As they celebrate their first Mother’s Day, many new moms will admit motherhood is wonderful but daunting at times.
The good news is they can turn to their child’s pediatrician for support, said Dr. Donna Snyder, a pediatrician with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Division of Pediatric and Maternal Health.
Parents who have questions about their child’s health, development or well-being can discuss their concerns during routine checkups with a pediatrician, Snyder said in an FDA news release. The baby’s doctor can also address urgent concerns between office visits, she noted.
The FDA provided new parents with the following five tips:
- Be cautious about medicine.
Don’t give your baby any medicine without talking to a pediatrician first. Some vitamins or over-the-counter medications might not be safe. If you don’t know how much medicine your child needs, a pediatrician can provide you with the right dose.
- Store medications properly.
All medications should be stored out of sight in a place children can’t access. “Even if babies are under the age when you’d expect them to be able to get to your medication, get into the habit of putting medication out of their reach,” Snyder warned. Also, read the storage instructions on medication packaging. “Some antibiotics need to be kept in the refrigerator,” she said.
- Don’t use a kitchen teaspoon. Give medications in the dosing device provided by your doctor or pharmacist — not a regular household spoon. This is the only way to ensure your child receives the right amount.
- Get breast-feeding advice. “If you are taking medications, it’s important to ask your health care provider whether it’s okay to breast-feed,” said Dr. Leyla Sahin, an FDA obstetrician. Some medications may pass through breast milk to your baby. This advice applies to supplements and over-the-counter drugs, too.
- Don’t neglect yourself. A healthy diet and adequate rest will better enable you to care for your newborn. “Sleep when the baby sleeps and take naps during the day,” Sahin said. Also, “if you’re a new mom feeling constantly very sad, it could be a sign of postpartum depression,” said Sahin. It’s important to talk to your doctor and receive treatment if you have these feelings. It’s also important for new moms to have a checkup with their obstetrician six weeks after delivery, Sahin said.
The first year of parenthood may not always go according to plan, noted Sahin. “Keep in mind that being a new mom is a transition period that may be stressful,” she said. “But take the time to celebrate being a new mom.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics provides more information on how to care for a newborn.