Health Care Guidelines and Tips for Newborns and Infants

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Welcoming a newborn into this world is often one of the most exciting moments in a parent’s life. Before a baby arrives, it’s important for parents to have an idea of what to expect and know where to turn to for information and resources.

To learn more, check out the infographic below created by the Regis College Master of Health Administration program.

Healthcare guidelines for taking care of newborns and infants.

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Statistics of Newborn Health in the U.S.

Births in the U.S. have been steadily declining for a few decades. The costs of raising a child, though, have increased.

The 3,7888,235 births in 2018 represented a 2% decrease in births from 2017, and the lowest number of births since 1986. 2018’s rate translates to 59 births per 1,000 women 15-44. 31.9% of the babies were delivered via cesarean section, and the preterm birth rate was 10.02%, a jump from 2017’s 9.93% rate. Low birth weight was reported in 8.28% of newborns. Non-Hispanic black babies made up the highest percentile in each category.

For the most part, birth rates per 1,000 women were inversely proportional to household income. Household incomes under $10,000 had a per/1000 birth rate of 66.44, and those with $200,000 or more had a per/1000 birth rate of 43.92.

There were 22,341 infant deaths in 2017, or 5.7 deaths per 1,000 live births. The death rate for Non-Hispanic black infants was 10.97 per 1,000. The leading causes of deaths included congenital malformations, maternal complications, and unintentional injuries.

What Expectant Mothers Should Know

Staying healthy and especially refraining from smoking is important to infant health. Smoking during pregnancy can cause preterm births, preterm-related deaths, and low birth weight. Secondhand smoke can lead to impaired lung function and lung and ear infections in infants and can also increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Breastfeeding can also be an important practice for mothers. It’s also a widespread practice. 84% of infants are breastfed at births and 25% receive solely breast milk at 6 months.

Children also cost plenty of money. Nearly $13,000 is spent annually per child, with housing, food, childcare, and transportation being the chief expenditures. As of 2015 raising a child from birth until the age of 17 costs an average of $233,610, not including college.

Parental Guidance for Newborns and Infants

Expectant parents have many questions about how to handle a newborn, how to burp an infant after feeding, and how to arrange the sleep area. Here are a few valuable tips:

Putting a Baby to Sleep

The first thing to keep in mind here is to always place infants on their back. Infants also shouldn’t be allowed to share a bed. Keep their sleep area free of soft objects like pillows or loose bedding. Finally, make sure the mattress is firm and covered by a fitted sheet.

Handling a Newborn

Before holding a baby, wash your hands. Also, be sure to provide support for the baby’s head and neck. Never shake a newborn, as this can cause bleeding in the brain and even death. Additionally, make sure the baby is properly fastened into a carrier, stroller, or car seat. Finally, gently massaging your baby will help the bonding and soothing process.

Diapering

Before you start changing your baby’s diaper, make sure you have all supplies within reach. You can use water, cotton balls, a washcloth, or wipes to wipe your baby clean. If your baby develops a rash, apply diaper cream, give baby warm baths, and allow some time out of the diaper. To prevent a rash, change diapers as soon as possible after bowel movements and gently clean the area with mild soap and water before applying a cream with zinc oxide. If you use cloth diapers, wash them in dye- and fragrance-free detergents.

Breastfeeding and Burping

Newborns typically need to be fed every two to three hours. If a newborn seems fussy during feeding or has gastroesophageal reflux, burp baby after every ounce during bottle-feeding or every five minutes during breastfeeding. To help your baby burp, hold the baby upright with his or her head on your shoulder.

Resources for Parents of Newborns

Parents have access to many resources and tools as they raise a child from infancy to adolescence.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can be a vital resource. Parents can browse the CDC website for key information throughout a child’s life, including diseases and conditions, back-to-school readiness, and high-risk behaviors.

Parents can also browse Parenting.com for key information. They can also use it to shop for items in several categories, including pregnancy gear, maternity clothes, toys, and décor.

On Babycenter.com, parents can access expert advice on pregnancy safety, diapering, and baby sleep. They can also access calculation tools to determine ovulation, due date, and baby costs.

Healthchildren.org is another key source of parenting info. This parenting website by the American Academy of Pediatrics offers information and tips for screen time, winter, car seats, insurance, and more.

Finally, parents can access a wealth of vital info on Kidshealth.org. Some of the site’s subjects include emotions and behavior, doctors and hospitals, and infections.

Conclusion

Parents are role models for their children across all areas of life. By adopting healthy habits before their children are born, parents will be building a solid foundation for a healthy family.