When you’re an expecting or new parent, everyone has advice to share, right!? Sometimes it’s helpful and sometimes it’s unsolicited. 🙂 It can feel overwhelming at times, especially if this is your first child. We know how you feel as parents ourselves on the BCB team, and we want to try and offer some tips, tricks and parent hacks straight from the experts – the pediatricians themselves!
We are lucky to have several of them participating at our Chicago July 17, 2019 Expectant Parent Dinner – What’s Up Doc? Pediatrician Panel. They will be sharing tips and advice on so many important topics (How to choose a pediatrician, suggested vaccination schedule, What to expect with your pediatrician in the hospital and during your first few visits + more) and will be answering everyone’s questions. If you’re in the Chicagoland area, please join us.
Keep reading to see a round-up of some of the top questions they get from expecting or new parents + some of their best tips for new parents!
Child & Adolescent Health Associates: The CAHD group shares their expertise at our July 17, 2019 Expectant Parent Dinner – What’s Up Doc? Pediatrician Panel. You can find the practice, including Drs Tarnowski and Dr Adhikari, online and on Instagram. You can also find Dr. Adhikari on Instagram.
Dr. Payal Adhikari: @MommyPMD, @CAHApediatrics
What’s the top question you get from new parents? “How do you do it all?” My answer is: “I don’t! Having two toddlers and a full time job is a lot, so I prioritize. I decide what’s important and what can wait so I can maintain balance. Sometimes going for a run is a priority and doing laundry waits, but it keeps me sane!”
What are some additional quick tips that you’ve found useful for new parents: If you can, have someone at home to videotape your baby’s entrance to your home – it’s such a fun memory!
My favorite things to do in Chicago are things that are FREE! There are so many wonderful free parks (that I didn’t even notice pre-kids), museum days, kid-friendly street festivals….Kid moods are unpredictable, so it’s nice to have low stress and flexible activities.
My fav momhack to maintain sanity is to use naptime as time for yourself. I used to use naptime to do dishes, laundry, clean-up, etc., but then realized that there is no end to how much you can do! So now I watch TV, nap, explore the blackhole of social media, and save the chores for when the kids are up – It encourages kids to play independently, and sometimes I even involve them in the chores (“Can you put this spoon in the drawer?” Usually ends up taking more time, but also teaches them about helping!).
Cari Tarnowski, Child & Adolescent Health Associates. @CAHApediatrics
What’s the top question you get from new parents? “Am I doing a good job as a parent? Am I doing it “right?” I like to say pediatricians know children, but ultimately, parents know their own children best, so please ask us if you have questions about your child specifically: we are here to be a member of your team!
Another common question: how can I learn more? I know I shouldn’t go on the Internet always, but… Knowing your resources is key! For follow up learning, the American Academy of Pediatrics website is helpful, and sometimes even a book can control the message so you don’t end up click, click, clicking! Of course, asking at Bump events and our nurses are great, too!
TIPS for New Parents:
Try to nap when the baby naps.
When a question comes up make a note of it. Its so easy when one is sleep deprived to forget what you wanted to ask when at the doctor’s office.
Photograph rashes and video symptoms that worry you so that you can show your pediatrician when you have an appointment.
Accept help if offered, for example meals, doing grocery shopping etc. In the first few weeks of life. It’s your opportunity to bond and adapt to being a new parent.
Choose a pediatrician that acknowledges that new parents will have a lot of questions, and that they take the time to answer them.
Top Q&A from Expecting & New Parents:
Q: How do I get my baby to sleep more at night?
A: When in your womb, Moms’ lulled their babies to sleep while walking and moving around. At night when you relaxed the baby started to kick. The same pattern will persist after birth.
Make night time as unstimulating as possible, keep lights down low. Keep it bright during the day. Feed the baby on demand. It takes about 3-4 weeks for the babies to get used to day and night rhythms. Nap when the baby naps during the day.
Q: Why is my baby sneezing and sounding so congested?
A: Babies breathe primarily through their noses; they sneeze to clear their nostrils. If they sound congested and they are having difficulty eating, spray some nasal saline in their nostrils and bulb syringe out the secretions.
Q: Why does my baby hiccup all the time?
A: Hiccupping is normal in newborns. It bothers you a lot more than them. Continue feeding and burping as normal. It usually goes away at around 6 weeks.
Q: Why does my baby have diarrhea?
A: After the meconium has cleared out and the baby is getting enough breast milk /formula. Expect the baby’s poop to be like liquid mustard 3-6 or more times a day.
