Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5

Front Cover
From the American Academy of Pediatrics, the most up-to-date, expert advice for mothers, fathers, and care providers

All parents want to provide the very best care for their children. This essential resource from the most respected organization on child health is the one guide pediatricians routinely recommend and parents can safely trust, covering everything from preparing for childbirth to toilet training to nurturing your child's self-esteem. Whether it's resolving common childhood health problems or detailed instructions for coping with emergency medical situations, this new and revised edition ofCaring for Your Baby and Young Child has everything you need:

• a review of necessary basic care from infancy through age five
• milestones for physical, emotional, social, and cognitive growth, including red flags for preventing obesity
• a complete health encyclopedia covering injuries, illnesses, congenital diseases, and other disabilities
• guidelines for prenatal and newborn care, with spotlights on maternal nutrition, exercise, and screening tests during pregnancy
• an in-depth discussion of breastfeeding, including its benefits, techniques, and challenges, as well as nutritional needs and vitamin/iron supplementation
• updated safety standards: the very latest AAP recommendations, from CPR instruction and immunizations to childproofing tips and product and toy safety
• tips for choosing child care programs and car safety seats
• ways to reduce your child's exposure to environmental hazards, such as air pollution and secondhand smoke
• the latest reports on cutting-edge research into early brain development
• updated content dedicated to sleep and allergies (including food allergies)
• new chapter on the effects of media and technology exposure on children
• special messages for grandparents and stepfamilies
• and much more

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ArcticLlama - LibraryThing

A big fat book from the American Academy of Pediatrics gets four stars from me because I simply haven't found anything better, although I'm not a huge fan, I find it to be trustworthy and fairly ... Read full review

Caring for your baby and young child: birth to age 5

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Subject to extensive review by Academy members, this handbook on the early years of a child's life is comprehensive, authoritative, and interesting. In section 1, chapters divided according to ... Read full review


Preparing for a New Baby
Getting the Best Prenatal Care
Choosing a Pediatrician
Urinary Tract Infections
Preparing Your Home and Family for
Birth and
Supplementation for Breastfed
Your Babys First Days
Cystic Fibrosis
Diabetes Mellitus
HIV Infection and AIDS
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Cerebral Palsy
Congenital Condition

Parenting Issues
Health Watch
The First Month
Basic Care
Hearing and Making Sounds
Basic Care
Immunization Update
Basic Care
Health Watc
Basic Care
Anger Aggression and Biting
Coping with Disasters and Terrorism 580
Temper Tantrums
Visit to the Pediatrician
Basic Care
Wetting Problems or Enuresis
Visit to the Pediatrician
Keeping Your child Safe
Garage and Basement
Safety Outside the Home
In the Community
Ears Nose and Throat
Swimmers Ear External Otitis
Emergencies 683
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
Electric Shock
Family issues
Sibling Rivalry
Multiples 758
Genital and Urinary
Urethral Valves
Head Neck and Nervous
Head Tilt Torticollis
HypertensionHigh Blood Pressure
Musculoskeletal Problems
Flat FeetFallen Arches
Birthmarks and Hemangiomas
Scarlet Fever
Your Childs Sleep
Daytime Nap Evolution

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2014)

Chapter 1

Preparing for a New Baby

PREGNANCY IS A TIME of anticipation, excitement, preparation, and, for many new parents, uncertainty. You dream of a baby who will be strong, healthy, and bright--and you make plans to provide her with everything she needs to grow and thrive. You probably also have fears and questions, especially if this is your first child, or if there have been problems with this or a previous pregnancy. What if something goes wrong during the course of your pregnancy, or what if labor and delivery are difficult? What if being a parent isn''t everything you''ve always dreamed it would be? These are perfectly normal feelings and fears to have. Fortunately, most of these worries are needless. The nine months of pregnancy will give you time to have your questions answered, calm your fears, and prepare yourself for the realities of parenthood.

Some of your initial concerns may have been raised and addressed if you had difficulty becoming pregnant, particularly if you sought treatment for an infertility problem. But now that you''re pregnant, preparations for your new baby can begin. The best way to help your baby develop is to take good care of yourself, since medical attention and good nutrition will directly benefit your baby''s health. Getting plenty of rest and exercising moderately will help you feel better and ease the physical stresses of pregnancy. Talk to your physician about prenatal vitamins, and avoid smoking, alcohol, and eating fish containing high levels of mercury.

As pregnancy progresses, you''re confronted with a long list of related decisions, from planning for the delivery to decorating the nursery. You probably have made many of these decisions already. Perhaps you''ve postponed some others because your baby doesn''t yet seem "real" to you. However, the more actively you prepare for your baby''s arrival, the more real that child will seem, and the faster your pregnancy will appear to pass.

Eventually it may seem as if your entire life revolves around this baby-to-be. This increasing preoccupation is perfectly normal and healthy and actually may help prepare you emotionally for the challenge of parenthood. After all, you''ll be making decisions about your child for the next two decades--at least! Now is a perfect time to start.

Here are some guidelines to help you with the most important of these preparations.

Giving Your Baby a Healthy Start

Virtually everything you consume or inhale while pregnant will be passed through to the fetus. This process begins as soon as you conceive. In fact, the embryo is most vulnerable during the first two months, when the major body parts (arms, legs, hands, feet, liver, heart, genitalia, eyes, and brain) are just starting to form. Chemical substances such as those in cigarettes, alcohol, illegal drugs, and certain medications can interfere with the developmental process and with later development, and some can even cause congenital abnormalities.

