A newborn has an entire life to learn lessons about safety and security. New moms should start their babies off on the right track by making sure their environment is as healthy and safe as possible. Often, this means preparing for a secure environment before baby is even born.
Most pediatricians recommend safety proofing the home prior to the birth of the child. This is wise even though most safety measures will not be necessary until the baby is mobile. Once baby is born, mothers are likely to be too busy or too tired to adequately cover all of the areas that need to be childproofed. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health offers excellent guidelines on how to make sure the baby’s home and environment is as safe as possible.
Perhaps even more important than safety proofing the home is making sure that the baby has a car seat that fits current safety standards. New moms should make themselves aware of the child safety seat laws. The Governors Highway Safety Association offers information about laws in each state. Infant car seats should be purchased new, as used car seats are at risk of having been damaged. They should also be properly fastened inside the vehicle prior to delivery day. In many communities, the local fire department will aid in the installation of infant car seats. Often, a pediatric nurse is also willing to insure that a new mom knows how to adequately use the car seat and carrier before she takes baby home.
Though a newborn’s safety is paramount, so too is his or her health. Moms can prepare for the basics simply by discussing health matters with the baby’s pediatrician. However, there are some specific ways new mothers can safeguard her infant’s wellness. To combat day-to-day germs, mothers should insist that anyone who holds or touches the new baby have clean hands. Asking individuals to wash their hands before holding the baby may seem awkward at first, but over time new mothers learn that most people are not fazed by the request. Moms should also be prepared for instances in which hand washing is not available. In this case, a bottle of anti-bacterial hand sanitizer can be an excellent substitute.
If a mother needs to go to a public place during the first few weeks, it is not recommended that she take baby with her; however, sometimes it simply cannot be avoided. Moms should make sure that new babies are well guarded against germs by keeping a loosely woven blanket lightly draped over the infant carrier, not allowing strangers to touch or get too close to the baby, and washing her own hands regularly.
New moms also must consider the long-term health and well being of her child, even before the baby arrives. For this reason, some moms opt to have the baby’s cord blood collected at birth for its potential to help treat certain medical conditions, should the need arise. This is known as cord blood banking. Many moms choose to breastfeed based on the fact that breast milk has been proven to combat future illnesses. All moms should make sure their health care providers see the baby on a regular basis.
Being a new mother is not easy, but with the proper amount of forethought, the baby can start his or her life happy, healthy, and secure.
By Katie Moore
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