This post is for mom’s who are concerned about those extra pounds that were put on during their pregnancy. Gaining weight during pregnancy is normal and should happen, with most of the weight gained in the last 3 months. Many doctors suggest women gain weight at the following rate:

  • 1 to 4 pounds total during the first 3 months (first trimester)
  • 2 to 4 pounds per month during the 4th to 9th months (second and third trimesters)

The total amount of weight you should gain during your pregnancy depends on your weight when you became pregnant.

 Women whose weight was in the healthy range before becoming pregnant should gain between 25 and 35 pounds while pregnant. The advice is different for those who were overweight or underweight before becoming pregnant.

 If you gain too much weight during pregnancy, it can be hard to lose the weight after your baby is born. Most women who gain the suggested amount of weight lose it with the birth of the baby and in the months that follow.

 Breastfeeding for more than 3 months can also help you lose weight gained during pregnancy. If you gain too little weight during pregnancy, you may have a higher risk for a premature delivery and a low birth weight infant.

 Follow your MyPyramid Plan for Moms to choose the right amounts from each food group. In addition, visit your health care provider regularly so they can check on your weight gain. If you are gaining weight too slowly or too fast, change the amount you are eating:

  • If you are gaining weight too fast, cut back on the calories you are currently eating.
  • The best way to eat fewer calories is by decreasing the amount of “extras” you are eating. 
  • “Extras” are added sugars and solid fats in foods like soft drinks, desserts, fried foods, cheese, whole milk, and fatty meats. Look for choices that are low-fat, fat-free, unsweetened, or with no-added-sugars. They have fewer “extras.”  You need a certain number of calories to keep your body functioning and provide energy for physical activities. Think of the calories you need for energy like money you have to spend.  Each person has a total calorie “budget.”  This budget can be divided into “essentials” and “extras.”With a financial budget, the essentials are items like rent and food.  The extras are things like movies and vacations.  In a calorie budget, the “essentials” are the minimum calories required to meet your nutrient needs.  By selecting the lowest fat and no-sugar-added forms of foods in each food group you would make the best nutrient “buys.”  Depending on the foods you choose, you may be able to spend more calories than the amount required to meet your nutrient needs.  These calories are the “extras” that can be used on luxuries like solid fats, added sugars, and alcohol, or on more food from any food group.  They are your “discretionary calories.”Each person has an allowance for some discretionary calories.  But, many people have used up this allowance before lunch-time!  Most discretionary calorie allowances are very small, between 100 and 300 calories, especially for those who are not physically active.  For many people, the discretionary calorie allowance is totally used by the foods they choose in each food group, such as higher fat meats, cheeses, whole milk, or sweetened bakery products. You can use your discretionary calorie allowance to:
  • Eat more foods from any food group than the food guide recommends.
  • Eat higher calorie forms of foods—those that contain solid fats or added sugars.  Examples are whole milk, cheese, sausage, biscuits, sweetened cereal, and sweetened yogurt.
  • Add fats or sweeteners to foods.  Examples are sauces, salad dressings, sugar, syrup, and butter.
  • Eat or drink items that are mostly fats, caloric sweeteners, and/or alcohol, such as candy, soda, wine, and beer.

For example, assume your calorie budget is 2,000 calories per day.  Of these calories, you need to spend at least 1,735 calories for essential nutrients, if you choose foods without added fat and sugar.  Then you have 265 discretionary calories left.  You may use these on “luxury” versions of the foods in each group, such as higher fat meat or sweetened cereal.  Or, you can spend them on sweets, sauces, or beverages.  Many people overspend their discretionary calorie allowance, choosing more added fats, sugars, and alcohol than their budget allows.

  • Alcohol is also considered an “extra,” but you should not drink at all while pregnant.
  • If you are not gaining weight, or gaining too slowly, you need to eat more calories. You can do this by eating a little more from each food group.

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.

            SIDS is a very sensitive issue and it’s extremely important that we know the facts and what is expected of a loving parent, grandparent or guardian. Please review the below information, practice the possible solutions described and follow the links to learn more about preventing SIDS.

Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) Sudden unexpected infant deaths are defined as infant deaths that occur suddenly and unexpectedly, and whose manner and cause of death are not immediately obvious prior to investigation. Each year in the United States, more than 4,500 infants die suddenly of no obvious cause. Half of these Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID) are due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the leading cause of SUID and of all deaths among infants aged 1–12 months.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

What is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)?

