Infants & Toddler Care
Congratulations you’re a parent (again)! Maybe it’s your first or your fifteenth time. For every child, Mark9 Pediatrics is that safe space where your little one can grow and thrive. An infant is a baby 0-12 months of age, while a toddler is a child 12 months until 30-33 months of age. This unique age range from birth to the middle of the third year of life is an exciting time full of lots of changes for you and your child.
Baby’s First Visit
Dr. Moemeka encourages all families to schedule baby’s first visit once you schedule your postpartum visit. You can tell the midwife or obstetrician that you’ve chosen Mark9 Pediatrics and they will help you with setting up your appointment. Dr. Moemeka will meet with you and your baby when he is 3-5 days old. This first visit is to check his weight, talk to you about your health, and go over taking care of the baby. The second newborn screen (heel stick) is also completed during this visit.
Your Baby’s Mighty Brain
Your baby’s brain is growing at one of the fastest rates it will ever grow. The first 1000 days of her life are the most important for brain development. These are the fast, fun-filled and often exhausting days of being the parent of a baby and toddler. Reading to her, making eye contact, talking and singing to her, and being reliable and responsive to her needs are all important for her brain to be healthy. Think of it as laying the foundation for a building. Those simple early interactions with your baby help her brain form connections that she will use throughout her life. It’s the beginning of her love of learning. Make these days count!
At Mark9 Pediatrics, the focus is on maintaining health. So, we call every well child visit a health maintenance visit. During these visits Dr. Moemeka partners with parents and guardians to make sure children have what they need to be as healthy as possible. Because infants and toddlers grow and change rapidly, they come in for health checks more frequently. This helps them have the best start to life. There are 6 health maintenance visits in the first year of life, and 4 as a toddler. Of course, Dr. Moemeka will see your little one more often if you have questions or concerns. Your baby and toddler will get vaccines to provide immunity during these early years before he is ever exposed to potentially life-threatening illnesses. Each dose of vaccine builds on the previous dose to offer him full protection. The types of vaccines and spacing are arranged to allow safe and effective protection. Visits during this period center around nutrition, safe sleep, active play, early literacy, and caregiver wellness.
Nutrition: Breastfeeding is the best nutrition for babies. After your baby is born, skin to skin contact is encouraged as long as you and baby are well enough for it. You can call Dr. Moemeka if you have questions about nursing or feeding your baby breastmilk. Breastfeeding success is the mantra at Mark9 Pediatrics. When breastfeeding is not an option, Dr. Moemeka can speak with you about formula choices that are best for your baby. Not all formula types are ideal for all babies, so it is good to have an understanding of your baby’s nutritional needs and how to best satisfy those needs.
Sleep: Your baby should be put to bed on his back, in a crib, with no blankets, toys, bumpers or pillows, and in your room for the first 6 months of his life. This is the safest option for every child and has been proven to decrease the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
Active Play: You may think – my newborn doesn’t play! Think again. Holding your newborn, singing and talking to her, are all ways you play with your newborn baby. Her brain is processing all these moments. As she gets bigger, she will begin to interact with you more, starting with making eye contact, smiling, cooing and soon babbling and talking. She will also begin to explore the world around her by bringing things to her mouth, sitting up, pulling up to stand, and taking those toddling steps. Safety is so important at this time because she doesn’t know what is harmful or not. She is relying on you to protect her. Childproofing is one way to protect her, but also having a first aid kit, knowing your poison control number and having an emergency plan are all important ways you protect your baby. The national Poison Control Center is available 24/7 at 800-222-1222. Ask Dr. Moemeka about how to encourage active play while keeping kids safe.
Early Literacy: You can start reading to your son or daughter while pregnant, and certainly start from birth. Take 5-10 minutes a day to read out loud to your little one. He is absorbing so many things in those moments – your tone, your words, your body language, are all teaching him about the world. As he gets older, allow him to touch the pages. Get books he can put in his mouth. Allow him to bang on cardboard books. Let him push that musical button one more time. Repetitive interaction is how children learn and understand the world.
Caregiver Wellness: At Mark9 Pediatrics, we want to support parents and caregivers through this very busy time. Dr. Moemeka will ask about emotional health, support at home, social needs like food and transportation, and nutrition and sleep. A healthy caregiver is able to pour great things into kids to help them thrive. When your health is at risk, it is difficult to take on all the demands of parenting and caring for a baby or toddler. Talk with Dr. Moemeka about how to stay healthy during this time.
Leaving your child with anyone for the first time can be emotional. When this is a step you have to take, it’s best to prepare yourself for the separation. Start by doing your research: who, what, when, how. Who is the best childcare provider for my child? What are their hours and policies? When can I start bringing my child for trial visits? How do they manage emergencies? These are just a few of the questions to ask before that first drop off. Here are some other tips.