The authors of Heading Home with Your Newborn answer important questions from moms about infant and baby care
Pediatricians, moms and authors, Laura A. Jana, MD, FAAP and Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP offer a wealth of "parent-tested, pediatrician-approved" advice in Heading Home With Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality, Second Edition (American Academy of Pediatrics, September 2010). Available on the American Academy of Pediatrics official Web site for parents, HealthyChildren.org . Also available in bookstores nationwide. Here they answer a few questions from fellow moms Question: People often worry about taking a newborn out, and you do not want to go to crowded spaces indoors like malls or parties where there could be germs and things like that. But in terms of how they can regulate heat, can they can go out, if they are bundled correctly, in the cold for a walk? During the winter season, is it best not to have them out and about like that?
Dr Jana: We have an entire section of the book called "Thinking Outside the House." That is a good example of what people often forget in the pediatrician books. Where you say, what about the practical? Can I step out of my house? Now all of a sudden my baby seems even smaller because we are going out in the real world. Especially in the very specific newborn period -- the first three weeks -- think of the timeframe when babies really need to wear their hats because their heads lose heat. Here in Nebraska, I would not recommend somebody taking a newborn out at the peak of winter. What you find is a lot of new parents do not want to step outside when it is 40 degrees out, because they are afraid it is cold, and there are lots of good accessories to keep drafts from getting in to where the babies are in the car seats and infant carriers. Just try avoiding extreme temperatures.
Question: What is the most important thing you think parents should know and do before a baby is born?
Dr Shu: One important thing, just from a timing standpoint, you might need to look for childcare as soon as you conceive. Just the reality of a lot of childcare situations is that you have to get on some kind of waiting list to get in to the place of your choice. So I would consider that high on the list. You want to make sure that your financial affairs like insurance are in order. There are so many smart parents I know that just accidentally forget to add their child to their insurance, and they are stuck with a huge bill. That is something you want to put on your To Do list, as soon as that baby has a name and birth date.
Picking a pediatrician before you deliver is also a really good idea, and that is something we recommend sometime in the early part of the 3rd trimester. The reason for that is you want to hit the ground running and get a head start, rather than play catch up when you have a baby and try to figure out somebody that you have a good fit with. Finally, the most important supplies you will need for having the baby include a car seat, which you will need to have once leaving the hospital, something to clothe the baby in, diapers and feeding supplies.
Question: How can you prepare for the birth of a newborn if you wind up delivering early or have an unplanned c-section?
Dr Jana: Some people have a sense they might deliver earlier, but for a large number of parents, it catches them completely off guard. People often ask us, When is the best time to read the book? We wanted to make it so that you can start reading it 8 weeks in advance and then pick it up at two in the morning when you have a question with a one-week-old. The thing that catches people by surprise, most people do not plan on having a c-section, most people do not plan on having a premature baby ... getting those things that Doctor Shu mentioned really helps take away some of the stress of new parenthood because that unknown is not there anymore.