Four must-dos before your little one arrives
by Anne Stein | Apr 29, 2014
No matter how many books you’ve read and websites you’ve scoured, preparing for birth and bringing baby home — especially for first-time parents — can be overwhelming and full of surprises.
Dr. Andy Sagan, medical director of Swedish Covenant Medical Associates Pediatrics, offers these tips for expecting mothers:
1. Identify a pediatrician or family doctor for your new baby.
You need to know who to call if there’s a problem once you leave the hospital. Get recommendations from friends based on your personality, and the doctor’s. Consider location, parking and hours that the office is open. If you and your partner both work, you might need a doctor with evening and weekend hours, and not every practice has those. Also consider how easy it is to get an appointment. Review your health insurance to see what’s covered and what isn’t to avoid surprises, and remember to notify your insurance company once baby’s born.
2. Choose your baby’s name!
You’ll be asked to sign a birth certificate and the hospital will handle social security registration, but you’ll need a name to fill out forms. It’s easier to do this in the hospital than after you leave.
3. Get educated about immunizations.
You’ll be asked in the hospital for an “OK” to vaccinate your baby for Hepatitis B. Other vaccinations are administered during your baby’s Well Child Checkups in her first year of life. Dr. Sagan recommends Immunize.org for the best vaccine information.
4. Decide ahead of time if you want your baby circumcised.
Circumcision is easier to have done at the hospital, rather than once you’ve brought baby home, although some parents prefer that it is performed by a religious authority outside the hospital. Currently the American Academy of Pediatrics (Aap.org) advises against circumcision, saying there is no significant health benefit to the procedure. On the other hand, said Dr. Sagan, there are rarely complications and slightly less risks of urinary tract infection and penile cancer.
Here are four bonus tips for after the baby comes home:
1. Make your first week at home peaceful, special and the way you’d like it to be.
Treat yourself like a queen, says Dr. Sagan. Although relatives and friends will want to visit immediately, you’ll be exhausted and it’s simply not a good time to entertain or be stressed with outside distractions. “Be selfish that first week,” said Dr. Sagan. Your partner should also be supportive of you.
2. If you are bottle-feeding, you don’t need to buy name-brand formula as long as the brand you buy is FDA-approved
Avoid overfeeding your baby; if she gets too much formula, you risk constipation and gas, among other side effects. Just because your baby cries doesn’t mean she needs to eat. See if she needs to be changed or cuddled or give her a pacifier if you choose to use one – then see if she is still upset. He also noted that pacifiers won’t interfere with breast feeding. “Babies like and need to suck and it’s very comforting to them,” said Dr. Sagan.
3. Anyone who lives in your home with the newborn should get a whooping cough booster vaccine as well as a flu vaccine.
Baby can get her flu vaccine at six months.
4. Get a copy of Baby 411: Clear Answers and Smart Advice for Your Baby’s First Year, by Denise Fields and Ari Brown.
“It’s the reigning champion book to have for quick, sensible answers for baby’s first year,” said Dr. Sagan.