Q: How do I know if my baby has had enough to eat if nursing?
A: Feed the baby every 2-4 hours on demand. Usually 15-20 minutes on each side. Once mom’s milk is in. the baby will have liquid mustard poops 3-6 x a day.
Q: How do I prevent my baby from getting a flat head?
A: When putting your baby down to sleep on their backs, tilt the head to different positions. When you are observing the baby, give your baby tummy time. Hold the baby chest to chest and not always in the same arm.
Q: Is my baby gaining weight? I feel my milk supply is not enough.
A: Most babies can lose some weight after they are delivered and we usually give the infant 10-14 days to regain their Birth weight. Most mothers will start feeling really engorged and producing significant milk by day 4 after delivery and putting the infant to the breast every 3 hours or so will stimulate that milk supply. Putting your infant to the breast as soon as possible after delivery also increases the success of breast feeding tremendously
Q: It really is painful to breastfeed? What can I do?
A: Breast feeding can be painful after the first few days as your nipples are getting used to the constant tugging! Your nipples will toughen up although it may take up to a week, it does get much easier and better! If it’s extremely painful when your baby latches on and this continues while the infant is suckling, it’s important to break the latch/suction with your finger and have the baby latch on again. Sometimes when the infant is chewing down on the nipple and not latching on the areola (the brownish ring of skin around the nipple) it can be painful and the baby isn’t really getting any milk. Using lanolin cream on your nipples and even letting your nipples air dry after a feed can keep them from getting too broken up.
Q: My breasts are too engorged and I feel uncomfortable:
A: This is usually a question 4-7 days after delivery where for the vast majority of mothers their milk supply is more than the infant actually needs. It’s a good idea to have a breast pump so if you feel engorged you can pump after nursing your child (if your child feeds only on one breast – you can pump the other breast) and start saving the milk which can then be used for subsequent feeds! It’s a good idea however to do exclusive breast feeding for the first 2 weeks to avoid confusion for the baby.
Q: When is it OK to pierce my baby’s ears?
A: There is no one correct answer. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says there’s little risk at any age if the piercing is performed carefully and cared for conscientiously. But the AAP does recommend waiting until a child is old enough to take care of the piercing his or herself.
The choice however can be personal or cultural with many piercing in babies when ear lobes are soft and more flexible. Others prefer to wait until the first vaccines are given. There is some evidence to suggest waiting until after 1year holds less chance of allergic reaction and less chance of keloid (scar) formation. In general, understand that piercing requires 2 conditions: 1) that they be done in sterile fashion 2) they DO require after-care. To minimize risk of infection do pierce at a reputable place as some pediatricians, dermatologists and even jewelers do this procedure, but many do not. Places that do them frequently are the best to use so do your homework. The kits used to pierce should be sterile and single use or disinfected properly. Take care to use a good quality earring (14k gold or higher), a stud and not a dangling earring of any sort, and make sure the backing is a safety backing and not sharp or pointed as to hurt when baby laying on the earring. Keep them clean and use disinfectant daily after the procedure. Report any redness, swelling, pain or pus if noted.
Q: Best infant sunscreens?
A: The risk of not using sunscreen far outweighs the risk of cancer and skin damage from burns. Studies are still underway regarding absorption of certain sunscreens at various ages. Barrier or mineral sunscreens that block the sun are safest to use. Choose SPF of 50 or higher and use cream not sprays when possible so as not to be inhaled. Apply liberally 15mins before sun exposure and reapply after being in water or every 2hours. Vanicream and Aveeno are excellent choices. These barrier sunscreens contain contain titanium or zinc and are usually fragrance free and safe for sensitive skin types. Don’t forget clothing with UPF (Ultraviolet protection factor) and avoid peak hours (10a-2p). Use hats to protect scalp and neck.
Q: I think the question I am asked most often by new parents is: “What is going on with my baby’s skin?”
A: This is always a great question to ask. For some reason, baby skin can do lot of odd things including: being covered in in small dark spots or even pustules (pustular melanosis), peeling (think 9 months in the bathtub, this is exfoliation), turning yellow (jaundice) and having pimple like spots that can come and go for up to 2 weeks (erythema toxicum). Most of these are pretty normal and are not treated with anything, except for jaundice–which may need to be followed closely with blood tests and even treated. My best adviice is never be afraid to ask questions and be sure to ask your doctor what you should call about before you leave the hospital!
Don’t forget to also keep checking our BCB site for monthly free events in your area here — playdates, workouts, Expectant Parent Dinners, Gearapaloozas, + more!