The Five Most Frequently Asked Questions of New Parents
Being a parent is a big responsibility and with it comes many questions. Unfortunately, babies do not come with manuals so it is often up to the pediatric providers to provide the answers to many important questions. Here are the five most frequently asked questions we receive, as pediatricians, from new parents.
- What is the best treatment for my baby’s diaper rash?
Diaper rash is a common irritation that appears as redness on the skin. It is an unfortunate consequence of having wet, chafed or sensitive skin. Most diaper rash is benign and can be treated with an over the counter diaper rash cream. Zinc oxide is an ingredient found in many diaper rash creams that helps heal and protect the skin. Parents can also create a protective barrier on their baby’s skin by adding a layer of Aquaphor ointment to their skin before diapering. A visit to the pediatrician is warranted if the rash does not improve after several days or if it appears to worsen, as a prescription may be required.
- What is the best type of formula for my baby?
Breast milk is always best, however, when that is not possible, cow’s milk-based formulas are a good option for most full-term babies. Soy-based formulas are made with soy protein and are a good alternative for parents who wish to exclude animal protein from their child’s diet and other special circumstances.
So how do you know what’s best? All infant formulas sold in the United States must meet the nutrient standards set by the FDA. Choosing name brand versus generic is not necessarily important. Instead, choose a formula that is iron-fortified. Parents should also avoid changing formulas without first consulting their baby’s pediatrician.
- How much crying is normal?
Babies cry to communicate. They cry to say they are lonely, hungry, wet, tired, awake, hot, cold, and sometimes they just cry because they are bored. On average, a baby cries 2-3 hours, depending on their age, broken up throughout the day. Whenever a baby cries, it is important to try to figure out what they need.
It is estimated that up to 40% of babies have colic, which is defined as inconsolable crying in an otherwise healthy baby that lasts for three hours or more at least three days per week, for three weeks or longer. The cause of colic is still not clear as it begins and ends for no apparent reason. The good news is that colic typically improves around 12 weeks of age.
- When can I try to get my baby to sleep through the night?
Sleep is a very precious commodity to a new parent. That is because they don’t get much. Babies typically begin sleeping for longer stretches between 4-6 months of age. Breastfed babies, however, are often the exception as their bodies metabolize breast milk quickly and as such, require more frequent feedings. A baby is typically ready to begin trying to sleep through the night when they are old enough to eliminate nighttime feedings, which occurs after six months. It is important for parents to not eliminate nighttime feedings without first discussing it with their child’s pediatrician.
- How do I know if my baby is getting enough breast milk?
Breast milk naturally contains all the nutrition a growing baby needs. Yet it can be difficult determining if a baby is getting enough when there is no way to measure output. Breastfed babies should be allowed to feed as long as they want. This can range from 10-20 minutes per breast or longer. They should also breastfeed 8-12 times each 24-hour period. A healthy baby will gain weight and be growing. They will also appear active and have good color and firm skin. In addition, to assess how feeding is going pediatricians monitor both wet and dry diapers.
Your child’s health is important to us. If you have questions, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with your child’s pediatric provider today. For more information on parenting or raising healthy children, visit the Rainbow Pediatrics blog.