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Mommy & Baby: Parenting Tidbits

By Kirsten Hawkins

There are many issues which new parents are bombarded with and many things they are expected to know immediately. None of this is fair, as most new parents are simply trying to care for their baby and get some rest. Here are some of the topics which you might be questioned on in the early days and weeks of your baby's life.

  • Bathing your baby: under your baby's umbilical stump falls off (7-14 days after birth), you should only give him sponge baths. Use a cotton ball damped with alcohol to dry up the stump and once it falls off, you may bathe your baby in a sink or shallow tub.

  • Caesarian delivery: typically performed to safeguard the life of you or your baby. More c-sections are done these days due to many factors: we have better technology for aiding difficult births and saving babies, and there is an abundance of lawsuits against doctors, causing them to opt for a more conservative and cautious approach. If your labour has stalled past 24 hours and you are not progressing normally, your physician will likely recommend a c-section. Likewise if your labour becomes complicated for your baby. Whether you deliver vaginally or via c-section has no bearing on your ability as a mother, nor should it be a point of embarrassment or shame.

  • Circumcision: medical experts today agree that there are modest benefits to circumcision, although not all agree on the necessity of it. It may decrease the risk of urinary tract infection and virtually eliminates the possibility of cancer of the penis. Circumcision isn't distressing and will not leave your little boy with an emotional trauma afterwards.

  • Crib death (SIDS): much has been written in recent years about reducing the number of babies who die from SIDS. While few medical organizations can agree on the cause of it, there are some correlational information that arises from the studies:

    • More male babies die from SIDS than female

    • More premature babies succumb to it than full-termers

    • More minority children die from it than non-minority

    • More children of young, single mothers die from it

    • More children in homes with one or more smokers die from SIDS than anyone else

Some will suggest that co-sleeping reduces the risk of SIDS; the American Academy of Pediatrics rejects this fully and says there is a greater risk of SIDS with those who co-sleep than those who do not.

Most doctors today will recommend back-sleeping for infants to minimize the risk of SIDS; no one knows exactly what the issue is (if it's trapped gasses in the mattress, an inability for the baby to lift his head, etc.), but this does seem to have made a difference in the risk and total numbers of babies who die from SIDS annually. Talk to your pediatrician if you have concerns.

About The Author

Kirsten Hawkins is a baby and parenting expert specializing new mothers and single parent issues.


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