Before the birth
If you are expecting a new baby, CONGRATULATIONS on the upcoming birth of your new child. We at All For Kids share your delight at this joyous time. Even though the arrival of a new baby is a time of great excitement for a family, it is also a time of apprehension. We hope to help with some of your apprehension by helping you prepare for this wonderful, yet challenging time.
The first thing to realize about childbirth is that it is a natural process. Even though deliveries are usually done in a hospital, it does not mean that pregnancy is an illness. Quite the contrary, pregnant women on the whole are quite healthy as are their babies. The reason deliveries are done in the hospital is to take care of rare complications which can occur with childbirth. Most births could be safely accomplished at home. Being in the hospital at the time of birth is insurance against the rare potential of a complication.
Unfortunately, most first time parents are so fearful about the upcoming delivery and all of the possible complications that they lose much of the joy which could have been theirs at the time of birth. We urge you to experience the birth process for what is is; the giving of life. We hope that you will experience the joy and wonder that God intended when He designed how life was to be given. Our advice to you is to relax, do what your doctor advises and take care of yourself. We find it helpful to think of the delivery as you would a workout. After all, labor is all about pushing and that is a physical workout! Don’t let irrational fear rob you of the experience of bringing your child into the world. You’ll treasure these moments for the rest of you life.
Your Baby’s Doctor: An Important Decision
Deciding who will care for your child’s health needs is a decision that you should give a consideration amount of thought and attention to. Your baby’s doctor will make decisions which could impact your child for life. Therefore, you should carefully make this decision. We recommend that you find a doctor who is well trained in the care of children. We feel that this person should probably be a pediatrician, a person with advanced training the in the treatment of infants, children and young adults. Pediatricians are not all alike. You should look for a doctor with good training, a good reputation and one with a personality with which you are comfortable. It is a good idea to visit the pediatrician you are considering prior to the delivery to make sure that your choice is a good one for you. At our clinic we welcome such visits and make no charge for them. You can meet our physicians by clicking here. We are all trained in pediatrics, board certified and experienced in pediatric health care.
Decisions you will need to make prior to the delivery
There are two important decisions concerning your newborn baby which you will need to make prior to delivery. These relate to how you will feed your baby and whether you will have your boy circumcised.
Feeding: How you will feed your baby is an important decision which you should carefully make after some thought. We enthusiastically recommend breast feeding for our newborn patients. Breast feeding has many advantages. The most important advantage of breast feeding is the strong boost in immunity that breast feeding affords. White blood cells, antibodies, and other mediators of immunity are passed to the baby during breast feeding. This provides protection against infectious disease during the critical first few months of a baby’s life when immunity is naturally low. Although there is no guarantee, illness is rare in breast fed infants. Additionally, breast feeding also helps protect against the development of allergies and the development of colic (crying).
Breast milk is the most nutritionally complete food that is available for babies. The nutrients are in the right concentrations and in the right form for maximum growth. This concept is called bio-availability. This is exemplified by iron that is contained in breast milk and formula. Breast milk contains only a small amount of iron. However, almost always, that small amount of iron is all that is needed for the baby because 50% of the iron in breast milk is absorbed. On the other hand, iron in formula is less than 1% absorbed by the baby. Therefore, formula must have a much higher concentration of iron than breast milk for the baby to absorb enough iron to meet their growth needs. Babies would be iron deficient and anemic if formula had the same amount of iron in it that breast milk does. In addition, iron is constipating and irritating to a baby’s stomach and intestines. No wonder breast fed babies are more contented than formula fed babies. They are exposed to less irritating iron in their gastro-intestinal tract. This is just one example of the superior aspects of breast milk and the bio-availability of nutrients. The nutrients are presented to the baby in a way that they can easily absorb them. Infant formulas are our attempts to copy this most complete food for babies. At the present infant formula is far inferior to breast milk for optimum health in your child.
In addition, to breast feeding having anti-infectious factors and being nutritionally complete, it also promotes closer emotional bonds between the parents and the baby. Most breast feeding mothers feel that they are giving their babies a part of themselves which helps develop more satisfying relationships. We call this bonding.
Breast milk is readily available, pre-warmed and cheap. At the time of birth, breast feeding helps the uterus contract so that mother loses less blood than if she didn’t breast feed. It also decreases the abdominal size of the woman faster than if she weren’t breast feeding. Breast feeding utilizes about 800 calories per day of maternal nutrients, which helps a mother lose the weight that she gained during the pregnancy.
The list goes on and on. In summary, breast feeding is the optimal way to feed your baby. We hope that you will give it a great deal of consideration.
Circumcision: Whether of not to circumcise your newborn boy is also a decision which you should make prior to delivery. Newborn circumcisions are not done after the first month of life. Therefore, this decision must be made prior to this time. There has been conflicting advice given by the medical profession regarding circumcision in the past few years. This has occurred because of differing opinions on the subject within the profession which probably stem from bias. Let us summarize some of the pros and cons to circumcision.
The advantages of circumcision relate to the fact that circumcision protects against certain medical problems. Urinary tract infections are 10 to 20 times more common in the first year of life in uncircumcised males than in circumcised males. Those urinary tract infections which occur tend to be severe with a propensity to scar the kidneys. Circumcision also protects against cancer of the penis which occurs in about 1 in 500 uncircumcised males. Circumcision helps prevent bacterial infections of the foreskin called balanitis. It also prevents the need to perform a therapeutic circumcision later in life.
The disadvantages of circumcision primarily involve complications and pain. Complications of circumcision include infection at the circumcision site and very rarely blood infections. Bleeding, inadequate circumcision, meatitis (scarring of the tip of the penis with resultant small penile opening) and penile skin bridges (a skin connection formed between the penis and remaining foreskin) can also happen. Complications are generally minor and easily corrected. Newborn boys do feel pain. Anesthesia is available for circumcision. Lastly, there are no long term psychological consequences to the pain of circumcision.
Circumcision is a decision that parents need to make. Circumcision and the decision not to circumcise are both very valid choices for your little boy.
Helpful supplies for the care of the newborn:
- Alcohol to clean the umbilical cord
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Baby wipes
- Thermometer (a digital rectal thermometer)
- Nasal aspirator (bulb syringe)
- Saline drops
- A and D ointment or Vaseline
- Warm baby clothes which cover the majority of the baby’s skin surface
- Car seat
Recommended book on breastfeeding:
The Nursing Mother’s Companion by Kathleen Huggins