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is defined as the sudden death of an infant less than one year of age that cannot be explained after a thorough investigation is conducted, including complete autopsy, examination of the death scene, and review of the clinical history. SIDS is the leading cause of death among infants aged 1–12 months, and is the third leading cause overall of infant mortality in the United States. Although the overall rate of SIDS in the United States has declined by more than 50% since 1990, rates have declined less among non-Hispanic Black and American Indian/Alaska Native infants. Preventing SIDS remains an important public health priority. 

How can I reduce the SIDS risk?

Health care providers don’t know what exactly causes SIDS, but they do know certain things can help reduce the risk of SIDS:

  • Always place babies on their backs to sleep – Babies who sleep on their backs are less likely to die of SIDS than babies who sleep on their stomachs or sides.  Placing your baby on his or her back to sleep is the number one way to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Use the back sleep position every time – Babies who usually sleep on their backs but who are then placed on their stomachs, like for a nap, are at very high risk for SIDS.  So it is important for babies to sleep on their backs every time, for naps and at night.
  • Place your baby on a firm sleep surface, such as a safety-approved *crib mattress covered with a fitted sheet – Never place a baby to sleep on a pillow, quilt, sheepskin, or other soft surface.
  • Keep soft objects, toys, and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area – Don’t use pillows, blankets, quilts, sheepskins, or pillow-like bumpers in your baby’s sleep area.  Keep all items away from the baby’s face.
  • Avoid letting your baby overheat during sleep – Dress your baby in light sleep clothing and keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult.
  • Think about using a clean, dry pacifier when placing your baby down to sleep, but don’t force the baby to take it.  (If you’re breastfeeding, wait until your child is 1 month old, or is used to breastfeeding before using a pacifier.)

* For more information on crib safety, visit http://www.cpsc.gov.

The NICHD’s publication Safe Sleep for Your Baby: Reduce the Risk of SIDS gives a complete list of ways to reduce the risk of SIDS.

What groups are most at risk for SIDS?

  • Babies who are placed to sleep on their stomachs or sides are at higher risk for SIDS than babies who are placed on their backs to sleep.
  • African American babies are more than two times as likely to die of SIDS as white babies.
  • American Indian/Alaska Native babies are nearly three times as likely to die of SIDS as white babies.

Will my baby develop flat spots on his or her head from back sleeping?

For the most part, flat spots on a baby’s head go away a few months after the baby learns to sit up.  There are other ways to reduce the chance that flat spots will develop on your baby’s head, such as:

  • Providing Tummy Time when your baby is awake and someone is watching.  Tummy Time not only helps prevent flat spots, but it also helps a baby’s head, neck, and shoulder muscles get stronger. 
 

 

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.

Bathing BabyWhat to Know

  • It is not necessary to sponge or tub bathe your baby every day. Two to three times a week is fine.
  • The face, hands and diaper area should be washed every day.
  • Do not give a tub bath until the umbilical cord has fallen off.
  • Always make sure the room is warm and free of drafts.
  • Never leave a baby alone in the tub or on the counter top.
  • Use a rubber mat, non-skid stickers or bath towel on the bottom of the tub.
  • Water should be warm to the touch, neither too hot nor too cold. Test the water temperature with your elbow or inner wrist before placing the baby into the water.
  • Use fresh water and a clean washcloth and towel for each baby.
  • Clean the tub thoroughly with hot, soapy water after each use. Rinse well.
  • Remember that not all babies love a bath. Some babies will cry because they do not like to be undressed or even have their diaper changed. The crying is not due  to your inexperience. Try to keep most of your baby covered with a towel to avoid drafts.
  • Use bath time to stroke, cuddle and talk to your baby. It can be a special time for both of you.

 What to Do

Get all of your supplies ready and place them near the bathing area before you start:

 Plastic infant tub                               Rubbing alcohol  and cotton swabs  Washcloth                                         Large soft towel                                Baby brush/comb                              Baby shampoo                                 Change of clothing                            Diaper                                      Container for rinsing Rubber mat  Baby soap                                                    

Sponge Bath:

  • Leave your baby wrapped in a towel or blanket.
  • Use a soft washcloth to wash the face with plain warm water. Do not use soap on the face.
  • Clean the ears by using a corner of the washcloth and a finger. Never use a cotton-tipped swab in the ears.
  • Shampoo the hair by tucking the baby under your arm and supporting the head with one hand. Hold baby’s head over the warm water in the tub to wet the hair, apply a small amount of shampoo and gently wash and massage the baby’s scalp with your fingers or a soft brush. Rinse well with clean, warm water and dry with a soft towel.
  • You can wash the soft spot on top of the baby’s head without hurting the baby.
  • Next,  unwrap or undress the baby.
  • Wet  the  baby’s  body with your  hand or soft, wet washcloth.
  • Gently wash or massage the baby by starting at the  neck and working down the chest, arms, torso and top of the legs.
  • Turn the baby to each side and rub the baby’s back and down the back of the legs.
  • Wash the diaper area last.
  • Gently wash and rinse all the skin creases and folds.
  • Rinse the baby’s skin with warm water, using your hands or washcloth and keeping the cord and circumcision dry until healed.
  • Gently blot the baby dry with a clean, soft towel.
  • Apply rubbing alcohol to the cord if recommended by your health care provider.
  • Diaper and dress the baby.
  • Brush the baby’s hair.

