What to Know about Newborns If you have a newborn, you have probably thought about the things that you are going to need. It is still important that you know a few things that you are going to need for your newborn when they arrive. These are tips that will help you stay calm and cool when you arrive home with your baby. When you are prepared you will be able to have a better and easier first few months. First thing, you will need to have clothing and blankets for him or her. Remember that these should be clothing and blankets that are made for a newborn. They need to be comfortable, strong and washable. Do not waste your time and money on expensive clothing that he or she is going to throw up or have diaper leak. Remember that your baby's needs are safety; comfort and you have to provide that. You are also going to need diapers for your newborn. Remember that your baby is going to grow and she or he is going to need diapers. You have to keep her weight and her size in mind when you are picking out diapers and do not by too many at one time. If you go with cloth diapers or disposable ones, remember that you should have plenty at all times because you are going to need them and be prepared for the baby to grow very fast. You will need to have bottles even if you are breastfeeding for your baby. These should be for a newborn and should be the right size for him or her. There are many different brands and they will each have their own philosophies on what is better for the baby. You should do your research when it comes to your conclusions about what is going to be best for your baby when it comes to bottles. You may also want to have some pacifiers on hand because they can be helpful when nothing else will help. There are other items that will be important to your baby's life. You will have to have washcloths, soap, and suction cleaner for your baby's nose. You should also have soft q-tips and baby lotion on hand. Remember that you should always get the things that are made especially for newborns so that you are not using things that are meant for grownups or animals on your baby. You should also keep in mind that your newborn is going to need plenty of cognitive stimulation. Remember that it is important have brightly colored rattles and other thins so that your baby's brain can develop as best as it can and so that you are able to help with cognitive development of your baby. Keep dangerous items behind locked doors out of the baby's reach and have enough supplies so that you will only need to make short trips to the store. How to Hold Your New Born For newborn babies, you need to know how to hold them the right way. What is important for you to know is that a baby can pick up on the way that you are feeling and how you are feeling towards them. If you are a first time parent and chances are you will be nervous around your baby or if you are not comfortable holding your baby, your baby is going to sense this. This is probably going to make them arch their back and not want to be held by you at that moment. In order to avoid this, you need to relax and feel more comfortable with your baby. Remember that it is important for you to hold your baby safely and securely and also make them feel more comfortable in your arms. There are different ways that you can hold your baby that you may not have realized. Holding them differently may make them less bored and more entertained. If they are fussy, it may be because they are bored. If you hold them against your body and face them away from you, it is going to give them more to look at and it is going to help them be less bored. You have to remember that you need to make your baby feel safe in your arms. This is something that you will find important for health and happiness of the baby. Be sure that you are holding them and supporting their entire body and you are helping them know that they are very safe in your arms. If they are able to relax in your arms, this means that they feel safe. You should be sure that you are always keeping your mind on your baby when you are holding them. You will learn quickly and it will become natural for you in no time. A baby needs to feel close to you so you should hold them close to your body and they will feel more secure than if you were to hold them out away from your body. Hold them close and keep them safe and secure and you will see that your baby will be happy with you and love to be held in your arms. Communicating With Your Newborn There are many things that you can do for your newborn that are going to help them in their development and are going to help them be smarter and develop faster. Remember that talking is one of the most important things that you can do for them. You should always be talking to your newborn. This is something that many parents might overlook because they feel that since their babies are so young, they cannot respond to what they are saying. However babies develop speech because they are spoken to. In order to help speech develop for your baby, you have to remember that you need to always talk to them. Even before they are old enough to understand what you are saying, and before they can respond back to you with words you should be communicating with them. Some of the things that you can say to your baby will include a nursery rhyme and some poems because of the repetition and the singing that your baby will have connections to. You need to talk to your baby about other things and some of the things may include telling them what you are doing. If you are talking to them when you are doing it, this will help them to learn how to do things and what certain items are. You can also help them by naming objects and pointing to them. Saying familiar words and phrases is also important to your baby's development. As a newborn, your baby is finding out the mental foundation for saying words in the future. Communicating with your newborn may seem silly at first. Some may feel like they do not have to do it. However this is a big mistake because it is never possible to know what kinds of developments are delayed or do not even exist because a parent has not spoken to their child. Be sure that you are always talking to your baby no matter what age they are. It is always going to be something that will help them and not hurt them. No matter what you think you are doing for your baby, not talking to them is a big mistake. You will see if you talk to your baby, his or her speech is