Posts Tagged ‘newborn care’

Changing your baby’s diapers

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Changing your baby’s diaper can be a tricky part of newborn care. But with practice, moms and dads can become pros in no time.

First, before opening that dirty diaper door, collect your supplies:
• A sturdy flat surface, like a changing table, bureau top, or even the bed
• A clean diaper
• Baby wipes or a soft washcloth moistened with warm water
• Diaper rash ointment

Here’s how to change your baby’s diaper:
1. Place your baby on a changing surface (never leave her unattended for even a second) and unfasten her diaper.

2. Hold your baby’s ankles with one hand. Lift her legs and bottom and remove her dirty diaper with your other hand.

3. If there’s a big mess, use the front, clean part of the diaper to wipe her bottom from front to back.

4. Use diaper wipes or plain water on a soft cloth to gently clean your baby’s genitals and bottom. Take extra care with creases and folds in your baby’s skin. For baby girls, always wipe from front to back to avoid infection.

5. Pat dry. Apply diaper rash ointment if your baby has a diaper rash. Don’t use talcum powder because it can irritate your baby’s lungs.

6. Slide a clean diaper under your baby. If you’re using a disposable diaper, be sure the sticky tabs to fasten the diaper are behind the baby.

7. Fasten the diaper on both sides of your baby. For a disposable diaper, press the sticky tabs to the front of the diaper.

8. Tuck the new diaper below your baby’s umbilical cord until it heals. Make sure the diaper doesn’t bunch up between her legs.

9. To prevent accidents, make sure there aren’t any diaper openings around her hips.

How do you diaper your baby boy after a circumcision?

The diapering steps above are good for all babies. But if your baby boy is circumcised:
• For the first few days, put a new bandage on the penis each time you change your baby’s diaper.
• Use petroleum jelly on the penis or on the part of the diaper or bandage that touches the penis. This helps prevent the diaper or bandage from sticking to or rubbing against the penis.

Understanding newborn screening results

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

newborn-screening-picture1Before your baby leaves the hospital, he or she has some special tests called newborn screening. Newborn screening checks for serious but rare conditions at birth. It includes blood, hearing and heart screening.

A baby can be born with a health condition but may not show any signs of the problem at first. If these conditions are found early with newborn screening, they can often be treated. All babies in the United States get newborn screening. But each state decides which tests are required. You can find out which conditions are tested for by your state here.

In most cases after your baby has had the newborn screening tests done, you won’t hear anymore about them. Most newborn screening results are normal and if that is the case, families are not contacted again. But you can always ask your baby’s health care provider for the results.

In rare cases when your baby’s screening results aren’t normal, you will receive a phone call about 2-3 weeks following the screening. This call can come from either the state newborn screening program or your baby’s health care provider and it usually means that your baby simply needs more testing.

A “positive” or “out-of-range” result means that the baby’s screening did indicate that the baby may be at higher risk of having one or more of the conditions included on the newborn screening panel. This does not mean that the baby has been diagnosed with a medical condition. In fact, most babies who receive positive results ultimately do not have a condition. However newborn screening tests are not diagnostic and therefore follow-up testing must be done.

If you do get one of these phone calls, don’t panic. Remember that most babies with out-of-range newborn screens are healthy and have normal follow-up test results. But it is important to get the follow-up testing done right away. One of the reasons these conditions have been chosen to be a part of newborn screening is because there is some intervention that can be done to help the baby. So the sooner you find out the results of a diagnostic test, the sooner treatment can begin, if necessary, and that is better for your baby.

Levels of hospital care

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Have you ever wondered what a Level I, II, or III hospital is? How will you know which is right for you when the time comes to deliver? Dr. Siobhan Dolan explains how hospital nurseries are classified in the new March of Dimes book Healthy Mom Healthy Baby.

“Every hospital with a maternity department must have a nursery, a unit devoted to newborn care. Some provide more extensive care than others. Hospital nurseries are classified by the kind of care they offer:

Level I – Well-newborn nurseries that provide a basic level of medical care to low-risk and healthy newborns.

Level II – Special-care nurseries that can care for infants who are moderately ill or born a few weeks early with health problems that are expected to improve rapidly.

Level III – Neonatal Intensive care units (NICUs) with highly trained providers and advanced equipment to provide complex care, surgery, and life support for infants who are critically ill, very small, or very premature.

“If you are having a healthy low-risk pregnancy, it is not necessary to make special arrangements to give birth in a hospital with a level II or III nursery. However, if you are having pregnancy complications, or your baby has a known or suspected health problem, talk with your provider about whether choosing a hospital with a higher level of newborn care is a good idea.”

You can read more about Dr. Dolan’s book, and even order a copy, at this link.

Are you ready for Frankenstorm?

Friday, October 26th, 2012

hurricane3Halloween is coming and so, apparently, is a storm to match The Perfect Storm. Radio and TV weather reports have hurricane Sandy set to impact millions of lives all along the east coast of the U.S. Are you ready? Are you taking precautions should your basement flood or you lose power for several days?

