When I was trying to think of a topic for the post, I was having a really hard time narrowing it down. Lucky for me, I have a lot of first time expectant and new(ish) mothers in my life, so I thought I would ask them what sort of questions they have been pondering over the last few months. With a big thanks to Brittany, Brittney, Katie, Mary and Paige, here are some questions that they had for their "doctor on call."
*As a disclaimer, these are general recommendations for otherwise normal infants. If there is something you are concerned about or something that makes your parent "Spidey sense" go off, please call your doctor's office. That's what we're her for! A great resource for many of the questions parents have is healthychildren.org. This website is run and updated by the AAP, so has the most up to date recommendations as well as great tips and tricks for your little one.
What do I need to do or buy before my baby is born? What about right after?
I would recommend a car seat, a place for the baby to sleep (crib, bassinet, pack in play are all okay), diapers, formula (if you are going to use it), and clothing for the baby. I would recommend that you have the car seat installed a few weeks before your due date. Many fire departments and some hospitals will help you with this- use this service to make sure that the car seat is safely and properly installed.
If you are going to be breast feeding, especially if you will be going back to work, I also recommend getting a breast pump. A manual one can be good for a quick session if you're feeling engorged and can't nurse, but a hospital grade electric pump is the go-to for moms who need to pump breastmilk. These can often be obtained through your insurance or your birth hospital after the baby is born.
Many of the moms I talked to also recommend having a kit together with all the things you'll need before your baby is born. Specifically, they recommended rectal thermometer, bulb suctioner, nasal saline, formula samples, Vaseline, and Tylenol. Many families also find it helpful to complete an infant first aid class prior to delivery.
Before your baby is born, you can come into our office for a prenatal conference if you would like. We will register your baby after he or she is born - you can call us before you're discharged from the hospital to schedule his or her first appointment.
As a reminder, you often have a limited amount of time to have your baby added to your insurance. We recommended calling as soon as possible to avoid a delay in coverage as this may increase the amount you pay out of pocket for routine health services.
What will our first appointment be like?
During the first appointment, we will address any of your questions or concerns - so don't be scared to ask anything you've been wondering about! In addition, your doctor will want to discuss the pregnancy and delivery. We'll want to talk about wet and dirty diapers, sleeping and feeding. We'll ask you about your family history so we can find out if there's anything special we need to be aware of for your baby's health. We talk about your baby's development and what to expect over the next few weeks. We'll talk about how your baby is growing and developing. Finally, we'll make sure your baby is up to date on their vaccines - at the newborn visit, the only shot they should have gotten is the Hepatitis B vaccine while they were in the hospital. For the most part, all checkups will follow this same general pattern.
When do I absolutely need to call the doctor?
Please call if your baby has a fever of 100.4 or higher rectally. Many times, babies with fevers need to be seen in the office or even go directly to the emergency room. Please also call if your baby is having trouble breathing, trouble eating, or anything else that makes you nervous. There is someone at the practice available to answer your questions 24 hours a day; if you have an emergency after hours, we have an answering service that will get in contact with the on-call doctor who will call you back.
There were so many questions, this is going to be a multi-part post. Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3!