going to develop much faster. You will surprised to see how much more speech your child has at a much earlier age if you speak to them since their first day from birth. When Newborns are Fussy One of the biggest ways to lose your patience when you are a new parent is a fussy baby. If you have a newborn that is fussy there are things that you need to check on first. Does the baby has wet or dirties pants? Is the baby hungry or do they need burped? These are normal and regular for babies. The chances are good for them to be fussy with these problems and you have to check for these things first. Once you have decided that this is not the problem, you should not get frustrated. There are several other possibilities that you will want to consider. Remember that the temperature can be a big problem for a newborn to be fussy. If your baby is too hot or cold, they are not going to be happy. The best way to check on this is to simply feel their skin. Does it feel too hot or too cold? Des the baby feel the same temperature as always? If a newborn is too hot or cold, you should take steps to fix it. Also a baby may be bored when they are fussy and most parents do not realize it at all. Having a baby that is bored means that they are going to be fussy. If your baby has been held in the same position for a long time or if they have been sitting in the same place for too long, they may be bored and need to have a change in scenery. Try to change what position they are in and try to change what they are seeing. This will help to relive their fussy behavior. Sometimes even moving them to the other side of your own body will help to make them happy. This will get them facing a different direction and will help to calm them down and make the baby happy. If you have tried all of the above and your baby is still fussy, you should take the baby to the doctor. Remember that sometimes a baby is fussy because there is no other way for them to let us know they are sick or not feeling good. A doctor can determine if they are sick and if there is something else that you can do to help them be more comfortable. There is usually something very simple that you can do to make your baby happier and more enjoyable. Getting Your Newborn to Sleep All Through the Night It is not easy to get your newborn to sleep all through the night when you first bring them home from the hospital. It may be hard to hear but a newborn baby really does need to eat every few hours. This means that they are going to wake up in the middle of the night and you need to get up to feed them. However there are ways that you can rearrange your schedule so that they can get into a good routine and this can make nighttime feedings go a lot easier. The most important thing is to get the baby to sleep through the night. This means that you will get to sleep through the night. Getting a good routine is important and if you can get them done early, you are going to notice that it is easier for you to transfer to sleeping through the night when your baby no longer wakes up to eat in the middle of night anymore. It is important to put your baby to sleep at the same time every night. Many of the new parents do not do this because they think if they have a newborn, it will be easier on them if the newborn sleeps at the same time that the parents do. However a baby is going to wake up early in the morning and so if your child is put to bed earlier at night this will put them on a schedule and a good routine. This will mean that your child is going to be less cranky during the day and your days and nights both will be more pleasant. It is also a good idea for you to remember with your newborn is that the only times they should be waking up at night will be the times that they are hungry and need to eat. This means that if you can keep your baby happy so that they are only waking up to eat, this will be much easier for you to make the transition to having them sleep through the night. When the baby is not waking up during the night, except to eat, they are going to be much happier during the day. There are several things that you can do to make certain that they are sleeping well. Make sure that the temperature in the room is warm and enjoyable for a baby. Your newborn should not need to have blankets on and he or she should not be dressed in many different layers to keep warm. On the same not, they should not be dressed to warmly because if a newborn gets hot he or she will wake up. Know that if you keep the room dark and quiet you and your baby are more likely to sleep better and more comfortably. Newborn Coughs and Sneezes Any parent of a newborn has so much to worry about. You will be worrying if your newborn is getting the right foods and enough of it. You may also worry about your baby getting into a regular sleeping schedule. You are also going to worry about your newborn being safe and getting entertained and you are also going to worry about cognitive development as well as physical development. Another thing that you will probably be concerned with is what happens if your baby gets sick. You can help your baby stay healthy with a few easy steps and this will be one less thing that you have to worry about. First of all, you need to remember that your baby is going to get sick sometimes no matter what you do. It is just a matter of staying healthy as possible so that when your baby does get sick, he or she can recover fast. If you are able, you should breast feed your baby. This will help your newborn's immune system get strong in a few weeks of their life. It is also important that you have a good doctor that you can trust and take your baby to right away when he or she is sick. In babies, treating illnesses right away is always a good idea because it is easy for sicknesses to start into something much more serious and you are going to want to get your baby healthy again right away. Complications are less likely to happen with regular check ups. Keep your newborn away from others that are sick. This is important and even if you have to stay home that is what you should do. However if you cannot always keep them from others that are sick, you should know that if your feeding your baby right and keeping them warm and content, he or she will less likely become sick from someone else. Rest is also important when it comes to keeping your newborn safe. Getting the right amount of sleep is good for people of all ages. Remember that you cannot keep