One of the main concerns new parents have is that they'll hurt their newborn. Infants are very frail looking, but according to O'Brien, "Most doctors will tell you that if you handle them firmly and securely, your baby will feel more confident."
But many parents worry about swadling their baby too tightly or check their baby constantly while they're sleeping; they're afraid the infant will stop breathing. "SIDS is a very valid concern, but if you follow the guidelines, you can go a long way to keeping your baby safe," says O'Brien. "The number one thing you can do is put your baby on their back when she goes down to sleep."
Be sure to keep the crib free of toys, pillow and blankets - anything that a newborn could roll into or get caught in. Rolling can happen fairly early, so be sure to monitor your child for signs that he or she is starting to move about.
An infant's appetite is another concern for many parents. How do you know if your baby is eating enough? "This is a really big concern, especially for moms who are breastfeeding," says O'Brien. "They don't have bottles to look out to see, 'how much did my baby take in?'" Some moms count the number of dirty diapers they have during the day and compare that to what a book cites as "normal". "This is a good gauge of how much your baby is getting," says O'Brien.
Furthermore, can what you eat adversely affect your baby? "Everything you eat or drink will eventually make it to your baby, but everything in moderation is okay," says O'Brien. One occasional drink or eating gas-inducing foods like broccoli are okay. Just don't overdo it.
On the other end of the eating chain is constipation. Many parents aren't sure how often their baby should be moving their bowels. "There's a real wide range of normal," says O'Brien. "The truth is, especially with breast-fed babies, they can go a really long time without pooping... a week, two weeks." One warning sign of constipation is hard stools. If you're seeing this when you change your baby's diaper, you need to contact your pediatrician.
Vaccines often worry many parents. There are many vaccines that babies need, but parents often wander if it's okay to give their child that many shots at once. "It's really important to get these things to keep your baby safe," says O'Brien. In fact, many vaccines were studied and tested together, and some research shows that they're more effective that way.
Some parents worry if they don't immediately feel a special bond with their son or daughter. Chances are, nothing is wrong with you as a parent. Having a baby turns a person's life upside down, and all that stress may be affecting your relationship with your infant. Give it some time. You're transitioning, and your baby is too.
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By Erin Petrun