Let's be honest; a new baby in the house is stressful. I don't know a new parent who doesn't fall somewhere on the spectrum between mild anxiety and a "complete freak-out". At the heart of that stress are questions--lots of them.
Until recently, there were two main answer sources: First, the all-knowing internet. One of my favorite comics shows a doctor telling a patient, "Maybe you'll start feeling better when you stop reading WebMD!" Parents comb through article after article, working themselves into a frightened tizzy. Is it a bad diaper rash or bacterial meningitis? And so they try the second source: the pediatrician. Unfortunately, the anxiety doesn't stop there. With most pediatricians, there's a call->page->callback system, which means a wait. Then there's the concern of "bothering" the pediatrician: should I really be asking my pediatrician about milk supply?
I felt this anxiety firsthand with my own two kids, which is part of why I was excited to see an innovative "third way" starting up. Pacify is a mobile application that parents can use to video chat instantly with nurses, pediatric nutritionists and lactation consultants. The experts on the network are pros, averaging 20+ years of experience in their fields. Having now worked for the company for about a year (Disclaimer - I've been helping build that expert network!), I can say that it's the perfect compromise: on-demand like Google, but high-quality and tailored like an office visit.
A cool benefit of my work with Pacify is that I've gathered data on the most frequently asked questions from parents. I thought I'd share what I've learned, along with snippets from expert answers:
Is my baby latched correctly?
Answer: If breastfeeding hurts, probably not. The first line of defense is to re-latch the baby. A lactation consultant can help you do that.
How long should I breastfeed?
Answer: There isn't a "right" answer here. The American Academy of Pediatrics has solid recommendations, but the duration of breastfeeding is a personal decision. Again, a lactation consultant can talk you through your decisions.
When do I use a breast pump?
Answer: Establishing a robust milk supply early is important; nursing on demand is essential. Once milk supply is well established, pumping can help facilitate a mother's return to work and allow for separation from the baby, if it becomes necessary.
Which is the best formula?
Answer: There isn't a quick answer to this question, but there are a bunch of companies spending millions to steer parents in their direction.
Is my baby gaining enough weight?
Answer: Babies need to gain about an ounce per day for the first three months of life, but weight gain can vary. A dietitian can look at your particular case and give you insight.
Is my baby constipated?
Answer: There are some guidelines that can help. A baby should have anywhere from 2-12 poops with breast milk and 3-4 with formula in a 24 hour period.
What do I do about this fever?
Answer: Fevers in infants require nurse triaging to determine next steps. A lot depends on the specific temperature, the duration, and other accompanying symptoms.
What is this rash and will it go away?
Answer: There are rashes, and there are RASHES. The location, size, appearance and duration, are all critical to determining the seriousness. A nurse is the one to talk to.
When do I give my baby solids and what do I start with?
Answer: When your baby can hold his/her head up and begins to show interest, which is usually around 4-6 months of age. Iron fortified cereal or even cooked ground lamb or meat can work.
Why is my toddler such a picky eater all of the sudden?
Answer: It's physiologically normal that toddlers become picky eaters. Steer clear of catering to toddlers. That's easier said than done though and pediatric nutritionists are the professionals that can help.
As you can see, the answer is often some version of, "it depends!" That's why Google isn't such a useful tool in these scenarios.
If you are a new parent or have some of these questions, give Pacify a try and connect with experts that can help. You can find the app in the App Store and Google Play, and a full year's membership with unlimited calls costs less than a 1-hour appointment with other pediatric experts. And unlike your doctor, Pacify will refund the cost if you're not satisfied. What do you have to lose?