The days after your first child is born are filled with plenty of excitement and joy. However, they're also filled with their fair share of anxiety: how do you know if you're doing it right? While parenthood is a learning process, these five answers to frequently asked questions can help you sleep (metaphorically speaking) at night.
1. Is Your Baby Eating Enough?
Many breastfeeding moms worry that they're babies aren't getting enough to eat. The best indication that your child is taking in enough milk or formula? Weight gain. Newborns should gain between four to seven ounces every week.
Another way to determine whether your child is getting enough food? Diaper checks. Your baby should have at least four wet diapers a day, as well as at least three bowel movements daily. Stool should be yellow in color and grainy in texture.
If you're still unsure, many pediatrician's offices welcome you to stop by for weigh-ins between checkups.
2. Should Your Child Be Vaccinated?
While there is a significant amount of buzz related to whether or not you should vaccinate your child, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control are in agreement: vaccines aren't just critical for ensuring the health of your child, they are also a valuable public health initiative.
Vaccines are carefully reviewed by scientists and healthcare professionals to ensure that they are both safe and effective. By having your child vaccinated according to the CDC-recommended immunization schedule, you protect your child, other members of your community, and future generations.
If you have questions or concerns about vaccinations and your child, the best source of clarifying information is a qualified healthcare professional, such as your pediatrician or family physician.
3. How Can You Bond With Your Baby?
While most parents expect love at first sight when it comes to bonding with their newborn, the reality is not always so simple. While the process is immediate for many new moms and dads, for others it's more gradual.
Breastfeeding and baby wearing both offer a connection through skin-to-skin contact.
You can also further bonding by establishing routines — from quiet time in the evening to morning snuggles with a book.
4. Will My Baby Ever Sleep Through the Night?
While you love spending time with your baby, you also love a good night's sleep. During the first three months you can expect to be up several times every night for changing and feeding tasks. While newborns do need a lot of sleep — up to 17 hours a day — they don't stay asleep for more than four hours at a time...if you're lucky. For some babies, this window can be as narrow as two consecutive hours. One oft-recommended way to deal with your baby's demanding sleep schedule? Sleep when your baby sleeps.
And there is a light in the dark: most babies can sleep for uninterrupted stretches of up to 12 hours by the sixth month.
5. When Does Your Child Need to See the Dentist?
There's nothing cuter than that first gummy smile. While you may want this time to last forever, the fact is that your child's first teeth will be popping up in no time. First teeth come in between your baby's fourth and 12th month. The American Dental Association recommends that your child's first dental visit occur no later than his/her first birthday.
While baby teeth come and go, good dental practices last a lifetime and access to timely pediatric dental services is essential.
While new parenthood can be overwhelming, this FAQ can help keep you calm and in-the-know. And take heart: by the time baby #2 enters the picture, you'll be a parenting pro. For more information, visit sites like http://www.childrensdent.com.