Becoming a parent is a wild ride that no one can really fully prepare you for. You simply have to accept the fact that everything in your life is going to change and be willing to adapt and learn as you go. Here are a few things that you can do now to protect your baby:
Save Baby's Cord Blood
As a parent, you want to do everything that you can to protect your baby, but health issues can arise out of the blue. Saving your baby's cord blood, and even their cord tissue, is one small thing that you can do to help prepare for these kind of unforeseeable situations.
The blood that is in your baby's umbilical cord is rich with stem cells, which have the potential to help treat over 80 life-threatening diseases, from sickle-cell anemia to leukemia, lymphoma and other cancers as well as some metabolic disorders. The stem cells found in your baby's cord blood can be life-saving for them when saved, but these stem cells may also be used for life-saving measures for another family member in need.
While some hospitals participate in public cord banking programs, it is critical to invest in private cord blood banking if you want to get the full health benefits that cord blood banking can offer. While public cord blood banking is free of charge, your child's cord blood will not be saved specifically for you and your family and may be used by someone else who is a match for it before your family needs it.
Co-sleep with Your Baby
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the top cause of death among children under age 1. Sleeping in the same room as your baby can reduce the risk of SIDS by up to 50 percent, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). AAP recommends having your baby sleep in your room for the first year of life, or at least for the first six months.
AAP advises that parents give babies their own safe sleeping space in a bassinet or crib, rather than having them sleep in bed with you. Babies should sleep on a firm surface that is covered in a tight fitting sheet without any pillows or blankets. Sleeping in close proximity to your baby offers practical benefits as well, as it can make tending to baby during the middle of the night easier than if you are sleeping in different bedrooms. Finding a bassinet or crib that can help keep baby within arm's reach during sleep is ideal and can help both mom and baby get more of the precious sleep that you need. The HALO Bassinest and Arm's Reach Co-sleeper are both great options.
Track Your Baby's Vitals
As a new mom, all you think you want is a full night of sleep, but then when your infant actually does sleep for a longer than usual stretch, you may find yourself racing to check on him and make sure he's okay. Technology has come to the new mom's rescue, offering small wearable devices for babies to track their heart rate and oxygen levels, alerting parents when vital signs drop below the normal threshold.
The Owlet Smart Sock 2 is one of the most popular products in this category. Snuza and Angelcare have similar products that offer less specific metrics, monitoring overall movement instead and alerting parents when movement isn't detected in a normal range of time.
Do What You Can
If there's one thing that becoming a parent teaches you, it is how to make peace with the fact that you can't control everything. But with cord blood banking, sleeping in the same room as your baby and using a baby health tracker, you can do what you can to help ensure that your baby is healthy and safe.