For new parents, infant care presents an entirely different world of questions and issues. According to a survey published in the journal Pediatrics, new mothers are not receiving the advice they need to care for their newborn babies, such as tips for sleep positions, pacifier use, breastfeeding, and immunizations.
Having a new baby in your life is a monumental change, and it's so important to get the right information about how to best care for your child. To be proactive about getting the right answers, ask your doctor these six questions about infant care.
1. When Do I Schedule My Baby's First Appointment with the Doctor?
You may not realize it, but it's recommended that babies see their pediatrician after just two weeks and attend several follow-up appointments in the first year. Consider speaking with your doctor about setting up your baby's first appointments before you even leave the hospital after you give birth.
2. How Do I Feed My Baby?
Whether you are breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, you likely have questions. Most hospitals have lactation consultants who are on hand to help you with breastfeeding right after childbirth, especially if you struggle at first (which is totally normal, by the way). Your doctor can also advise you on breastfeeding, pumping, bottle care, and offer recommendations for how often and how much you should feed your baby.
3. What Sleeping Patterns Should I Expect?
While every baby is different, your doctor may have some good advice about what sleeping patterns your infant might fall into. Your newborn will likely sleep most of the day in the beginning, but you want to be sure you'll recognize if he or she is sleeping too much or not enough. This would be a great time to talk about crib safety and best practices for putting your baby to sleep, as well.
4. How Is My Baby's Weight Progressing?
Weight for infants is an important factor for healthy growth, so it's a great idea to ask about your baby's weight and where it should be. Sometimes your baby will lose weight, but that is not always a cause for concern. Your doctor can prepare you for what to expect and can explain any changes as your baby grows.
5. Which Shots or Vaccines Does My Baby Need?
It's always good to know what to expect when it comes to shots and vaccinations. Speaking with your doctor about shots is important so you can discuss options and ensure that your baby's immune system is as strong as it can be.
6. What Should I Keep in My Baby's Diaper Bag?
Infants need a great deal of personal care, so when you have to leave your home for a doctor's appointment or to run errands, you'll need to bring a well-stocked diaper bag. What you should put in that diaper bag may not come to you right away because the experience of bringing your baby along with you wherever you go is just so new. This is a good time to ask your doctor if you should pack anything in particular when you return for your baby's next appointment.
Having a newborn baby at home comes with many questions for new parents. Take this list to your baby's next appointment so your doctor can offer you the information and advice you need for proper infant care.
Carolyn Heneghan creates content for national and regional magazines, blogs, and other online publications, covering a wide range of industries while specializing in business, technology, travel, food, health and wellness, music, education, and finance. Her work has appeared in Loews Magazine, US Healthcare Journals, DRAFT Magazine, brass MAGAZINE, Where Y'at Magazine, and dozens of other outlets.