your child perfectly healthy forever but you can handle the ups and downs of your child being sick much better if you work hard to stop it from happening. When your newborn is warm, dry and well fed, you will have little to worry about them catching an illness that could have easily been stopped in the first place. Medicine for your Newborns Most of the parents struggle when they are choosing medicines for their newborns. Remember that it is important for you to always be concerned with what you are giving your newborn baby. A newborn baby should never get medicine that is made for adults or made for older children. Medicine is one thing that can be very dangerous for your newborns so you should be very cautious. First of all, you should check with your doctor every time before you give your baby anything when it comes to medicine. Even medicine that is made for newborns can have some side effects that you do not want your baby to have. It is important to talk to your doctor first. The doctor will be able to tell you what your baby needs and they will be able to help you make sure that your baby gets the right dose of the medicine. You have to remember that it is important to give your baby medicine that is right and is will help what needs to be fixed. Medicine for colds is going to be much different than medicine that will help with teething even if it seem that they do the same thing. Remember to always follow the instructions that come with the medicine unless the doctor otherwise directs you. Be sure that you are careful when reading the instructions that comes with the medicine that you are giving them. If you are giving your baby medicine be sure that you are watching for side effects that are listed on there. If you have questions about the side effects, or if you think that medicine is not helping your baby, you should be sure to call your doctor. Give your baby all of the help that he or she needs to get healthy as soon as possible. A newborn relies on you so do not let them down. One important thing that you have to know is that when a doctor prescribes medicine for your baby you should follow the directions carefully. If your baby seems to get better, but there is still medicine left, you should follow the directions and continue to give the baby the medicine because often symptoms disappear before the sickness is actually completely healed. The rest of the doses of the medicine are actually very important for you to be giving your baby. If you have any questions you should contact your child's pediatrician and in an emergency do not hesitate to call 911. Playtime for Newborns You may think that your newborn needs to have toys. It is true that a newborn is not going to actually be able to hold and manipulate a toy that is intended for their entertainment like an older child would do. However there are different things that you can buy for your newborn that are going to be toys and also going to help them in their development. The best toys that are for newborns are simple. They are not actually able to play with the toys, but they can follow them with their eyes when you hold them in front of a baby. Rattles and brightly colored toys are good for babies because they can hear them and see them. If a toy is brightly colored and rattles and makes other noises, a baby is going to have a positive brain development when it comes to seeing objects and hearing sounds. If it is something that your newborn can hold in his or her hands, eventually as time goes by your baby's hands and feet will get stronger and able to grasp things better. You will see positive motor development if you give your baby toys to hold and move. There is a lot of research that shows positive brain development is happening in babies who have things to look at. If your baby has a mobile or another object to look at while they are in their crib or while they are sitting in a seat, they are going to be able to focus on objects and watch them. This is where they will get stimulation and will have better brain development. Remember that there are many sides to this topic. There has been a lot of research done that says that stimulation is important. However a baby can easily get over stimulated. This is why it is important to keep it simple and not have too many things going on at one time. Keeping the nursery in a few prominent colors is important because colors have been shown to encourage brain growth and development in newborns. Keep your baby stimulated and do not make them look at all different kinds of things that will make them stressed out. You will know you are creating sensory overload if your baby starts to cry for no reason at all. Keep it simple and make sure that you are grabbing their attention. If they can look at it and can follow it with tier eyes, they are going to have better brain development and grow stronger and smarter all the time. Games for Newborns You may think that your newborn is not going to benefit from games and playing with you. However it is important for you to know that your newborn is not only needs to have games, but they are crucial to the way that the baby develops. You should also know that everything that you do with your newborn is going to help in their development and this is especially true for playing games with them. Be sure that you are playing games with the newborn that will be helpful to them. You may be wandering what games should I be playing with my newborn? Well there are several things that you can do for your newborn to make sure that they are getting the most out of their daily routine. The most important thing to keep in mind is you have to keep talking to your baby. This is a game in itself because talking to them will help to get them developed and connect in their brains that they is going to help them develop better language. You should always be talking to them. It is also a good game for newborns to help them focus on objects. If you hold a bright colored object in front of them, you will allow their eyes to focus on the object and follow them as they move. All of these activities are going to help the brain develop for the newborn. Games are not exactly the kinds of games that you may think are so much fun for the child, but they are fun for your baby and will help them to develop properly. Many think that just because newborns cannot move on their own or talk, they are not developing. This is not true. Their brains are developing and getting