Crying and fussinessAll babies cry, but some cry more than others. They cry when they’re hungry, bored, uncomfortable or scared. They cry when they need a diaper changed, hear a loud noise, meet a new person or for no clear reason. It does not make you a bad parent because your baby cries. It’s the main way your baby can communicate with you. But it can be very upsetting and frustrating when you can’t figure out why your baby is crying.
If your baby keeps crying, first try:
If none of these work, and she is not sick, then try:
As you get to know your baby, you’ll learn how much crying is normal for her and what you can do to soothe her. If your baby cries longer than usual, and nothing seems to be working, call your health care provider for help.
Never let anyone shake your babyTaking care of a fussy, crying baby can be very, very stressful. Sometimes, a parent or caregiver gets so frustrated and angry that they shake the baby to try and make him stop crying. A baby should never be shaken because his tiny, fragile brain may be damaged. It only takes a few seconds of shaking to cause brain damage that will never go away. Call 911 if you feel like you are losing control and are worried that you or someone else might hurt your baby.
Safe sleepEven if your baby slept on his tummy in the NICU, at home he needs to sleep on his back. Just remember “back to sleep.” Sleeping on his back lowers your baby’s chances of dying from sudden infant death syndrome (also called SIDS, the unexplained death of a baby while sleeping), also known as “crib death.” You should let your baby spend time on his stomach when he is awake and you can watch him closely. This “tummy time” is important for the baby’s muscle development.
Always use a firm, tight-fitting mattress and a fitted sheet in your baby’s crib or bassinet. Pillows, blankets, stuffed animals and crib bumpers should not be used in the crib since they can cause suffocation (when a baby cannot breathe). If it’s cool, dress your baby in a sleeper to keep warm; do not use a blanket. Keep the temperature of your baby’s room at about 67F.
Share your bedroom with your baby but not your bed. Babies should not co-sleep with their parents. Co-sleeping means that babies and parents sleep together in the same bed. Instead, put your baby to bed in his own crib or bassinet. Keep it close to your bed so your baby is nearby during the night.
HandwashingEveryone, including you and your family members, should wash their hands vigorously and thoroughly before touching your baby. Hands should be scrubbed for at least 20 seconds or the time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice from beginning to end. It’s really important to wash your hands after changing the baby’s diaper, using the bathroom, wiping another child’s nose or blowing your nose. When you wash your hands, it reduces the chances of passing germs to the baby. If you can’t wash your hands with soap and water and you can’t see any dirt on your hands, it’s OK to use hand sanitizer.
People coming to visitSince babies who have stayed in the NICU have a greater chance of getting infections than other babies, you may want to take extra steps to keep them healthy. Here are some things you can do:
This does not mean that you can’t invite people to your home. Or that you have to stay in your house for the first months after your baby comes home. It’s fine to take your baby for walks outside in nice weather and go visit friends or family members. Just make sure your baby is going to a smoke-free and illness-free environment. Talk to your health care provider about ways to keep your baby safe.
We help moms have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies. And if something goes wrong, we offer information and comfort to families. We research the problems that threaten our babies and work on preventing them.
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