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Baby Shower

Winterizing your Newborn
By Dr. Mike
Newborn Care DVD

Protecting Against Infection
As a pediatrician, I will never say there is a bad time to have a baby. However, there are better times than Winter. There are a number of illnesses that are predominant in the winter, that place your baby at risk for infection. The flu, Respiratory Syncitial Virus (RSV), and Rotovirus (a vomiting and diarrhea virus) to name a few. Remember, the outside air is not contagious, people are, so make sure no one with an illness, including a cold, is near your newborn. Also, make sure everyone washes their hands before touching your baby. To help decrease the risk of infection, all members of your household and caregivers should receive the flu shot and both children and adults need to be up to date on the tetanus vaccine, which immunizes against whooping cough (Pertussis). Your baby will start his vaccination series at two (2) months but will not be protected well against whooping cough until six (6) months. If possible, avoid flying with your baby. It is not the act of flying that is the issue – that is safe for a baby – but all the people your baby will encounter in the airport and on the plane that increase the risk of transmission of illness.

Dressing for Sleep
The temperature of the room your baby sleeps in should be comfortable for an adult dressed in light clothing, around 70 degrees. A baby should be lightly dressed for sleep, as overheating during sleep increases the risk of SIDS – Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. You can use your hand as a thermostat, by feeling the nape of your baby’s neck while he/she is asleep. If that area is very hot or damp with sweat, the baby is overheated and the layer of clothes should be removed. If cold, then the layer might need to be added. A lot of parents make the mistake of using a baby’s hands and feet as a measure of the baby’s temperature. This is incorrect as a baby’s hands and feet are usually colder than the rest of its body.

Car seat
It is okay to adjust the straps of your baby’s car seat slightly for bulkier clothing. However, you want to avoid loosening the straps a lot to accommodate for a thick winter coat. During a crash, that coat might compress leaving room between the baby and the straps, placing your baby at an increased risk for harm. What is recommended is to remove the bulky coat, strapping the baby in the car seat tightly and then using the coat as a blanket over the straps of the car seat. You can tuck the coat in around the baby, making sure not to obstruct the baby’s nose or mouth.

Picking a Hospital
Most of you will deliver at the hospital where your Obstetrician is affiliated. Some obstetricians have privileges at more than one hospital and you will want to discuss with your doctor which hospital is right for your specific situation. This is not just based on proximity. For example, if you are prone to premature babies or your pre-natal care has detected a possible problem, you will want to deliver at a facility that has the appropriate level of care to handle your specific needs, like a NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). Make sure to discuss these issues with your physician.

Most hospitals will let you pre-register. This allows you to fill out all the paperwork in advance, including the mountain of insurance forms, so when the big moment arrives it is an easier and less stressful process to be admitted to the hospital.

Some hospitals offer a tour of their labor and delivery departments. I recommend taking advantage of this as it will make the hospital admission and stay more familiar to you and will also lower your stress level.

Make sure to plan for your admission in advance. That includes a pre-packed bag for your stay. Also, know where to park the car. The last thing you will want to worry about is finding the right parking lot! Lastly, have an alternate route to the hospital to plan ahead for uncertain traffic patterns.

Picking a Pediatrician
There are pros and cons of small and large practices. The smaller practices offer more consistency with the same doctor, but appointments can be limited, especially at the popular times. Larger practices offer a lot of availability, but patients are sometimes seen by different pediatricians.

There are some other questions for you to find out about a pediatrician's office before you choose one.

  • What are the after hour procedures?

  • How do you get in touch with the doctor when the office is closed?

  • Will you speak to a doctor from the practice, or a call center/nurse?

  • Are there weekend hours?

  • What hospitals are the doctors affiliated with?

These are all important attributes of a practice to consider before choosing.

You should feel very comfortable with your pediatrician as you will be spending a lot of time with him/her. The first year of life you will see your pediatrician after delivery, in the hospital, after discharge from the hospital, at 2 weeks, at 2 months, at 4 months, at 6 months, at 9 nine months and at 1 year. That is 9 times without being sick! Some doctors may want to see you even more. So, you need to feel that you can communicate with your child's doctor and that he/she has a personality that you feel comfortable with. A lot of pediatric offices offer a "meet the doctor" visit. This is a scheduled time while you are still pregnant to sit down with a pediatrician and get a feel if he/she and their group is right for you and your baby-to-be.

Good luck!

*All information given is not a substitute for the advice of your pediatrician, primary care provider or trained health professional. Always consult with your pediatrician or health care professional.

Newborn Care 101-- What Parents Need To KnowPediatrician Bio - Michael was born and raised in California and has never left. His higher education has all been through the University of California system - Bachelor of Science with honors from UCLA, his MD degree from University of California at Irvine and his pediatric training at UCLA.

He has been practicing pediatrics in Valencia, a suburb of Los Angeles for over 10 years. Dr Mike is the featured pediatrician in the DVD, Newborn Care 101-- What Parents Need To Know and he and his DVD have appeared on multiple media outlets including Pregnancy magazine, he is the resident pediatrician for Brooke Burke's website for new moms and has recently been on The Doctors television show discussing newborn care. He is married and has a seven year old son and a four year old daughter. He enjoys golf, UCLA sports and family time. Baby shower 101 is happy to have him as their resident pediatrician.


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