stronger and more alert with each day. The connection that you have helped your child make is only going to help them develop better. It is always good to help your baby with their cognitive development because you want them to succeed in life. Language will develop better if you talk to your baby and their brains will develop better if you help them to focus on things and teach them as soon as you can. How to Name your Newborn One of the most exciting times about having a baby is to give them the perfect name. This is a duty that you should take very seriously and not pay attention to. You have to give them a name that is with them for the rest of their life and you have to make sure that you are kind and considerate of how they may feel with a name that you give them. The first thing to remember is that a name is what defines a person. Try to pick a name that you like but also remember that you child has to live with it. There are experimental names with unusual spellings is a good way to make sure that no one else has the same name. But you have to remember that your newborn has to live with the name that you give to them so you have to be careful. If you spell it in a way that no one else does, he or she may have to always worry about how someone is spelling his or her name. This is just something to think about. Another thing to keep in mind is that a name can carry a lot of history. If you have a name that has been passed down in your family you are going to be giving them a part of history. However make sure that you like the name. If you want to honor someone in your family but do not like their name, you can use it as the baby's middle name. There are some things that you may not have thought about or you should keep in mind. Rhyming names or names that do sound funny with your last name is not a good idea. Children will use this against them to torment them and make them uncomfortable later on in life. Be very careful to give them names that are not easy to make fun of and also make sure that your child's initials are not going to spell something that may be embarrassing as well. These are all good things that are important to think about first and most of the time they are missed by parents. The name that you give your baby is something that he or she can be proud of and carry with them for their entire life. Be sure that the name is a good and strong name that they can use for anything in their lives. Be ware of fad names and names that may go out of style fast. Be cautious also that if you use a name that is too popular, for some reason, your child can be sucked into whatever connotations name has. You have to be wise and think about this subject carefully. Treasure those early memories in a newborn journal She's brought unparalleled joy to your life, and you want to treasure every precious moment. A newborn journal can help you capture those special memories, especially during that hectic first month. The first few weeks with a new baby go by so quickly. Busy making transitions and adjustments to your lifestyle, it's not easy to remember all the wonderful memories you'd like to preserve forever. That's why it's important to capture them as you can and journaling makes it possible. To begin your newborn journal, all you need is some paper, a pen, and your thoughts. Yes, you can actually begin in a notebook, as long as you make sure to get your thoughts down on paper. If you don't do it now, you'll be less likely to remember all the special details you hoped to preserve. There will be time later to transfer what you've written into a keepsake edition of your journal, if you wish. Make it a point to write in your journal everyday. Even if only for a few moments, record what you think and feel. The more you write, the more you'll want to write. And if you aren't sure just how to get started, try one of these prompts: - "Three wishes I wish for my baby are:" - "What I love most about my baby today is:", or - "My baby loves it when I:" After you gather your thoughts from that first month, you can add some pictures and publish your newborn journal as a keepsake through companies like Cherish Bound (www.cherishbound.com) or Heritage Makers (www.heritagemakers.com). A newborn journal published like this is sure to become a treasured family heirloom, not to mention the fact that it can easily be shared with family and friends. In addition to -- or in place of, many families are choosing to share their journals online. You can record your reflections of life with baby at several websites and provide access to family and friends who want to know how baby is doing. Two websites that offer online journaling services are www.myfamily.com and www.ourstory.com. The www.ourstory.com site offers a free account to help you capture, preserve, and share your memories and photos online. Whether online or on paper, your newborn journal will help you capture those treasured first moments to enjoy for years to come. Bringing Home Baby: Calming Newborn Nerves Your newborn goes through a lot right after he's born. Whether the birth was natural or assisted, he experiences a great deal of stress as he copes with the abrupt change in the world as he knows it. No wonder he's a little out of sorts those first few weeks. The first days home with baby can be trying. He's adjusting. You're adjusting. Everyone is a bundle of nerves. If you stay calm, however, these simple tips will ease the transition for both of you. * Sing and talk to your baby. Your newborn begins to hear your voice while still growing inside you. By the time he is born, the familiarity of that sound has a remarkable calming effect. Talk to him, sing your favorite lullaby, and read books to him, especially stories that rhyme. * Make eye contact. While baby's do not have 20/20 vision at birth, they can see you. By making eye contact with your baby when you talk to or massage him, you are communicating with him, and if you watch his cues, you'll learn how he communicates with you. * Touch your baby. It's natural act, yet so powerful. Stroke his arms, legs, head, and back. The sensations relax both of you and enhance your bonding. If possible, learn about infant massage techniques and incorporate them into your daily routine. Research suggests that simple massage strokes relieve colic and constipation, as well as help infants establish regular sleep patterns and form stronger bonds with their caregivers. Hold your baby close, often. Research