The needs of a pregnant woman during a disaster are unique. Prepare as much as you can before a disaster strikes. This will help you to stay healthy and safe. Follow these tips:
– Make sure to let your health care provider’s office (doctor, midwife or nurse-practitioner) know where you will be.
– Make a list of all prescription medications and prenatal vitamins that you are taking.
– Get a copy of your prenatal records from your health care provider.
– If you have a case manager or participate in a program such as Healthy Start or Nurse-Family Partnership, let your case manager know where you are going. Give him or her a phone number to use to contact you.
– If you have a high-risk pregnancy or you are close to delivery, check with your health care provider to determine the safest option for you.

You still need to follow any evacuation and preparation instructions given by your state, but here is a link to some special things to consider during and after a disaster.

If you have recently had a baby or you are caring for a newborn, this article is designed to help you prepare for a disaster. If you are caring for an infant and have questions about the health effects of a potential disaster, please talk with a health care professional.

The media may be a bit dramatic at times, but they are right about one thing. Now is the time to make preparations and have a plan in place for your family to follow in case you ever need it.

Hurricane hype serves a purpose

Monday, August 27th, 2012

hurricaneWhenever I turned on the TV over the weekend, I saw a lot of coverage of tropical storm Isaac and its threat to Florida and the Republican National Convention and then New Orleans. Memories of the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina still are fresh in everyone’s mind and the press isn’t letting us forget. Drama and politics aside, however, we need to remember that we are in hurricane season. For all of you who live along the coasts that may be affected by a hurricane, it is important to remember safety preparation tips.

The needs of a pregnant woman during a disaster are unique. Prepare as much as you can before a disaster strikes. This will help you to stay healthy and safe. Follow these tips:
– Make sure to let your health care provider’s office (doctor, midwife or nurse-practitioner) know where you will be.
– Make a list of all prescription medications and prenatal vitamins that you are taking.
– Get a copy of your prenatal records from your health care provider.
– If you have a case manager or participate in a program such as Healthy Start or Nurse-Family Partnership, let your case manager know where you are going. Give him or her a phone number to use to contact you.
– If you have a high-risk pregnancy or you are close to delivery, check with your health care provider to determine the safest option for you.

You still need to follow any evacuation and preparation instructions given by your state, but here is a link to some special things to consider during and after a disaster.

If you have recently had a baby or you are caring for a newborn, this article is designed to help you prepare for a disaster. If you are caring for an infant and have questions about the health effects of a potential disaster, please talk with a health care professional.

The media may be a bit dramatic at times, but they are right about one thing. Now is the time to make preparations and have a plan in place for your family to follow in case you ever need it.

Holding your baby in the NICU

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

kangaroo careSome newborn intensive care units (NICUs) will encourage you to hold your baby from birth onward. Other NICUs will want you to wait until your baby’s health is stable. Ask your NICU staff about its policy on kangaroo care.

Kangaroo care is the practice of holding your diapered baby on your bare chest (if you’re the father) or between your breasts (if you’re the mother), with a blanket draped over your baby’s back. This skin-to-skin contact benefits both you and your baby.

You may be a little nervous about trying kangaroo care. If your baby is very small or sick, you may be afraid you’ll hurt him. But you won’t. Your baby knows your scent, touch and the rhythms of your speech and breathing, and he will enjoy feeling that closeness with you. Kangaroo care can help your baby:
• Maintain his body warmth
• Regulate his heart and breathing rates
• Gain weight
• Spend more time in deep sleep
• Spend more time being quiet and alert and less time crying
• Have a better chance of successful breastfeeding (kangaroo care can improve the mother’s breastmilk production)

Kangaroo care has emotional benefits for you, too. It builds your confidence as you provide intimate care that can improve your baby’s health and well being. You are giving something special to your baby that only you can give. By holding your baby skin-to-skin, you will feel the experience of new parenthood and closeness to your baby. Kangaroo care is healing in many ways, for both you and your baby.

Kangaroo care is safe and beneficial, even if your baby is connected to machines. Whatever your situation, kangaroo care is a precious way to be close to your baby. You will cherish this time.

Your baby’s first checkups

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

first-fathers-dayBefore your baby leaves the hospital, she gets her first checkup to make sure she is healthy. Here are some of the tests and treatments she receives.

• Apgar score – At 1 minute and 5 minutes after birth, a doctor or nurse checks you baby for five things: Heart rate; Breathing; Muscle tone; Reflexes; and Skin Color.  Each gets a score of 0 to 2. The total score is called an Apgar score. If your baby has a score of 7 or more, she is in good shape! If she has a score less than 7, she probably is fine but she made need some special care.
• Vitamin K shot. Vitamin K can help your baby’s blood clot and protect her from bleeding problems. She gets this shot right after birth.
• Eye drops or ointment to help protect the eyes from infection.
• Complete physical. A health care provider checks your baby out from head to toe. He listens to her heart and lungs, feels her tummy, checks her eyes, nose, mouth, head, arms and legs. He gives her a hepatitis B shot. This is a vaccine to protect your baby from hepatitis B, a virus that can cause problems in your baby’s liver.
• Blood test – Every state and U.S. territory routinely screens newborns for certain genetic, metabolic, hormonal and functional disorders.
• Hearing test – A small microphone is put in your baby’s ear and plays soft sounds. Early identification of hearing loss in the newborn allows the baby to be fitted with hearing aids before 6 months of age, helping prevent serious speech and language problems in the future.

