Having a newborn can be both exciting and terrifying, especially for first-time parents. It can be overwhelming to know that your new little bundle of joy is completely dependent on you.
So be prepared and take steps to help keep your new baby safe, happy and healthy. Here are some general healthy and safety tips to get you started:
- Pick a pediatrician before your baby arrives. This gives the pediatrician time to review any medical problems and offer advice for caring for your newborn.
- Schedule (and keep) checkups. Exams and screenings are important for your doctor can evaluate your baby’s health and chart his or her growth and development. If you are concerned about your baby’s health in between visits, especially if you notice a high fever, skin rash, loss of appetite, difficulty breathing, persistent vomiting or diarrhea, contact your doctor right away.
- Stay on top of vaccinations. Immunizations start at birth and are one of the easiest ways to protect your child from dangerous illnesses. Keep your baby’s immunization record in a safe place and bring it to every doctor or clinic visit to ensure your baby is up-to-date.
- Support good (and safe) sleep. Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, even for short naps.
- Promote good nutrition. For a baby, breast milk is best. He or she will probably nurse about eight to 12 times every 24 hours. If you can’t breastfeed, formula is designed to be healthy and nutritious for your baby. Babies should be given breast milk or formula exclusively up to the first six months of life.
- Use a car seat for every ride. Take time to correctly install your car seat before you bring your newborn home from the hospital. Your baby should ride in the back seat in a safety-approved, rear-facing car seat.
- Never leave your baby unattended, especially in the tub or on high surfaces such as his or her changing table, a counter, couch or bed. No matter how quickly you will return, never leave him or her alone in the car.
- Never leave small objects within an infant’s reach. They are quick to explore and put things in their mouths.
- Begin safety-proofing your house. Older babies are fascinated with cords and string, so keep window blind cords and electrical cords tied up or hidden. Consider using safety latches on kitchen and bathroom cabinets to prevent poisonings, covers for your outlets to prevent electrocution and safety gates for stairs to prevent falls.
For more information on Baptist Health’s Mother/Baby services, visit BaptistHealthKY.com.