shows that keeping your baby close is good for him. Wearing your baby in a baby sling or carrier keeps him right where he needs to be to thrive. Cuddled next to you, baby feels your warmth and the comforting beat of your heart. The familiar rhythm helps him relax and feel secure. Using a baby sling also frees your arms and hands so that you can do a few things around the house, while still enjoying the benefit of snuggling with your baby. And that might help you feel calmer, too. *Respond to your baby. It's that simple. Though crying can be nerve-wracking, it's the only way your baby has to let you know he needs something. He cries when he's hungry; he cries when he's wet; he cries when he hurts or doesn't feel well; and he cries when he just doesn't know what else to do. While this barrage of bawling might make you feel like crying, too, the best thing to do is simply to respond to his need. Pick him up, cuddle him, and try to figure out just what it is he needs. Soon you'll recognize his cry for hunger over his pain cry and be able to soothe him by quickly filling the need. Worried that you'll spoil him? Don't be. Meeting your baby's needs is not spoiling him. By regularly responding to your newborn, you're forming a healthy bond that makes him feel secure. It's not uncommon for moms to feel out of sync with their babies in the first few weeks. But communicating your love to him through all his senses goes a long way toward calming those delicate newborn nerves.
Making the adjustment: How chiropractic care helps your newborn Birth is a physically stressful experience for your baby, especially if the delivery is natural or assisted. The force of being pushed through the birth canal can leave his tiny body out of alignment, not all that unlike the misalignment that causes millions of Americans to seek chiropractic care each year. What does this misalignment mean for your baby? Research suggests it may be responsible for common conditions like irritability, colic, and feeding problems in infants. Chiropractic provides a natural approach to alleviating these conditions and keeping your child healthy. Why does your baby need a chiropra Doctor? Chiropractors diagnose and treat subluxation. A subluxation is a misalignment of the spine that occurs when one or more of the vertebrae move out of position and put pressure on spinal nerves. This pressure interferes with the ability of your nervous system to effectively transmit nerve impulses to various parts of the body. When the nerves can't transmit messages well, your body cannot function optimally. As a result, you develop symptoms that depend on which nerve is being irritated or compressed. A chiropractor is a doctor specially trained to locate these misalignments and correct them through gentle manipulation. When your baby is born, his body must rotate and flex as baby finds his way through the birth canal. This traumatic process, though completely natural, can result in misalignment -- especially of the cervical vertebrae. For your baby this could mean feeding problems, fussiness, colic, or sleep disturbances, in the short term; and in the long term, if undetected and left untreated, the consequences could be lifelong, hidden damage to a child's nervous system. The only way to tell if your baby's symptoms are related to subluxation is to visit a chiropractor. A Doctor of Chiropractic can examine your child to determine if a spinal misalignment is affecting your baby's wellbeing. If so, he can perform gentle adjustments, as light as the touch of a finger, to correct your newborn's subluxations and relieve his discomfort. The result is a healthier, happier baby. To determine if chiropractic could help your baby, you can contact the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association to find a doctor. Members of ICPA are Doctors of Chiropractic who go on for specialized training in specific techniques for pregnant mothers, infants, and children. The association offers a Chiropractor locator on its website www.icpa4kids.com. You want the best for your newborn and that includes optimum health. Chiropractic care provides a natural alternative for treating common newborn problems. And a gentle adjustment just may make a dramatic difference. Three newborn gifts that keep giving People love to buy baby gifts. Clothes, toys, the newest gadgets -- they are all favorites of the savvy shopper. But a newborn quickly outgrows many of the gifts he receives. Some gifts, however, can keep on giving. Books, music, and infant massage or baby yoga classes are three newborn gifts that continue giving long after baby grows up. Books of all shapes, sizes, and topics make the perfect gift to encourage a lifelong love affair with the written word. The joy of reading is learned early. When you read to your child regularly, you nurture a love of books. There is no better time to begin, than when your baby is born. Story time with your newborn is more about sharing a special bond than reading, but this positive early experience may help your child develop a thirst for knowledge and a healthy attitude toward learning. >From gentle lullabies to classical compositions, early exposure to music may become another gift of a lifetime. When you play music for your baby, he learns the beauty of sound. Variety is important here. The more types of music your child hears, the more he learns to enjoy. Vocal and instrumental selections expose your baby to different qualities of music, as does playing a variety of musical genres -- classical to calm, jazz to uplift, and so on. Who knows, your baby may even grow up to be a famous singer or musician someday. Infant massage and baby yoga classes give the gifts of healthy touch and movement. The classes provide a superb bonding opportunity for you and your baby, but they may also do a lot more. What people experience as young children goes a long way toward establishing who they become as adults. Infant massage may help babies learn about their bodies and healthy touch. It also facilitates a strong parent-child bond, which may improve your ability to maintain open communication with your child as he grows. Likewise, baby yoga classes encourage healthy movement. When you learn to enjoy movement as a child, you carry that into adulthood. Your baby may learn healthier attitudes toward self-care, such as exercise and relaxation, as you model and share these experiences with him in class. Whether you choose books, music, or infant massage and baby yoga classes, the best gifts for baby are gifts that provide a foundation for healthy growth and development. Not only are they fun to give, they give a little something back as you enjoy watching their benefits unfold in a child's life. Protect your newborn from the flu It's that time of year again: flu season. Each year, millions of people hunker down in the fall to prepare for the annual onset of influenza outbreaks. With the season comes an onslaught of visits to, at best, pediatricians' offices and, at worst, hospital emergency departments by worried parents and their ailing children. Now that you've got a newborn, you want to be prepared. So how do you keep your new baby healthy this winter? While you cannot inoculate your baby, there are steps you can take to keep him healthy during flu season -- many of them common sense. What is the flu? