Monday, January 13, 2014

7 Things New Parents Should Know (But Don't)

Everything changes when you become a mom. The way you spend your time, your hormones, your finances, the dynamics of your relationship with your significant other. Add learning how to care for a tiny human's every need and it can all seem a little overwhelming. It's a crazy, amazing, challenging experience.  This is a list of things that you probably won't hear about in your baby care basics class or the 27 baby books you've bought, but you should know as a new mom.

1) Probiotics can help significantly reduce crying time in newborns.
Gripe water was the most common solution I heard about for colic when I was a new mom, but research doesn't back up its effectiveness. Probiotics, on the other hand, have been shown to significantly reduce crying time in infants, likely because of its positive effects on the gut. "Recent research suggests colic may be linked to an immature immune system struggling with bacterial imbalances in the gastrointestinal tract, and that high levels of E. coli bacteria in particular may contribute to colic symptoms. Overall, the findings support the belief that Lactobacillus reuteri may help reduce colic symptoms by improving gut motility and function, which could reduce gas in the gastrointestinal tract and abdominal pain and cramping. At the same time, Lactobacillus reuteri appears to reduce levels of harmful E. coli." (Source) Crying time in these infants was reduced by 300 minutes a day! Incredible!

2) Early introduction of solids puts your baby at higher risk for obesity and allergies
Some pediatricians are still okaying introducing solids at four months, but new recommendations from agencies like UNICEF and the World Health Organization make it clear that introduction of solids is not recommended until six months. Check out this awesome article from KellyMom for more information on why you should hold off on introducing solids.

3) Baby's go through fussy periods at the same times, a phenomenon that has been deemed "The Wonder Weeks". Your baby will have seven of these during his first year of life and during these times he will be fussier than normal for no apparent reason. This period of unexplained grumpiness will be followed by a leap in your baby's development. More information about timing and duration of Wonder Weeks can be found here and more info about the book here. Keep in mind that the timing of Wonder Weeks is based on your baby's due date, not their birth date. 

4) Wearing your baby facing outward in a baby carrier creates an unnatural arch in their spine and also puts them at increased risk of hip dysplasia because the hips are not properly supported. To avoid this, carry your baby so that he faces your body (whether you carry him on the front of your body or the back) and make sure that his knees are in line with his hips. This picture from the International Hip Dysplasia Institute is helpful. 

You can read more about the risks of improper babywearing on their website.

5) The new healthcare legislation requires that insurance companies cover breast pumps and visits with lactation consultants. Coverage will vary between insurance companies; some are covering the purchase of a breast pump, while others only cover rentals. Call your insurance company to get more information and check out this article from the Washington Post.

6) Keeping your baby rear facing in his car seat until he is at least two years old is the safest way to go. The law only requires that you keep your baby rear facing for a year, but  the recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics states that waiting until the child is at least two years old to turn them around is much safer. A 2007 study published in Injury Prevention found that "Children up to 23 months old are about 75 percent less likely to die or sustain serious injury in a rear-facing car seat than a forward-facing one" (Source). You can find more information on the AAP recommendation here, more information on crash logistics and the science behind this recommendation here, and answers to the most common questions regarding extended rear facing here

7) Giving your baby tylenol (acetaminophen) after a vaccine may reduce its effectiveness (read more about it here). The new recommendation is to hold off on giving your child tylenol unless they get a high fever (talk to your doc about what that threshold is for your baby) or they're uncomfortable.

Moms, what would you add to this list?


  1. Great recommendations! Thanks for sharing. I agree that probiotics are a wonderful thing :)

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