It is very common for new parents to worry about how to keep their baby healthy and safe, after all, it is a huge responsibility. You can trust that the pediatric specialists at UPMC Magee-Womens in Central Pa. are just a phone call away and are prepared to answer any questions that you may have during your baby's first weeks of life.
Soothing a Fussy Baby
It is important that you respond promptly to your baby’s crying during the first few months. You will not spoil your baby by giving her too much attention. A warm, dry baby with a full belly will usually be content. However, if your baby continues to cry, there are a number of strategies you can use to soothe her, including:
- Rocking and swaying
- Taking a car or stroller ride
Swaddling, or the technique of securely wrapping your baby in a blanket, can be comforting to newborns. Make sure that when you swaddle your baby, her legs are able to bend up and out at the hips. Wrapping your baby tightly with her legs straight can cause problems with hip joint development.
Taking Your Baby’s Temperature
It is essential that you purchase a baby thermometer for your baby’s nursery. When you call your baby’s physician, one of the first questions you will be asked is whether your baby has a temperature.
You can take your baby’s temperature under his arm (axillary), or you can use an ear thermometer. Before your due date, you might want to check with your physician for advice on which type of thermometer to purchase.
Before going home from the hospital, you should ask a nurse to show you how to take your baby’s temperature.
Keeping Your Baby Safe
Taking precautions and anticipating risks ahead of time will help you keep your baby safe in his first months of life. You should follow a number of safety practices, including:
- Never leave your baby alone on a bed, table or other elevated surface, even when he is sleeping. Falls can cause serious injury to your baby.
- Keep small objects out of reach, including nuts, carrots, candies, buttons, beads or any other item that can be swallowed. If the item is small enough to fit through a toilet paper roll, it should be kept away from your baby.
- Keep plastic bags out of reach, as they can cause suffocation.
- Check the air flow and temperature of your baby’s room, as overheating during sleep can be dangerous for your baby. The temperature should be 68 to 72 degrees.
- Your baby’s sleeping area should be free of strings, pillows, bumpers, comforters and sheepskins. You should make sure your baby’s sleepwear does not have any strings.
- Always check the temperature of your baby’s bath water using your forearm (not your hand), to make sure it isn’t too hot.
- Never leave your baby unattended at bath time.
- Do not hold your baby while you are cooking. Hot food could splash your baby or a hot pan could burn her skin.
- Space heaters, radiators, fireplaces and other appliances that produce heat should be off limits to babies and toddlers.
- Do not smoke around your baby. Smoke is harmful to your baby’s developing lungs, and hot ashes can cause burns.
- Keep your baby in the shade. Your baby has sensitive skin that is more susceptible to sunburn.
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