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the flu is a contagious respiratory ailment caused by a group of viruses known as influenza. It strikes an average of five to 20 percent of the U.S. population each year, causing symptoms that range from fever, headache, dry cough, sore throat, runny nose, and muscle aches to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Complications associated with the illness include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions. Young children, the elderly, and people with chronic health conditions are at particular risk for serious flu-related complications. How do I avoid getting the flu? The CDC recommends getting a flu shot as the number one way to avoid getting the flu. If possible, get a flu shot in October or November, although you can still be vaccinated into December. Parents, siblings, and caretakers of young children should be vaccinated. The American Academy of Pediatrics revised its recommendation in 2006 to include flu shots for children as young as six months and up to age five years. The CDC also recommends that pregnant women be vaccinated. Studies suggest that maternal immunization may help prevent the flu in young infants. While your newborn is too young to safely receive the vaccine, and whether you were or weren't vaccinated while pregnant, he can't catch the flu, if he does not come into contact with the virus. Other simple preventatives include covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, washing your hands with soap and water -- often, avoiding close contact with those who are sick, and keeping your baby out of crowded public places. The flu is spread through contact with the respiratory droplets of an infect person, primarily from coughing and sneezing, so be alert and act accordingly. What to do if you or your baby get sick? If you think you have the flu, minimize contact with your baby as much as possible. Drink plenty of fluids and rest. Take fever-reducing medications, as necessary, and contact your physician if your condition worsens. If your baby becomes ill, ensure that he continues to nurse often to prevent dehydration. Call your pediatrician immediately if your baby has trouble breathing, is not feeding adequately, seems less responsive than usual, or his rectal temperature rises above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Influenza is a serious concern, especially for parents of newborns. But simple, common sense strategies can help you keep your baby healthy throughout the flu season. Bringing home baby: Introducing your newborn to the family dog People love their pets. And in many homes, Fido is simply another member of the family -- so much so that little thought may be given to what to do when a new baby arrives. But when it's time to bring a newborn home to meet the dog, parents need to keep a few things in mind. According to a dog bite fact sheet from the American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA), it is estimated that 4.7 million Americans will be bitten this year alone, most of them children. A study published in the March 2006 issue of Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, concluded that children under the age of 10 represent a high-risk group when it comes to dog attacks. Of great concern is the fact that researchers also found children under one-year-old were even more likely to be bitten than older children. Worse yet, the majority of the bites (73 percent) involved dogs the victim knew. Which dogs did most of that biting? Household pets were responsible in 33 percent of those incidents. Other familiar dogs included those that belonged to friends, relatives, and neighbors. While it's true that some dog breeds are more likely to bite than others -- German Shepherds and Dobermans accounted for 37 percent of the bite cases studied, parents must remember that all dogs -- even small breeds -- are capable of biting. And the family dog, however lovable, is no exception. In fact, newborns may be more at risk in homes where the dog is an established member of the family because it's natural instinct for the dog to see the new arrival as a threat to his position in the "pack." Preparation, awareness, and vigilance, however, can keep your baby safe. Before baby arrives Doggone Safe, a non-profit organization dedicated to dog bite prevention, recommends that families review and firm up obedience. Obedience is particularly important if you own a large dog. Practice giving commands from a variety of positions and be consistent. Make changes gradually. The American Kennel Club suggests that owners make any anticipated changes, such as those in sleeping arrangements or daily feeding, play, and exercise routines, before baby comes home, so that your dog does not associate the changes with baby. Visit your veterinarian. According to the Humane Society of the United States, you should take your pet to the veterinarian for a health exam and any necessary vaccinations. A routine exam keeps your pet healthy and allows you to discuss any behavioral concerns you have. It's a good idea to have your pet neutered or spayed, if he or she isn't already. Sterilized pets are usually calmer and less likely to bite, according to Humane Society literature. Finally, introduce your dog to baby-related sights, sounds, and scents. Allow your dog to investigate new baby-related objects, such as the baby swing and stroller. Play a recording of a baby crying. Introduce him to the smell of lotions or powders you'll be using on the baby and let him sniff a blanket with the baby's