During her first year, your baby will see her health care provider regularly for well baby visits.  This is the medical care you get for her when she’s not sick. Her checkups let the health care provider make sure she is growing and developing correctly. In the first year, your baby should get a checkup at 2 weeks, months 1, 2, 4, 6 and 9, and at 1 year.

Take your baby for these checkups even if she’s doing great and isn’t sick.

Hurricane preparedness

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

hurricaneHurricane season is upon us and the first of the season, Hurricane Irene, is headed north toward the U.S. Irene has left Puerto Rico and is due to hit Florida either late Thursday or early Friday morning.

For all of you who live along the coasts that may be affected by a hurricane, it is important to remember safety preparation tips. The needs of a pregnant woman during a disaster are unique. You still need to follow any evacuation and preparation instructions given by your state, but here is a link to some special things to consider.

If you have recently had a baby or you are caring for a newborn, this article is designed to help you prepare for a disaster. If you are caring for an infant and have questions about the health effects of the disaster, please talk with a health care professional.

Now is the time to make preparations and have a plan in place for your family to follow in case you ever need it.

A postpartum depression clinic

Monday, August 15th, 2011

The first postpartum depression clinic opens it doors today at a University of North Carolina hospital in Chapel Hill. It is a free-standing perinatal psychiatry unit dedicated to helping moms who suffer from the very serious condition of postpartum depression. This is a big move for supporting women and I hope it is the first of many such clinics to spread across the country.

Getting the blues for a week or so after having a baby is common. But postpartum depression (PPD) is different. It can be extremely sad, lonely, very grim and even dangerous. PPD is not something a woman can control and it is not a sign of being a bad mother. It’s a serious medical condition that needs treatment.

A woman who has postpartum depression feels sad, “down” or depressed. She also has many of the following symptoms lasting 2 weeks or longer:
• Having little interest in her usual activities or hobbies
• Feeling tired all the time
• Changes in how much or how little she wants to eat
• Gaining or losing weight
• Having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
• Having trouble concentrating or making decisions
• Thinking about suicide or death
Postpartum depression doesn’t have to occur immediately after birth. It can begin at any time within many months after delivery. It can seriously threaten both the woman and her baby. Since the mother is seriously ill, she may not be able to care for her baby as she would if she were well. The disease may make it hard for the mother to breastfeed or bond with her baby. For these reasons, postpartum depression is a threat to newborns.

About 1 out of every 8 women has postpartum depression after delivery. It is the most common complication among women who have just had a baby and it amazes me that it has taken so long for the medical community to seriously address it. Go UNC!  Unlike many other hospitals who treat women with PPD alongside schizophrenics and addicts, the UNC clinic understands PPD and these women’s special needs. There are breast pumps and comfortable rocking chairs, individual and family therapy sessions. The mother’s sleep times are protected and extremely important for recovery. While babies will not be allowed to spend the night they will have extended visiting hours so routines can be established even while Mom is hospitalized.  You can read more about the clinic here.

If you have any of the symptoms listed above, talk to your health care provider. If necessary, your provider can refer you to a mental health professional. Don’t be shy or embarrassed. Get the help you need and deserve.

Take us home!

Friday, September 18th, 2009

20615173_thbMy roommate was very uncomfortable. She pressed the call button every hour complaining of pain. Sharing a bathroom postpartum was icky.  The laundry carts squeaked up and down the hallway. Dietary dropped off and picked up trays. Some guy woke me up to ask if I wanted the phone turned on.  The nurses constantly took my vitals and the baby from me every time their shift changed. Sixteen relatives showed up at once during visiting hours.  Exams and discharge instructions from my doctor and the pediatrician created an endless stack of paperwork. We were surrounded by strangers and noise and fluorescent lights.  I wanted my baby out of this chaotic environment. She belonged at home with me and her Dad. I wanted those bulky hospital bracelets off her tiny ankles. Her bassinet was waiting for her. I desperately needed a nice big mug of tea and some privacy.  Taking our baby home from the hospital couldn’t come fast enough.

It was a cold February afternoon. She was all bundled up and snug in her car seat. I sat nervously beside her in the backseat. Pink balloons and flowers surrounded us.  I reminded my husband not to drive too fast. We arrived in our driveway and I sighed. We made it.  Now what do we do? LOL!

No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t rest or relax in the hospital. I wanted to care for my baby by myself and in the space that we so lovingly prepared for her at home. Did you feel anxious during your hospital stay?