Here it is, the big day. You are bringing your beautiful bundle of joy home for the first time. Your emotions are everywhere—euphoric, nervous, exhausted and fully cognizant that you have now entered fantastically uncharted territory.
As a pediatrician and a parent, I’ve found that sharing educational information about how your little one uniquely experiences and adjusts to the world around them, both developmentally and physically, can be quite soothing for parents (especially during the many sleepless nights in the beginning!)
And now, as you’re armed with a mountain of environmentally “gentle” diapers, a fabulous crib dressed in nicer linens than you’ve had on your own bed and more onesies than triplets could wear in a year, you sit and stare endlessly at every breath little Emma takes. But wait, your sweet little girl snorts like a baby pig when she breathes. Nearly every new parent nervously asks this question on their initial doctor visit, “Emma sounds so congested. Does she have a cold or did she inherit my allergies?” The answer is simple: Don’t be alarmed because newborns breathe very differently than us. They are “obligate” or “preferred” nose breathers until the first three to five months of life which amplifies their erratic breath sounds. These “noises” are heightened when nursing or bottle feeding because the act of feeding requires a sustained sucking motion.
Fortunately, at this tender age, she isn’t (yet) allergic to your old, grouchy cat and a newborn that experiences alternating periods of active feeding, quiet alertness and content sleep is unlikely ill. Keep in mind that she was “breathing” mucus-filled amniotic fluid inside the womb and she hasn’t learned how to blow her nose yet! But, if Emma is unable to sustain feeding for at least several minutes every couple of hours or turns a dusky color when she feeds, a call to your pediatrician is in order.
Now, it’s time to try out that fancy new crib.
All the best and welcome to the world Little One!
“Dr. TJ Gold is a NY pediatrician who devotes her life to health of children, with a special focus on nutrition and safety. She spent several years as a network television news and medical reporter before following her dream to become a pediatrician. She attended the University of California at Berkeley, Ross University School of Medicine and completed her pediatric internship and residency training at the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Children’s Hospital. Dr. Gold worked in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Columbia University Medical Center before joining our practice in 2008. She’s happily married to her architect husband, Kevin, and they have a daughter named Emerson Grace (they like to call her “E.G.G.”). Dr. Gold lives in the Park Slope area of Brooklyn, New York.”
These posts not intending to provide or substitute medical advice or apply universally to the situations of every child, especially children with special needs or premature babies.