Every mother has felt that sense of dread after taking her baby’s temperature and realizing “uh oh, there’s a fever”. Let’s talk about fevers in infants and children and what you should do.
First, make sure you have a thermometer in the house. This can be a plain digital thermometer or a fancier temporal or tympanic thermometer. A digital thermometer can be used rectally or axillary (under the arm). They are accurate and easy to use. Do not use a tympanic (ear) thermometer on a baby under 1-yr old. They have proven to be inaccurate and accuracy counts in a small baby. Temporal (scanning the forehead) thermometers have been found to be fairly accurate, easy to use, but are more expensive. Learn what your baby’s normal temperature is by checking it several times when they are well. You need to feel comfortable with taking a temperature and know what your baby’s normal range is. Normal range for an infant is 97.5 – 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Continue reading
Many a new mother has asked me about newborn bowel habits. In fact, it is probably the question I am asked the most, bar none. I frequently get frantic calls from new mothers whose baby has not had a bowel movement for 24 hours. So, let’s talk poop!!
Newborns have bowel movements that vary in behavior. The first few days, they are ridding their colon of a black, sticky substance called meconium. This is very normal. It is a black, tarry looking substance and is very sticky. This is the substance that fills their intestines while they are in the womb. It is hard to clean up and does not rub off easily. After the first couple of days, you should see what are called “transitional stools”, which are still dark in color, but are slowly becoming looser, easier to wipe off their little bottoms and maybe with a few yellow seeds in them. These can vary in color from very dark brown, to green and may have spots of yellow in them.
The advent of the “Back to Sleep” program in 1994 recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has greatly decreased the incidence of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) by teaching parents to always place babies on their backs while they sleep. This has been a life-saving program. It has actually decreased the cases of SIDS by more than 50%! But parents were misinterpreting and believing that they could no longer lay infants on their tummy even while awake. So in 1996 the AAP came out with another recommendation that infants get daily, supervised playtime on their stomachs. Thus, the term Tummy Time was created. Continue reading