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Learn how to take care of a newborn baby from Steve Shelov MD
Tags:How to Take Care of a Newborn Baby,babies,baby,birth,bonding,drmdk,family,how to take care of a baby,mother,newborn,parenting,pediatrics,pregnancy,prenatal,siblings
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Host: Dr. Shelov, you are seen to be an expert and what you can do to make your child better on a good family relationship and one thing you emphasized, you should start taking care of the child the day it's conceived, is that true?
Steven P. Shelov: Absolutely, the best care that a mother can do for a newborn baby is to take care of herself during the pregnancy. To eat right, to take her proper vitamins, follow her doctor's advice. The healthier the pregnancy is, the healthier the baby will be when the baby is born and that gives everybody a step up to getting to the best level of health that you are looking for as you start to take care and nurture and allow your baby to grow from his first days of life.
Host: And certainly during pregnancy you would avoid taking unnecessary medicines and alcohol.
Steven P. Shelov: We now know that smoking is a serious problem that women should not smoke during pregnancy, that alcohol is also a problem when it comes to newborn babies and therefore no alcohol is recommend at all during the pregnancy and medications should be not taken at any time unless there is a necessity and if there is a necessity, you should check with your obstetrician to be sure that there is not going to be any harms to the baby.
Host: When a baby is born, in the beginning, you discussed in your books about bonding. What do you mean by bonding?
Steven P. Shelov: Research has shown that those very first minutes of life when the baby is first born, there is a tremendous immediate attachment between the mother and baby to the degree to which when the mother is having the baby placed right on her belly, right after delivery, the baby will crawl up to latch on to that breast right in the delivery room if it's allowed. That incredible attachment and recognition of the bond between mother and baby starts from the moment of birth and it's important to allow those magical moments to take place throughout that first hours to days of life. It's amazing how the mother and baby developed that connection and the immediate sense of dual purpose of having that baby become a real person and having that mother make that happen, happens from the very beginning.
There has been a lot of research done by John Kennell and Marshall Klaus to show the importance of those early hours. We even know that the state of the baby that is the awareness of the baby is amazingly alert in those first hours of life. Most alert than even in the first several days, that awake alert state puts the mother and baby in direct connection and direct connection lasts for a lifetime.
Host: When the baby comes home it's a part of a family and a good way for avoiding depression, dysfunction in your family, is to cooperate everybody in the family that includes the parents, grandparents, father.
Steven P. Shelov: Being a parent and a grandparent now, the importance of having the whole family experience that newborn baby is really important for both the support for the mother and for that sense that that baby is now an integral part of that family. Extra fun part of that coming home with a baby, that's also the important part for the mother to get the kind of support that she needs because her fatigue and her exhaustion is the thing to be avoided, so she can have all the energy she needs to take care of the baby, to breastfeed the baby and to take care of all the new things that new babies require and fathers love it too and they need to be involve, they want to be involved. If the mother is breastfeeding there are other around feeding things that the father can do. If there is bottle feeding it's the way that the mother is decided to go with the newborn feeding then the father can take some of those feedings especially the late night feeding so the mother can continue to regain her strength to be available to the baby. Siblings are important too. Siblings look to that newborn as tremendous addition to their family. They are confused, sometimes they have lost their sense of being the child if there is just one other sibling. So it's important to include them and make them realize that their place in the family is just as strong just as important and now they are actually a big brother or sister to this new baby.
Grandparents have a place to go also and they play an important role in supporting the nuclear family of this new baby. As a grandparent I know that I was tremendously enthusiastic and excited about the new baby but had to be careful about intruding myself, so watching the signals between myself and my son and now my daughter who also has a baby, being careful not to overextend but be there when they needed us. Let them dictate the amount of time and the circumstances where grandparents should be involved, that's the ticket of success of being both a fun grandparent and I believe how to continue to maintain a strong relationship between the grandparent and their own children.