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Handle with Care

Answers to a bundle of baby questions

Maryann Bouche | Mar 22, 2012, 9:42 a.m.

Questions and babies go together like the snaps on those handy onesies tops. But, of course, when it comes to babies, few things are as simple as those onesies.

It doesn’t take long for new parents to realize that a newborn is ever changing. Every baby is different, yet common questions do arise at the doctor’s office. Below are some of the top concerns parents ask two local pediatricians: Angela Baker-Franckowiak, M.D., at the Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin’s Plank Road Clinic in Wauwatosa; and Cheryl Dominski, M.D., at the Aurora Advanced Healthcare South 76th Street Clinic in Milwaukee.

FAQS birth to six months

Sleeping: “For the first two to three months, babies sometimes do not like to fall asleep lying flat,” notes Dr. Baker. Parents could let the baby sleep strapped into a car seat, portable sleeper with inclined seat, baby swing or bouncy seat, she says. “Some bouncers even have vibration, which can help some babies sleep,” she adds. To keep baby safe, parents need to follow the products’ guidelines regarding weight and age limits.

Dr. Baker adds that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises parents to place babies on their backs to sleep and to never use sleep positioners, pillows, stuffed animals, heavy blankets or other soft or puffy items in babies' cribs. Soft bedding can end up over an infant’s face, blocking the child’s breathing. The AAP also does not support sharing a bed, citing the risk for suffocation. “If you want to keep your infant close at night, place the baby in a Pack ‘n Play by the bed,” Dr. Baker suggests.

Putting your little one into the crib while awake and drowsy will help the baby learn to fall asleep on his own. “If you rock him until he falls asleep, he will get used to that and it will be hard for him to go back to sleep when waking up during the night,” she says.

After a baby is three-to-four months old and definitely by six months, it is okay to let her fuss a bit before falling back asleep to help her learn to self-soothe. But, despite what Grandma may say, you won’t spoil a baby that is under six months by responding to the infant’s cries.

Colic: Most babies have some degree of colic between the ages of three weeks and three months. If the baby is fussy, parents can try over-the-counter remedies, such as infant gas drops (simethicone) or gripe water.

“Try holding the baby in different positions,” Dr. Baker says. “Droning sounds, such as a vacuum, soothes some; or buckle the baby into the car seat and place the seat on top of the dryer— that may have just the right amount of vibrations.”

Parents sometimes think the baby formula is to blame, but the doctor urges parents not to change formulas without calling their doctor first. “Switching can cause an upset stomach, which will lead to more fussiness. The crying is usually due to colic, not allergies,” she notes.

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