Take smoking, for instance. If you smoke cigarettes during pregnancy, your baby''s birth weight may be significantly decreased. Even inhaling smoke from the cigarettes of others (passive smoking) can affect your baby. Stay away from smoking areas and ask smokers not to light up around you. If you smoked before you got pregnant and still do, this is the time to stop--not just until you give birth, but forever. Children who grow up in a home where a parent smokes have more ear infections and more respiratory problems during infancy and early childhood. They also have been shown to be more likely to smoke when they grow up.

There''s just as much concern about alcohol consumption. Alcohol intake during pregnancy increases the risk for a condition called fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), which is responsible for birth defects and below-average intelligence. A baby with fetal alcohol syndrome may have heart defects, malformed limbs (e.g., club foot), a curved spine, a small head, abnormal facial characteristics, small body size, and low birth weight. Fetal alcohol syndrome is also the leading cause of mental retardation in newborns. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy increases the likelihood of a miscarriage or preterm delivery, as well.

There is evidence that the more alcohol you drink during pregnancy, the greater the risk to the fetus. It is safest not to drink any alcoholic beverages during pregnancy.

You also should avoid all medications and supplements except those your physician has specifically recommended for use during pregnancy. This includes not only prescription drugs that you may have already been taking, but also nonprescription or over-the-counter products such as aspirin, cold medications, and antihistamines. Even vitamins can be dangerous if taken in high doses. (For example, excessive amounts of vitamin A have been known to cause congenital [existing from birth] abnormalities.) Consult with your physician before taking drugs or supplements of any kind during pregnancy, even those labeled "natural."

Fish and shellfish contain high-quality protein and other essential nutrients, are low in saturated fat, and contain fatty acids called omega-3s. They can be an essential part of a balanced diet for pregnant women.

At the same time, you should be aware of the possible health risks from eating fish while you''re pregnant. You should avoid raw fish during pregnancy because it may contain parasites such as flukes or worms. Cooking and freezing are the most effective ways to kill the parasite larvae found in fish. For safety reasons, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends cooking fish at 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius). The fish should appear opaque and flaky when done. Certain types of cooked sushi such as eel and California rolls are safe to eat when pregnant.

The most worrisome contaminant in both freshwater and ocean fish is mercury (or more specifically, a form of mercury called methyl mercury). Mercury in a pregnant woman''s diet has been shown to be damaging to the development of the brain and nervous system of the fetus. The FDA advises pregnant women, women who may become pregnant, nursing mothers, and young children to avoid eating shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and title fish due to high levels of mercury in these fish. According to the FDA, pregnant women can safely eat an average of 12 ounces (two average meals) of other types of cooked fish each week. Five of the most commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish. Albacore tuna tends to be high in mercury, so canned chunk light tuna is a better choice. If local health agencies have not issued any advisories about the safety of fish caught in your area, you can eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) per week of fish you catch from local waters, but don''t consume any other fish during that week.

While no adverse effects from minimal caffeine intake (one cup of caffeinated coffee per day) have yet been proven, you may want to limit or avoid caffeine when you are pregnant. Remember, caffeine is also found in many soft drinks and foods such as chocolate.

Another cause of congenital abnormalities is illness during pregnancy. You should take precautions against these dangerous diseases:

German measles (rubella) can cause mental retardation, heart abnormalities, cataracts, and deafness, with the highest risk of these problems occurring in the first twenty weeks of pregnancy. Fortunately, this illness now can be prevented by immunization, although you must not get immunized against rubella during pregnancy. If you''re not sure whether you''re immune, ask your obstetrician to order a blood test for you. In the unlikely event that the test shows you''re not immune, you must do your best to avoid sick children, especially during the first three months of your pregnancy. It is then recommended that you receive this immunization after giving birth to prevent this same concern in the future.

Chickenpox is particularly dangerous if contracted shortly before delivery. If you have not already had chickenpox, avoid anyone with the disease or anyone recently exposed to the disease. You also should receive the preventive vaccine when you are not pregnant.

Herpes is an infection that newborns can get at the time of birth. Most often, it occurs as the infant moves through the birth canal of a mother infected with genital herpes. Babies who get a herpes viral infection may develop fluid-filled blisters on the skin that can break and then crust over. A more serious form of the disease can progress into a severe and potentially fatal inflammation of the brain called encephalitis. When a herpes infection occurs, it is often treated with an antiviral medication called acyclovir. For the last month of pregnancy, your doctor may advise taking a recommended dose of acyclovir or valacyclovir to reduce the risk of an outbreak close to the time of delivery. If you have an outbreak or feel symptoms of one coming on during your delivery time, a Cesarean section (or C-section) may be recommended to decrease the risk of exposure to the baby.

Toxoplasmosis may be a danger for cat owners. This illness is caused by a parasitic infection common in cats, but much more often it is found in uncooked meat and fish. Take care that meat is cooked thoroughly prior to consumption, and avoid tasting meat (even while seasoning) before cooking. Wash all cutting boards and knives thoroughly with hot soapy water after each use. Wash and/or peel all fruits and vegetables before eating them. When it comes to infected animals, outdoor cats are far more likely to contract toxoplasmosis. These cats excrete a form of the toxopl