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After the Baby Arrives

After your baby arrives, there’s a lot to think about.

Click on the following links to learn more about how to help keep you and your baby healthy and safe, as well as learn about certain birth defects and medical conditions.

Health

Breastfeeding: You and your baby gain many benefits from breastfeeding. Breast milk is easy to digest and has antibodies that can protect your baby from bacterial and viral infections.

Proper Handling and Storage of Breast Milk: Safely prepare and store your expressed breast milk to maintain its high quality and keep your baby healthy. Make sure your baby’s caregivers know how to safely prepare and store the breast milk, too.

Breastfeeding and Medication: If you’re breastfeeding, you might worry about whether to take medications, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and dietary or herbal supplements. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about any medications you are taking.

Breastfeeding and Travel: Travel need not be a reason to stop breastfeeding. A mother traveling with a nursing infant may find breastfeeding makes travel easier than it would be if traveling with a bottle-fed infant. Find helpful tips for traveling while breastfeeding, and learn about vaccinations for international travel.

Breastfeeding and HIV: If you have HIV, don't breastfeed. The virus is in breastmilk, and you can give HIV to your baby by breastfeeding.

Jaundice and Kernicterus: Jaundice can sometimes lead to brain damage in newborns. Before leaving the hospital, ask your doctor or nurse about a jaundice bilirubin test. If you think your baby has jaundice, call and visit your baby’s doctor right away.

Photo: family

Vaccinations: Vaccines are very important to your baby’s health. Follow the schedule found at this link to be sure your baby gets his or her shots on time. And if you miss any, check with your doctor about getting back on track

Parent's Guide to Childhood Vaccinations: This booklet tells about 13 childhood diseases and the 9 vaccines that can protect your baby from them.

Newborn Screening: Within 48 hours of your baby’s birth, a sample of blood is taken from a "heel stick," and the blood is tested for treatable diseases. More than 98% of all children born in the United States are tested for these disorders.

Your baby should be screened for hearing loss before 1 month of age, preferably before leaving the birth hospital. Learn more about newborn hearing screening and what happens if your baby doesn’t pass the screening test.

Smoking: StayQuitMoms is a free online program available for women who already quit smoking for pregnancy, and who want to improve their ability to stay smoke-free after their baby is born. Top of Page

Safety

Child Medication Safety:  Every year, one out of every 150 two-year-olds is treated in an emergency department for an accidental medication overdose. Find tips for keeping all medications up and away and out of sight of young children.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): SIDS is the sudden death of an infant younger than 1 year of age that cannot be explained. Learn how to help your baby stay safe.

Child Safety Seats: Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among children in the United States. But many of these deaths can be prevented. Placing your baby in age- and size-appropriate restraint system lowers the risk of serious and fatal injuries by more than half.

Travel: An estimated 1.9 million children travel overseas each year. Learn how to travel safely with your baby within the country and internationally.

Fire Safety: Find tips to help prevent injury or death from a fire in your home.

Child maltreatment is a serious problem that can have lasting harmful effects on a child’s life. Find some strategies to help prevent child maltreatment. Top of Page

Development

Child Development: The early years of a child's life are crucial for learning, social, and emotional development. Learn what you can do to ensure that your child grows up in an environment that meets his or her needs.

Photo: child playing with blocksPositive Parenting Tips for Babies: Learn how to give your baby a healthy and safe start in the first year of life.

Learn the Signs. Act Early. Measuring your baby’s growth involves more than tracking height and weight. Learn about milestones to watch for in how your baby plays, learns, speaks, and acts.

Positive Actions for Parents: Good parenting is a skill that takes time, commitment, and support. By caring and nurturing, parents can teach children and other parents strategies to give our children a safer and more healthful environment. Top of Page

Medical Conditions

Birth Defects: A birth defect is a problem that happens while the baby is developing in the mother’s body. Most birth defects happen during the first 3 months of pregnancy.

Developmental Disabilities: Developmental disabilities are a diverse group of severe, lasting conditions that are caused by mental or physical problems, or both. Find out more about autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, hearing loss, intellectual disability (i.e., mental retardation), and vision impairment.

Genetics: If your baby was born with a genetic condition, you might want to find a genetic counselor in your area to help with information, resources, and support.

Blood Disorders: CDC works to prevent and reduce complications among people with certain blood disorders (bleeding disorders, hemophilia, von Willebrand disease, thrombophilia, and thalassemia). Top of Page

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