Dear Expectant Parents
Congratulations! Having a baby is an exciting new adventure. It's full of love, excitement and happiness, but also sleepless nights and worry. Below are some tips to help you prepare for the birth of your baby and to help manage your hormones and exhaustion.
While preparing for your little bundle of joy's arrival, here are some things we recommend you do:
- Find a pediatrician – While a nursery hospitalist may see your baby when they are born, you need to establish a pediatrician for follow-ups once you leave the hospital. Every child needs a pediatrician to monitor growth and development, administer vaccinations, and evaluate your child when he or she is sick. It is important to choose one before the baby arrives so that you can follow up two to three days after discharge. In some cases, babies may need a follow up one day after discharge due to weight and feeding issues or other concerns.
- Follow your OB recommendations – If you are prescribed a treatment, please take it. It is not just for your benefit, but your baby's. Certain infections can spread from mom to baby. High blood pressure can affect your baby's nutrition in utero. Poorly controlled diabetes can lead to your baby having blood sugar issues when he or she is born. Talk with your OB about signs of labor and when to come in. Don't wait to come to the hospital when your water breaks; if your water breaks and you wait too long, it can increase the risk of infection in baby.
- Get your car seat installed properly- Make sure the car seat is installed before the baby arrives. Newborn car seats should be in the back seat and facing the rear. Children should remain rear facing until at least 2 years or the max weight recommended on the car seat. Click here for instructions on car seat installation.
- Sleeping arrangements - When your baby arrives, make sure they have their own sleeping space, whether it's a crib, pack and play, bassinet or even a basket with padding. If you are having multiple babies, they should not be sleeping in the same sleeping area/crib, due to risk of suffocation.
- Necessities- Diapers (not just newborn size!), wipes and diaper cream are all important. Make sure you have a rectal thermometer (ones that glow in the dark are super helpful when you're groggy at night!).
- Things to bring to the hospital – Extra clothes and toiletries, but also mitts or socks for the baby (they like to claw their face!) and an extra onesie or two. Don't forget your phone charger because you're going to take a lot of pictures and spend time talking to family and friends! Also bring your home breast pump, so that the lactation nurses can help you.
Refer to your OB and your pediatrician for further guidance and be careful what you read on the internet. There are many sources that are not backed by medical evidence and can give poor advice. If you are looking for resources, check out HealthyChildren.org, which is backed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. We wish you the best during your pregnancy and as you welcome your baby to the world!
Kym Middleton, MD, Pediatric Hospital at Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children
Dr. Kym Middleton was born and raised in Huntsville, AL. She loves dancing and was a competitive figure skater up until she graduated from Grissom High School. She attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham for her undergraduate studies and medical school training. After graduation, Dr. Middleton went to Greenville, SC, to complete her residency in Pediatrics. She loved it so much she stayed an additional year to serve as Chief Resident and Associate Faculty. In 2018, she moved back to Huntsville to work as a Pediatric Hospitalist and marry her childhood crush, who she had reconnected with while in residency. Her passions include child advocacy, complex care medicine and teaching. Since being back in Huntsville, Dr. Middleton has been involved with the Huntsville-Madison County Library and the National Children's Advocacy Center and loves supporting local organizations and businesses. She is currently serving as a District Representative for the American Academy of Pediatrics as well. In her free time she enjoys puzzling, reading, drawing and painting, and spending time with her husband, Geoffrey, and their sweet dog, Bear...