They’re small and your baby cannot explain why he/she is not feeling well, as a parent or guardian we must make sure that they stay healthy because our babies depend on us!  In this post, we have provided some important information on keeping your baby healthy after you leave the hospital.

Finding a Health Care provider and Health Insurance

There is no reason that you cannot provide preventative care for your bay and if you don’t have health insurance for your baby, you can learn about resources in your state by contacting the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Insure Kids Now Program. To learn more, call 1–877–KIDS–NOW (1–877–543–7669) or visit their Web site at www.insurekidsnow.gov

In case of an emergency, always call 911 but if you don’t know where to take your baby for care, call your local health department. The phone number is in the “government” listings of the phone book. You can also ask a local hospital. Another way to find a health care provider is to ask a close friend or relative who has children about where her children receive their health care. Ask if she really likes her children’s provider and if he or she is good at taking time to explain things and answer questions.

If you are eligible for Medicaid, your baby can get free checkups. You can call your local social welfare, health, or family services office to see if you qualify for Medicaid or State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) services.

Newborn Health Screening

Your baby is tested for certain medical conditions when she is born. Many conditions can be treated if they are found early enough. Early treatment means your baby can grow up healthier. Your health care provider, usually a doctor or nurse, can answer questions about the tests.

Checkups

Before your baby is born, you will need to have a pediatrician on hand, if not the hospital will have one and you may choose to continue to use his/her services. When taking your baby out for checkups, do not expose them to the sun directly. Your baby needs medical check-ups during her first days, weeks, and month so the health care provider can see if she is growing right and provide the necessary screenings and shots. The way your baby grows in her first year can affect her health for life. Checkups are a normal and important thing for babies. Even though your baby seems healthy, her first checkup should take place within 3–5 days after birth if your baby was discharged from the hospital within 24–48 hours after delivery. Keeping appointments is very important, because newborns are at risk for certain health problems such as jaundice, feeding problems, maintaining enough fluids, and blood infections. During the first checkup, ask your health care provider for the results of the hearing screening if it was done in the hospital. If a hearing test was not done, ask your health care provider how to get the test. You need to know as soon as possible if your baby has hearing problems. If she does, she may need special help now so she can communicate with people. This will help her when she learns to talk and read. The health care provider will also make sure that your baby’s nutritional needs are being met. Vitamin D supplements are recommended for babies who are breast- fed. This should begin in the first few days of life. The supplements come in the form of drops. Babies who are fed formula do not need vitamin D supplements, because formula is fortified with vitamin D. Once you begin feeding your baby solid foods, usually at 6 months, vitamin D supplements are not needed if you feed your baby foods containing vitamin D, such as rice cereals. If you have questions about supplements for your baby, ask the health care provider.

Your baby should have regular checkups at 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, and 12 months of age. At each checkup, the health care provider will:

  • Examine your baby’s head, eyes, ears, heart, lungs, and other body parts. Measure your baby’s length, weight, and head size.
  • Ask about your baby’s hearing and vision.
  • Ask you questions about how she eats, sleeps, and acts.
  • Give you information about how a baby develops and grows.

Shots

At checkups, your baby will be given shots (immunizations). Your baby will get her first shot in the hospital at birth. This shot helps protect your baby from hepatitis B. Later, your baby will get shots to protect her from diseases such as polio, measles, mumps, and chicken pox. Your health care provider can answer any questions you may have. Some babies may run a low fever from the shots. Ask your health care provider what signs to look for after your baby gets a shot so you will know if your baby needs medical care. Keep a record of what happens at your baby’s checkups. This record will help you and your health care provider know about your baby’s development and what is best for your baby. Always ask your health provider questions concerning your babies health and growth patterns.

The information supplied above is not a medical diagnosis, your must consult you medical provider for professional help.

         After age one, children no longer need formula. They can drink cow’s milk. But make sure it’s whole milk, not low-fat or skim milk. Children need milk fat for growth and energy. Serve whole milk until your child is at least two years old. If you are worried that your child has a milk allergy, talk to your doctor about other options to provide the calcium and other nutrients she needs. 

        At this age, children love to experiment. They will dip their fingers into apple juice and smear pudding on their tray. At the same time, they are learning to feed themselves. Milk will get spilled, and food will fall on the floor. Accept your child’s efforts. Gently confine activities to the tray of the high chair. Drape a dishtowel under the child’s chin, or use a bib. Put newspaper or an old shower curtain on the floor. This will make cleanup easier.

 Other tips for mealtime

  • Wash your child’s hands before eating. In crawling and moving around, she picks up germs everywhere. Use soap and warm water and rub her hands together briskly.
  • Use dishes that will lessen frustration. Plastic dishes won’t break. Shallow bowls and cups with broad bases are less likely to spill. Plates with upturned rims will help keep food in place.
  • Serve small portions, just a spoonful or two. Your child wants to show her independence. Let her ask for more when she wants more.
  • Watch for signs of fullness. If your child is playing with her food and no longer eating it, it’s time to take it away.
  • Wash your child’s hands and face after eating. Change a messy shirt, if needed.

 Shy or anxious with strangers

  • Cries when mother or father leaves
  • Enjoys imitating people in his play
  • Shows specific preferences for certain people and toys
  • Tests parental responses to his actions during feedings. (What do you do when he refuses a food?)
  • Tests parental responses to his behavior. (What do you do if he cries after you leave the room?)
  • May be fearful in some situations
  • Prefers mother and/or regular caregiver over all others
  • Repeats sounds or gestures for attention
  • Finger-feeds himself/herself
  • Extends arm or leg to help when being dressed

 Movement

  • Reaches sitting position without assistance
  • Crawls forward on belly
  • Assumes hands-and-knees position
  • Creeps on hands and knees
  • Gets from sitting to crawling or prone (lying on stomach) position
  • Pulls self up to stand
  • Walks holding on to furniture
  • Stands momentarily without support
  • May walk two or three steps without support

 Language

  • Pays increasing attention to speech
  • Responds to simple verbal requests
  • Responds to “no”
  • Uses simple gestures, such as shaking head for “no”
  • Babbles with inflection
  • Says “dada” and “mama”
  • Uses exclamations, such as “Oh-oh!”
  • Tries to imitate words

 Cognitive

  • Explores objects in many different ways (shaking, banging, throwing, dropping)
  • Finds hidden objects easily
  • Looks at correct picture when the image is named
  • Imitates gestures
  • Begins to use objects correctly (drinking from cup, brushing hair, dialing phone, listening to receiver)

 Developmental Health Watch

Each baby develops in his own manner, so it’s impossible to tell exactly when your child will perfect a given skill. Although the developmental milestones will give you a general idea of the changes you can expect as your child gets older, don’t be alarmed if his development takes a slightly different course. Alert your pediatrician if your baby displays any of the following signs of possible developmental delay in the 8- to 12-month age range.

  • Does not crawl
  • Drags one side of body while crawling (for over one month)
  • Cannot stand when supported
  • Does not search for objects that are hidden while he watches
  • Says no single words (“mama” or “dada”)
  • Does not learn to use gestures, such as waving or shaking head
  • Does not point to objects or pictures

 It is important to remember that this information is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Diagnosis and treatment should be done only by your health care provider. For more information contact your local health department or physician.