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.

            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.

          Since a baby wants to put everything in his mouth, his toys must be those that can safely be used in this way. They should be washable and should have no sharp points nor corners to hurt the eyes. We wouldn’t give baby toys that have small or loose parts that may be swallowed. Rubber toys, which may be washed, are excellent for a baby. I know as grandparents and parents we tend to give our children or grandchildren a lot of toys, try not to since a child is very easily distracted and will loose interest. We find that they are satisfied with a few things, like an empty plastic cup will keep them occupied for awhile just as much as an expensive doll or other toy. We have given our grandchildren an empty ‘Puffs’ container with the lid and they learned how to remove and replace the lid. Since everything goes into the baby’s mouth, and all his toys are thrown on the floor, they should be frequently washed and, when possible, boiled, to keep them sweet and clean. 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.

Movement

  • Rolls both ways (front to back, back to front)
  • Sits with, and then without, support of her hands
  • Supports her whole weight on her legs
  • Reaches with one hand
  • Transfers object from hand to hand
  • Uses raking grasp (not pincer)

Vision

  • Develops full color vision
  • Distance vision matures
  • Ability to track moving objects matures

Language

  • Responds to own name
  • Begins to respond to “no”
  • Distinguishes emotions by tone of voice
  • Responds to sound by making sounds
  • Uses voice to express joy and displeasure
  • Babbles chains of consonants

Cognitive

  • Finds partially hidden object
  • Explores with hands and mouth
  • Struggles to get objects that are out of reach

Social/Emotional

  • Enjoys social play
  • Interested in mirror images
  • Responds to other people’s expressions of emotion

Developmental Health Watch

Because each baby develops in his own particular manner, it’s impossible to tell exactly when or how your child will perfect a given skill. The developmental milestones will give you a general idea of the changes you can expect, but don’t be alarmed if your own baby’s development takes a slightly different course. Alert your pediatrician; however, if your baby displays any of the following signs of possible developmental delay for this age range.

  • Seems very stiff with tight muscles
  • Seems very floppy like a rag doll
  • Head still flops back when body is pulled up to a sitting position
  • Reaches with one hand only
  • Refuses to cuddle
  • Shows no affection for the person who cares for him
  • Doesn’t seem to enjoy being around people
  • One or both eyes consistently turn in or out
  • Persistent tearing, eye drainage or sensitivity to light
  • Does not respond to sounds around him
  • Has difficulty getting objects to his mouth
  • Does not turn his head to locate sounds by 4 months
  • Doesn’t roll over in either direction (front to back or back to front) by 5 months
  • Seems inconsolable at night after 5 months
  • Doesn’t smile spontaneously by 5 months
  • Cannot sit with help by 6 months
  • Does not laugh or make squealing sounds by 6 months
  • Does not actively reach for objects by 6 to 7 months
  • Doesn’t follow objects with both eyes at near (1 foot) and far (6 feet) ranges by 7 months
  • Does not bear some weight on legs by 7 months
  • Does not try to attract attention through actions by 7 months
  • Does not babble by 8 months
  • Shows no interest in games of peek-a-boo by 8 months

              As we continue with developmental milestones, today’s blog will start with milestones concerning the end of three months. Each stage of your child’s life is special. Infants and toddlers all the way up to adolescence there are developmental and social steps and stages. Learning about these and keeping track with them can help you guide your kids and help keep you involved. It is important that we take every step necessary to ensure that children grow up in environments where their social, emotional and educational needs are met. 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.

Movement

  • Raises head and chest when lying on stomach
  • Supports upper body with arms when lying on stomach
  • Stretches legs out and kicks when lying on stomach or back
  • Opens and shuts hands
  • Pushes down on legs when feet are placed on a firm surface
  • Brings hand to mouth
  • Takes swipes at dangling objects with hands
  • Grasps and shakes hand toys

Visual

  • Watches faces intently
  • Follows moving objects
  • Recognizes familiar objects and people at a distance
  • Starts using hands and eyes in coordination

Hearing and Speech

  • Smiles at the sound of your voice
  • Begins to babble
  • Begins to imitate some sounds
  • Turns head toward direction of sound

Social/Emotional

  • Begins to develop a social smile
  • Enjoys playing with other people, and may cry when playing stops
  • Becomes more communicative and expressive with face and body
  • Imitates some movements and facial expressions

 Developmental Health Watch

Although each baby develops in her own individual way and at her own rate, failure to reach certain milestones may signal medical or developmental problems requiring special attention. If you notice any of the following warning signs in your infant at this age, discuss them with your pediatrician.

  • Still has Moro reflex after 4 months
  • Doesn’t seem to respond to loud sounds
  • Doesn’t notice hands by 2 months
  • Doesn’t smile at the sound of your voice by 2 months
  • Doesn’t follow moving objects with eyes by 2 to 3 months
  • Doesn’t grasp and hold objects by 3 months
  • Doesn’t smile at people by 3 months
  • Cannot support  head well at 3 months
  • Doesn’t reach for and grasp toys by 3 to 4 months
  • Doesn’t babble by 3 to 4 months
  • Doesn’t bring objects to  mouth by 4 months
  • Begins babbling, but doesn’t try to imitate any of your sounds by 4 months
  • Doesn’t push down with legs when feet are placed on a firm surface by 4 months
  • Has trouble moving one or both eyes in all directions
  • Crosses her eyes most of the time. (Occasional crossing of the eyes is normal in these first months.)
  • Doesn’t pay attention to new faces, or seems very frightened by new faces or surroundings
  • Still has the tonic neck reflex at 4 to 5 months

 Reference:

Reflexes: http://www.drhull.com/EncyMaster/R/reflexes_primitive.html