Q: What’s the safest way for a newborn to sleep?
A: Infants should sleep on their backs because research shows it can reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Some parents ask me if they should reposition their infants in the middle of the night if they start rolling over in the crib. I tell them they should continue to put their babies to sleep on their backs, but it’s not necessary to keep repositioning them overnight.
A newborn should never share a bed with anyone. And there should be no bumpers, blankets or stuffed animals in the crib. “Wearable blankets” such as sleep sacks are recommended as substitutes for traditional blankets. Blankets and stuffed animals may be introduced into the crib after the baby’s first birthday.
Q: What are your key messages about breastfeeding?
A: Breastfeeding has many benefits for babies including antibodies to help boost the baby’s immune system, lower the risk of allergies and asthma, and decrease colds and ear infections.
While I believe exclusive breastfeeding is best, some moms and babies experience difficulty breastfeeding. So, it’s important to know when formula supplementation is a good idea. While breast milk is superior to formula for babies, formula will not hurt your baby. And remember that any amount of breast milk is better than none at all, so formula supplementation does not necessarily mean breastfeeding must stop.
Q: What are the benefits of breastfeeding for moms?
A: Breastfeeding can help moms shed pregnancy pounds faster, reduce postpartum bleeding, and lower the long-term risk of breast and ovarian cancers. It also provides one of the best bonding experiences between moms and babies.
Q: What are car seat guidelines for newborns?
A: An infant needs a rear-facing infant car seat with a five-point harness and detachable base. Pay attention to the weight limits (both upper and lower) on the seat. Some infant seats are not made for very small newborns, especially premature babies.
Transition to a convertible car seat that can be placed forward or rear facing when your child exceeds the upper weight limit of the infant seat or the top of his or her head is within one inch of the top of the car seat. South Carolina law states that all children should be rear facing until at least age two unless they have outgrown the weight or height requirements of the rear-facing seat.
Remember that caring for a newborn is not easy. The best thing you can give your baby at this age is love; you cannot spoil a baby! There are many resources available to help support new moms, and your pediatrician can be one of the best. No question is too small
Amanda Vartanian, MD, is a pediatrician at Lexington Pediatric Practice, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice with locations in Lexington and West Columbia. She’s also a mom to Avery (3) and Logan (2 months). She’s accepting new patients.
811 West Main Street, Suite 204
Lexington, SC 29072
3240 Sunset Boulevard
West Columbia, SC 29169