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Pediatrician offers infant feeding tips

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New parents often feel overwhelmed with how to care for their newborn. The new mom is exhausted after the delivery process, and often is out the hospital doors on the next day. She and the new dad are overwhelmed with how to properly care for this small person. A major issue is feeding. Fortunately, pediatricians are well equipped to provide advice; thus, I consulted with pediatrician, media host, author, and syndicated columnist, Dr. Susan Hubbard, also known as The Kid’s Doctor.

I mentioned that the current policy of hospital discharge, often one day after delivery, leaves little time for education. Dr. Hubbard explained that the current American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations stress a newborn exam within 24 to 48 hours of discharge. At this visit, Dr. Hubbard notes that the new mom often expresses concerns about proper feeding. She encourages the new mom to “hang in there” because “it’s really hard to screw up.” She notes that the fussiness is usually not a problem during the first two weeks after birth; however, problems with spitting up and gas set in after that. One issue for the frazzled mom is the colicky baby. She first reassures the mom that it is not her fault and discusses methods that will help including changing the formula. She notes that helpful tips are available at similac.com. If the mother is breastfeeding, Dr. Hubbard discusses the mom’s diet as a possible source of the problem.

Dr. Hubbard notes that, for infants with feeding problems, things often settle down at about eight weeks. At that time, the baby’s intestinal function improves, and the baby begins to smile. She notes that this has a magical parental calming effect. Dr. Hubbard stresses that there is no universal method for infant care and that the pediatrician needs to work out an individualized plan for each mom.

I raised the issue that in today’s medical climate, time constraints are often in place. De. Hubbard acknowledged that problem and noted that she and her colleagues try their best to provide needed information. She advises against blanket acceptance of advice and friends. A better alternative, is respected websites, such as the Similac website and her website, kidsdr.com.

Another issue Dr. Hubbard’s patients raise is when to begin supplements to formula or breast mild. She noted that feeding cereal with the goal of the baby sleeping through the night is a myth. She, and the AAP, recommend introducing solid foods at about five to six months when the baby is able to sit up in a high chair and be fed. She also recommends an iron-fortified cereal. Initially, the baby just needs to get used to the texture and flavor of the foods, calories are not a concern at this time. After the baby develops a taste for cereal, fruits, meats, and vegetables can be introduced. She recommends introducing a new food every two-to-three days. At about eight to nine months of age the new baby should be on a routine of consuming a healthy variety of solid foods and formula or breast milk can be tapered off. Not uncommonly, Dr. Hubbard notes that the parents have poor dietary choices. In this case, part of her job is to educate them in regard to a healthy diet.

In summary, Dr. Hubbard notes that parenting is not a competition and every baby is different. She notes that it is bad parental practice to compare children; thus, it is best to make every effort to avoid doing so.

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