Tub Bath:

Fill the baby bathtub one-third to one- half full of water (body temperature warmth). Test the water with your elbow or inner wrist.

  • Use a rubber mat, non-skid stickers or bath towel on the bottom of the tub.
  • Lay a folded towel on the counter next to the tub so the baby can be dried off comfortably.
  • Wash the baby’s face and hair as explained in the sponge bath section.
  • Next, unwrap or undress the baby.
  • Cradle your baby in your arms and then gently place the baby in the tub, supporting the baby with your hand. Never let go of the baby in the tub!
  • Using the hand that is not supporting the baby, lather the baby’s entire body with mild soap, making sure to wash all wrinkles and creases.
  • For male babies, clean around the penis and scrotum. It is not necessary to pull back the foreskin.
  • For female babies, clean between the  folds (labia) from front to back.
  • Rinse the baby’s body thoroughly with clean, warm water.
  • Take the baby out of the tub, wrap in a clean towel, and pat completely dry.
  • Diaper and dress the baby.
  • Brush the baby’s hair.

        Many parents-to-be enjoy putting together their baby’s layette. This is the clothing and supplies your baby will need in the months ahead. There are countless baby items, and every gadget comes in different shapes, sizes, and brands. So, it can be hard to know what items you will really need or use.

        The list that follows will give you some ideas about what you might need and want. Ask mothers you know about what items they couldn’t live without and brands they liked. Also, keep in mind that the cost of brand-new baby gear can add up. Many new parents keep costs down by borrowing clothes and gear or shopping at consignment stores.

        Safety is also an important factor when shopping for supplies. Some products may pose a risk to your baby if safety guidelines are not followed. And used products are more likely than new items to be dangerous. The web sites listed in the resources section can help you to choose a safe car seat, crib, clothing, stroller, and other items.

        If you are overwhelmed by the number of baby products out there, just remember this: Your baby really only needs food, shelter, and you.

What Your Baby Will Need at the Hospital
  • Undershirt
  • An outfit such as a stretch suit, nightgown, or sweater set
  • A pair of socks or booties
  • Receiving blanket, cap and heavier blanket or bunting, if the weather is cold
  • Diapers and wipes (some hospitals provide an initial supply of these)
  • Infant car seat – Most hospitals will not discharge the baby unless the car seat is checked for safety and correct installation.
Things You’ll Need to Transport Your Baby
  • Car seat – A proper car seat is the best way to protect your baby on the road. Buying a new seat is best, so that you can be sure the seat is safe and in good condition.
  • Stroller
  • Soft carrier, sling, or backpack
  • Diaper bag – since this is something you will be carrying around for about three years, choose one that is comfortable and durable for you.
Items For Your Baby’s Room
  • Crib and crib linens – Most brand new cribs and mattresses purchased in the United States are safe. If you are planning to use a used crib, make sure it conforms to the current government safety standards.
  • Play pen or portable crib
  • Changing table
  • Dresser
  • Glider or rocking chair
  • Clothes hamper
  • Baby monitor
  • Night light/soft lighting
Infant Care Items
  • Diapers or cloth diapers – you can get a couple of different brands of diapers so you can test them out and choose your favorite.
  • Receiving blankets
  • Clothing
  • Breast pump (if you plan to breastfeed)
  • Bottles – be sure to get the correct size of nipples, such as preemie, or newborn.
  • Rectal or digital ear thermometer
  • Bathtub
  • Washcloths and baby wipes
  • Diaper rash ointment and/or petroleum jelly
  • Hooded towels
  • Diaper disposal system – good to have, but not necessary.
  • Burp cloths and waterproof lap pads
  • Bulb syringe – for suctioning baby’s nasal passages if necessary. Your baby’s doctor will tell you if, when, and how to do this.
  • Baby nail clippers/scissors manicure set
Things You’ll Need as Your Baby Gets Older
  • Outlet covers, cabinet locks, and other items to “childproof” your home
  • Toys
  • Books
  • High chair
  • Gates
Resources

Organizations

  1.   U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission