies protect against infections, colds, viruses and allergies

• Facilitates bonding; baby receives skin-to-skin, eye and voice contact

• Reduces the risk of many illnesses and health problems during childhood and later in life, including: º Staph, strep, E. coli and salmonella infections º Urinary tract infections º Pneumonia º Meningitis º Type 1 and type 2 diabetes º Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis º Many childhood cancers (such as leukemia) º Breast and ovarian cancer


Benefits for Mother

• Convenient — it is always available and at the perfect temperature

• Saves money • Helps the uterus return to its normal size faster

• Reduces the risk of osteoporosis (bone loss) later in life

• Less likely to develop some breast, uterine, endometrial and ovarian cancers

• Reduces risk of type 2 diabetes

• May reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high triglycerides

• Recover more quickly after childbirth

• Are more likely to return to their pre-pregnancy weight

• Have a lower risk of anemia after childbirth

• Miss fewer work days to care for sick children

Benefits for Both

• Helps you and your baby emotionally bond, contributing to a very special and loving relationship


Protecting Your Baby Against Disease: Immunizations

Immunizations, also called vaccinations or shots, are medicines given to protect your child against certain harmful diseases. All of these diseases still occur and, for some, there is no cure. All can cause permanent disability; some can cause death. Vaccinations are given by mouth or by injection (shot). Studies also show that infants who are immunized have a lower risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or “Crib Death”). Immunizations are an effective way to produce disease-fighting substances called antibodies. Children are susceptible to nine very dangerous diseases that can be prevented by vaccines. Your child is most vulnerable to diseases when very young, so immunization should start early. Your child should receive immunizations at birth, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 12 months, 15 to 18 months, 4 to 6 years, and then as a teen. Vaccines are among the safest and most effective medicines. Reactions do occur, but they are rarely serious. It is important to remember that the risk of disease from delaying or not vaccinating your child is far greater than the remote risk of a serious reaction. Your baby’s doctor will decide the exact schedule for your baby’s vaccinations. Babies do often run fever after receiving vaccines. Call the doctor if your baby’s fever is above 99.6°F and does not come down with acetaminophen (see Taking a Temperature section of this booklet on page 41), if your baby is crying and cannot be calmed, or is excessively sleepy or floppy. Your doctor or public health clinic will keep a record of your child’s immunizations. You will need an immunization record to enroll your child in day care or school. Screening Tests As required by Louisiana state law, a number of screening tests are routinely performed on newborn babies. Some will be done while your baby is in the hospital; others are done in the doctor’s office during a checkup. These tests can give information about certain conditions or diseases. If test results are not normal, your doctor will talk to you about this and discuss what needs to be done. Hearing Screen Hearing loss is the most common congenital disorder in newborns. Therefore, it is recommended that all newborns be screened for hearing. If hearing loss is not caught early, then there will be a lack of stimulation of the brain’s hearing center. This can delay speech and other development in your newborn. Every baby born at Woman’s will have a hearing screening before going home from the hospital. A screening technician will come to your room to perform this hearing screening. If it is too noisy in your hospital room, the technician may need to take your baby in the bassinet to a quiet room. It takes about 30 minutes to perform the screening test. A certified audiologist will interpret the test results. Your baby may need another screening test if he does not pass this first test. The repeat screening is usually done when your baby is three to four weeks old. If needed, please call Hearing Services at 225-924-8450 to schedule an appointment. If you have concerns about your child’s hearing, speech or language development, talk with your baby’s doctor.

Immunization of Parents, Caregivers and Family Members

Parents, caregivers and family members of newborns are encouraged to receive the Tetanus Diphtheria and Acellular Pertussis (Tdap) vaccine to protect their infants from pertussis. Pertussis (“whooping cough”) is very contagious and can cause serious illness and even death in babies. It is most often spread by adults or older children coughing or sneezing near babies. If you didn’t receive this vaccine during your pregnancy, you may be offered the vaccine while in the hospital. Encourage your family members and other caregivers that will be around your baby to get vaccinated for whooping cough. This will create a circle of protection called “cocooning.” Other family members and caregivers should contact their doctor about receiving the vaccine.


Newborn Metabolic Screening

All infants are screened for inherited metabolic defects. This testing is called newborn metabolic screening and tests for more than 40 disorders. Though not very common, metabolic defects can cause serious problems if not properly treated. In the beginning, most infants with these disorders show no obvious signs of disease. If left untreated, a metabolic disease can be serious or even life-threatening. Some diseases may slow physical development or cause mental disability. If detected early, these disorders can often be managed effectively with dietary adjustments, vitamins and medicines. With early diagnosis and treatment, many of these rare conditions can be treated before they cause serious health problems in your child. What to Expect During Your Newborn’s Metabolic Screening A blood sample for the newborn metabolic screening will be collected when your baby is around 36 hours of age. A few drops of blood are taken from your baby’s heel to test for these disorders before your baby leaves the hospital. The sample is then sent to a lab for testing. If your baby is less than 24 hours old when you go home, the newborn metabolic screening test must be repeated in one to two weeks. Your nurse will discuss this with you before you go home. Woman’s follows the American College of Medical Genetics screening recommendations for metabolic conditions, which exceed the Louisiana state law requirements.

TSH (Hypothyroidism) Screening:

Hypothyroidism, the condition when a baby has a low thyroid hormone level, occurs in about 1 in 2,000 to 3,000 babies and is not always an inherited disease. If untreated, your baby may become mentally disabled and may not grow normally. Hypothyroidism can be treated with medication. This test is run on an umbilical cord blood sample obtained when your baby is born.

Sickle-Cell Disease Screening:

Sickle-cell disease is an inherited disease of red blood cells that affects 1 in 500 African American babies, as well as those of Mediterranean and Hispanic descent. There is no cure for sickle-cell disease, but the anemia and other problems (pain, fever, infections) can be treated. This test is run on all babies using the blood sample obtained for newborn metabolic screening.


Metabolic Disorders Screened

Fatty Acid Oxidation Disorders

Carnitine/Acylcarnitine Translocase Deficiency •

Carnitine Uptake Defect • Carnitine Palmitoyl Transferase Deficiency I and II

• 3-Hydroxy Long Chain Acyl-CoA Dehydrogenase Deficiency

• 2,4-Dienoyl-CoA Reductase Deficiency

• Medium Chain Acyl-CoA Dehydrogenase Deficiency

• Multiple Acyl-CoA Dehydrogenase Deficiency

• Trifunctional Protein Deficiency


Organic Acid Disorders

3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA Lyase Deficiency

• Glutaric Acidemia Type I-II

• Isobutyryl-CoA Dehydrogenase Deficiency

• Isovaleric Acidemia • 2-Methyl-3-Hydroxy Butyric Aciduria

• 2-Methylbutyryl-CoA Dehydrogenase Deficiency

• 3-Methylcrotonyl-CoA Carboxylase Deficiency

• 3-Methylgutaconic Aciduria Deficiency

• Methylmalonic Acidemias º Methylmalonyl-CoA Mutase Deficiency º Some Adenosylcobalamin Synthesis Defects º Maternal Vitamin B12 Deficiency

• Beta Ketothiolase Deficiency •

Medium Chain Ketoacyl-CoA Thiolase Deficiency

• Propionic Acidemia

• Multiple-CoA Carboxylase Deficiency

• Malonic Acidemi


Amino Acid Disorders


• Argininosuccinic Acidemia

• Citrullinemia

• Homocystinuria

• Hypermethioninemia

• Maple Syrup Urine Disease

• Phenylketonuria º Classical/Hyper phenylalaninemia º Biopterin Cofactor Deficiencies

• Tymsinemia º Transient Neonatal Tyrosinemia º Tyrosinemia Type I º Tyrosinemia Type II º Tyrosinemia Type III


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