scent on it before bringing baby home. Baby's Homecoming When the day arrives to bring baby home, following a few simple steps can help ease the transition for the whole family, especially Fido. The AKC recommends that you greet your dog without the baby at first. This gives him time to settle down before meeting baby. If possible, give your dog a few days to adjust to the sights, sounds, and smells of your new baby before the close-up introduction. When baby and Fido finally do meet, don't force him to get close. Instead let him take his time investigating. The Humane Society also suggests keeping a few treats handy to distract your pet, if necessary. Rewarding your dog for appropriate behavior around the baby helps him make a positive association with the baby's presence. Be certain to give your dog plenty of positive attention when the baby isn't around and, as much as possible, maintain regular routines. When your dog gets into baby's toys, as he inevitably will, don't scold, the AKC advises. Instead, make a trade by replacing the item with one of his own toys. Perhaps the most important advice, however, is: Never leave your dog alone with baby. With a little extra care and attention, you, your newborn, and the family dog will continue to be one big, happy family. For more tips and information on dog bite prevention, consult Doggone Safe, www.doggonesafe.com; the Humane Society of the United States, www.hsus.org; the American Kennel Club, www.akc.org; and the AVMA, www.avma.org. 3 Ways to Celebrate Your Newborn's First Noel If the best gift possible -- your new baby -- arrived just weeks before Christmas, you're probably too tired to even think about holiday festivities. But you needn't let the excitement sap your spirit. Instead, you and your newborn can celebrate her first Noel in one of these three ways that won't wear you out. 1. Baby's first tree. Okay, so maybe you won't be trekking into the wilderness to cut a fresh tree this year. Baby's first Christmas tree can still be special, and this one won't break the bank or your back. Choose an artificial, table-top tree and decorate with baby items. Brightly colored rattles, binkies, and teething rings give a festive touch and can be put to good use later. Top it off with a diaper angel. To make, take a cloth diaper, stuff with a small handful of cotton balls for the head, gather cloth together beneath the head, and tie with a festive bow of green and red curled ribbon. Using a yellow pipe cleaner for the halo, shape a four- to five-inch piece into a circle and poke the remaining straight section through top of diaper fabric, securing to angel. Once the celebration is over this year, the tiny tree can be the basis for a lifelong family tradition. Put the tree up every year and, as your child grows, let her decide how to decorate it. 2. Wrapped in swaddling clothes. If your church holds a Christmas program or indoor live nativity, volunteer to provide the "babe wrapped in swaddling clothes," along with Mary and Joseph. A real baby adds depth to your church family's celebration and will make a memorable experience for your family, too, with little effort required on your part. Not quite up to going out? Recreate the scene of that very first Christmas on a smaller scale, of course, in your very own home. If possible, have a friend video record or photograph your portrayal to add to baby's scrapbook. Keep the spiritual meaning alive every year by making the family nativity a Christmas tradition. Bring the family together at the beginning of the holiday season and watch the video together to set the tone for your holiday celebrations. 3. Enjoy the eve. Spending Christmas Eve together at home allows you to focus on the quieter aspects of the holiday and what really matters. Hang a stocking with care and fill it with an ornament for each member of the family. Put the family stocking at the top of next year's list of must-do traditions by surprising everyone with an ornament that reflects something you've done together during the previous year. Before heading off to bed, share the Christmas story by candlelight. As Dad reads the story and Mom nurses baby, you'll experience a special closeness and joy that you'll want to repeat again and again. So, if the usual holiday havoc has you thinking your newly expanded family will have to put the celebration on hold, think again. And make your newborn's first Noel one you'll all want to remember for years to come. Naturopathic care for the newborn Complementary medical care has gained increasing popularity in recent years. More and more people are seeking natural alternatives to healing. It's no surprise, then, that families are also looking more often for natural therapies to newborn skincare and digestive problems. Naturopathic medicine is one approach to holistic healthcare. Naturopathy focuses on helping people achieve optimum health through natural processes, patient education, prevention strategies, and noninvasive therapies. Naturopathic doctors attend several years of specialized medical training at accredited naturopathic medical colleges. The profession, however, is regulated in just twelve states --Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, and Washington. In those states, NDs must also pass medical board exams to become licensed. Naturopathic practitioners provide complementary care for their patients. They take a comprehensive approach to health and spend a lot of time listening to their patients and helping them to become active participants in their healthcare. When you visit naturopathic doctors, you'll find they emphasize nutrition, dietary changes, and lifestyle modification in their treatment plans. Naturopathic doctors do not abandon or replace conventional medicine, though. Instead, they work cooperatively with other healthcare providers to provide a balanced approach to wellbeing. Naturopathic treatment of babies can include homeopathy, herbal and physical medicine, and nutrition supplements. Practitioners seek the root cause of health problems and suggest natural, noninvasive therapies to promote healing. For newborns suffering from colic or irritability, they may introduce baby massage. Gentle herbal remedies may be used to heal conditions that affect baby's delicate skin or digestive disorders. And osteopathic manipulation may be offered to correct musculoskeletal imbalances. Whatever the technique, the naturopathic practitioner ultimately seeks to improve