Tips on Surviving the First Six Months
Heather Zimmerman, M.D. Boys Town Pediatrics
It's normal to be overwhelmed when you bring home a newborn from the hospital. The important thing to know is, even though you feel overwhelmed and so nervous about this new life depending on you, you have tons of resources. Just take all the tips the doctors, nurses, family members and friends want to give you, and pick and choose which ones you like.
Early on you're just going on your baby's demands. They sleep when they want and they feed when they want. Even as early as couple of weeks you can start settling into routines and getting your baby into a little bit of a schedule. The best thing you can do, with an early infant in those first two to four months, is start to develop what we call sleep independence. That means let them play lying down. Don't have them in your arms constantly because we want them to get used to not being held all the time. That's going to make them more likely to just drift off to sleep on their own at times and get used to that feeling.
We have a set list we give parents and it applies from newborn to late infancy. If your baby doesn't seem to be feeding well, if they're not making enough wet and poopy diapers, if there is a fever of more than 100.4 degrees, or if your baby is so sleepy they are difficult to arouse. Those are times to call us and we need to see you right away.
I tell parents there is a new social life now that you have a baby. The first thing is young babies actually are great for taking to restaurants and traveling because they just sleep when there is loud noise. That's kind of how they block it out. Go out to eat! If you have the energy go to a restaurant and take your baby and park them right next to you. They will probably sleep the whole time anyway.
You need to make a social life. It's easy to let everything revolve around your baby but don't be afraid, even if your baby is only a few week or month or two old, to ask a friend or relative to watch your baby. Everyone is really dying for you to ask them to babysit. Go out for two hours and have a quick dinner or see a movie. You can do that. It's good to do that and get away a little bit.
Surviving the first six months of your newborns life can be exciting and challenging. Dr. Heather Zimmerman, Board Certified Pediatrician at Boys Town Pediatrics, offers tips on how to get your baby on a sleep schedule, when you should call the doctor and how to balance your social life with being a parent.