5 Things Your Pediatrician Wants You to Know
Being a first time parent can be nerve wracking, sleep depriving and downright confusing. Is it not amazing that your most valuable “investments” in the future (i.e., your children) do not come with an instruction manual? While the stork doesn’t deliver a how-to guide along with your little bundle of joy, Dr. Daniel Gershon of Lee’s Summit Physicians sheds some light on five common concerns among first-time parents so they can breathe a bit easier.
Out with the Bumper Pad. When it comes to your baby’s sleep zone, repeat the minimalist mantra: less is more. Mind you, this has nothing to do with designer style or keeping a budget. It’s a matter of safety. Bumper pads serve no purpose or benefit to your baby and can become a strangulation hazard and a concern for SIDS.
Acrocyanosis. It is not uncommon for newborns to have a purple or reddish tint to their extremities (and in baby boys, their genitalia) soon after birth due to acrocyanosis, a condition caused by slow circulation in a baby’s inexperienced regulatory system. This is nothing to be alarmed about and should disappear within the first few weeks of life.
The Soft Spot. Many parents are overly concerned about the soft spot on the top of their baby’s head. This spot serves an important role, as it gives baby’s head flexibility during delivery and accommodates brain growth during the first year and a half. An area that has the ability to pulse with baby’s heartbeat and bulge when baby strains gives the illusion of being incredibly fragile and untouchable. However, the soft spot is surprisingly well-protected by a sturdy membrane that closes sometime around a baby’s 19th month. Contact with it is unavoidable whether you’re washing your little one’s scalp at bath time or giving a pre-bedtime massage. The key is to handle with care, as you would any part of a delicate newborn.
Lazy Eyes. Your baby’s eyes take in the world around him, but unlike some of his other senses, his sight may develop more slowly. It may take up to eight months for him to see as well as you do. At birth, your little one will not be able to see much farther than a foot away, making his favorite object your face. This is a wonderful time for you and your child to connect! If you notice that baby’s eyes are wandering or even crossing a bit, don’t worry. A baby’s ability to track with both eyes is a newfound skill that develops over the course of the first few months. Until then, it is not uncommon for your baby to have what might appear to be a lazy eye.
Spitting Up. Spitting up is inevitable for most babies. Some babies are relentless spitters, while others periodically surprise you when you least expect it. All fall in the range of normal as long as your baby is what Dr. Gershon refers to as a “happy spitter,” meaning your baby is generally happy, shows no signs of discomfort and is healthfully gaining weight. If this is the case, there is no need for concern. Signs of trouble are projectile vomiting or instances of your baby’s appearing to be in pain.
Parenting is a learn-as-you-go vocation, so new parents should ask a lot of questions. Finding a pediatrician that is not only open but eager to address any issues of concern that you might have for your baby is key. Come to your baby’s exams prepared with any questions you have (remember to jot them down) and then BREATHE!
Lauren Greenlee is ever thankful her boys have a great pediatrician because they are nothing like the textbooks said they would be! She & her family reside in Olathe.