and enhance baby's health naturally. When looking for a naturopathic doctor, it's important to ensure he or she is properly trained. Your ND should have graduated from an accredited naturopathic college; and if you live in a state that regulates the profession, make sure he or she is properly licensed. A brief consultation with any prospective healthcare provider is advisable, as well, to ensure you feel comfortable with his or her approach to your health. If you'd like to find out more on what naturopathy can do for your newborn, the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians will help you locate a naturopathic doctor in your area through the organization's website www.naturopathic.org. Make sense of car seat safety for your newborn Parents go out of their way to choose the right car seat for their baby. They spend significant time and money to protect their most precious cargo. Yet, in 2005, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that, according to a multi-year study, misuse occurred in 79.5 percent of the child safety seats inspected. The study suggests that many parents unwittingly put their children at risk by failing to use the safety restraints properly. The most common mistakes found were loose harness straps and safety belt attachments. Unfortunately, the NHTSA also calls these misuses "critical" because of the potential for injury. So how do you know make sense of keeping your newborn safe? First, make sure you are using the correct seat -- in the correct position -- for your baby's age and weight. Most infant seats can be used in the rear-facing position for children under one year of age who have not yet reached 20 pounds. Infant-only seats are designed for younger, smaller babies, so they are a good choice for your newborn. They offer a good fit and are conveniently small and portable. Infant seats should always be used in the back seat, as should all child safety restraints, and only in the rear-facing position. If you prefer a seat that will accommodate your baby as she grows, a convertible seat is another option. Convertible seats are larger and heavier, so they can accommodate your baby for a longer period of time. They are used in the rear-facing position for children under one year of age and for children over one year who do not yet weight 20 pounds. When baby turns one and exceeds 20 pounds, you can turn the seat forward-facing. Most convertible seats accommodate children up to 40 pounds. Whichever seat you choose, it is absolutely essential you know how to use it. Make sure to read the manufacturer's instructions, as well as your vehicle owner's manual. To be effective, your child's seat must be buckled into the seat correctly, and the seat must be correctly buckled into your car. Harness straps seem to be an area of particular difficulty for parents. For your baby's safety, the harness must be in the correct slot position and fitted snugly to your baby's chest. The straps should be in the slots at or below your baby's shoulders for most infant seats and at or above baby's shoulders for more convertible seats. The harness clip that holds the straps together should be at about armpit level, and the straps should not be twisted. You should always check the owner's manual to confirm appropriate placement. Safety belt use is a common problem, as well. Be sure the seat belt follows the correct path for the position of the seat and recline the seat at about a 45-degree angle, if possible. A rolled towel under the base helps secure the seat into position. Tighten the seat belt, as needed, to ensure the restraint is secured to your vehicle. If your automobile has a LATCH system, use it according to the specifications of your baby's seat and those of the vehicle owner's manual. Other important seat considerations include seat age and condition. If your seat wasn't purchased new, check the label. Don't use a seat that is more than five years old or does not come with the manufacturer's instructions. Make sure you have all the parts and know whether it has been in an accident. If so, be safe not sorry -- don't take the chance. Finally, if you are unsure about your safety seat sense -- or even if you are, visit a safety seat technician to have your seat checked. Your baby's life may depend on it. To find a technician near you, go online to www.seatcheck.org or call 1-866-SEATCHECK. Make time stand still with a newborn time capsule Time stands still the moment your baby enters this world, and you'll want to remember the moment for years to come. A newborn time capsule is a great way to commemorate your baby's birth and share with him a snapshot of that special time when he is grown. To create your time capsule, you need to gather several things that reflect the events of the day. Newspapers make a great addition to any time capsule. Local papers tell the story of what was happening in your community on the day he was born, while national papers provide a glimpse of then-current events. Both offer the opportunity for you to stroll down memory lane, as well as give your child a brief history lesson when the capsule is finally opened. Money and stamps provide fun signs of the times, too. Throw in a few different coin denominations and one or more sheets of stamps. If possible, make a list of prices for goods and services, like milk and bread or gasoline. Whether done on the computer or simply handwritten on a sheet of paper, this is a nice addition. You can personalize the time capsule by adding things like baby's first picture and the outfit he wears home from the hospital. Take time to write a special letter welcoming your child and sharing your hopes for his future to give the capsule even more meaning. You are limited only by your imagination -- and the size of your capsule container. The container, however, is another important part of this project. Make it as simple or ornate as you like. Some online vendors carry special newborn time capsule kits, while others offer containers meant to stand the test of time. But you needn't invest a lot of money to make a nice time capsule. Simply choose a can or box and decorate it to your taste. A seal with the date of its intended opening -- perhaps baby's 18th birthday -- adds a nice touch, as well. On that special day, you and your child will make yet another special moment in time, as you enjoy the contents preserved in his newborn time capsule.
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