Caring for Baby
Nothing can be more self-satisfying than being able to care for all of your baby's needs. At the same time, caring for your child can weigh heavy on your shoulders and seem overwhelming. There are a number of things you should keep in mind when you bring your newborn home and throughout their development.
If you're new to childbirth, some newborn development phases may seem strange to you and you may wonder, Is this normal? In most cases, your newborn is just fine and you will soon be able to learn exactly what he or she needs and wants. However, there are also times when you may need to call the doctor to better assess the problem at hand.
Call your healthcare provider if your baby:
- Is sleepy and hard to wake for feedings
- Has fewer than six wet diapers and three soiled diapers per day
- Has green, watery and foul-smelling stools
- Acts hungry or fussy even after nursing
- Has trouble latching or staying latched onto the breast
- Feeds fewer than six times in 24 hours during the first month
Prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome
Shaken baby syndrome has often been found to occur when a parent or caregiver becomes upset or angry with a crying baby. Never shake a baby, because it may result in serious injury or infant death. If you feel yourself getting overwhelmingly upset, take a break and place your child in a safe place, like a crib. Ask a family member or friend for help, so that you can take a moment to calm down and collect your feelings.
Tips to keep in mind:
- Never shake, throw or hit a baby
- Support baby's head as you hold or play with your child
- Do not jog with your baby in a front or back carrier
- Do not hold your baby during an argument or fight
- Do not leave your baby with anyone who is angry or under the influence
- Teach the dangers of shaking to babysitters and educate on other solutions
There are certain things every family should be made aware of when bringing home the new baby. One such thing is a serious infant risk that has been at the height of attention over the past two decades, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The cause of SIDS remains a mystery, but nonetheless, it has stayed in the spotlight of researchers.
Our very own nurses at The Birthplace have been one of the many groups researching and educating communities on how to reduce the risk for SIDS. In 2009, four infant deaths documented within Lycoming County raised awareness of our staff nurses. To ensure that enough was being done to prevent SIDS, they came up with a three-step intervention:
1. Improve Nursing Education
- A nursing staff delegate attends the National Safe Sleep Conference
- Staff continues education on SIDS Risk Reduction sponsored by the National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD)
- On-site continuing education seminars are given by Dr. Michael Goodstein, Neonatologist and Director of York County Cribs for Kids
- Modeling Safe Sleep behaviors in the hospital setting
2. Improve Parent Education
- Nurses require parents to view a Safe Sleep Video and sign a Safe Sleep Contract before leaving the hospital
- Safe Sleep posters are hung and door hangers placed in every patient room
- Safe Sleep brochures are given out to family
- Sleep sacks are handed out to new mothers as a method to reduce smothering of newborns with use of traditional blankets
- Safe Sleep education is provided during our childbirth classes.
3. Improve Community Outreach
- SIDS education billboard was created
- Grandparent education is offered
- Cribs are distributed to needy families through Lycoming County's Cribs for Kids program
- Safe Sleep presentations were given at the Community Health Fair at the Lycoming Mall
- A news segment was aired on WNEP-TV highlighting Safe Sleep environments and parent education at The Birthplace
Reduce the Risk for SIDS
Follow the ABCs of Safe Sleep:
- Alone- never share a bed or sleep with a baby or put anything in the crib with the baby
- on their Back- place infants on their back for sleep time
- in their Crib- baby should never sleep on a bed, couch or the floor. Always place them in a crib
Here is a helpful handout you can download and share with family members on keeping your baby safe during sleep.