Your Newborn: Head to Toe - Everything You Want to Know About Your Baby's Health Through the First Year


An authoritative resource that parents can refer to about their baby's health, from newborn through the first year, this book features scores of references to reliable Web sites and other sources of the most up-to-date pediatric information for parents.

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Your Newborn: Head to Toe - Everything You Want to Know About Your Baby's Health Through the First Year

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An authoritative resource that parents can refer to about their baby's health, from newborn through the first year, this book features scores of references to reliable Web sites and other sources of the most up-to-date pediatric information for parents.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
L.A.-based pediatrician Natterson wisely taps into parents' need for practical medical information during the first year of their child's life, providing a comprehensive, straightforward guide. The first section deals with the hospital experience, including everything parents should know about delivery, Apgar scores (which determine a newborn's health) and problems that may arise. Natterson goes on to address caring for a baby literally from head to toe, discussing each aspect of an infant's anatomy. For each topic, she includes a section on what parents can do, when a doctor needs to be involved, tests that are required, what the results mean, treatments and possible complications. Finally, Natterson covers tests and vaccines, giving basic information on when and why they're necessary. Natterson's style is parent-friendly yet professional, and she's terrific at tackling universal parenting questions that may be especially compelling during the first days and weeks of a child's life. Both veteran and parenting newcomers will find this a worthy resource, with solid advice and information (including up-to-date Web sites). (Feb. 11) Forecast: Natterson's book joins a crowded market (at least three books on infant health were published this fall). But a national print, radio and television publicity campaign, coupled with ads in BabyTalk magazine, could attract readers. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316739139
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 2/28/2004
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Read an Excerpt


Head To Toe Everything You Want to Know About Your Baby's Health Through the First Year
By Cara Familian Natterson

Back Bay Books

Copyright © 2004 Cara Familian Natterson, M.D.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-316-73913-8

Chapter One

Types of Delivery: Vaginal Versus Cesarean Section

Babies are delivered one of two ways: vaginally or by cesarean section. In vaginal deliveries, most babies are pushed through the birth canal. But sometimes, despite vigorous pushing by the mother, the baby just can't get out on his own. In these cases, aids such as forceps or vacuums can be used.

In a cesarean section (also called a C-section), the uterus is cut open so the doctor can pull the baby out of the womb. Some C-sections are planned in advance, but other times they happen emergently.

Depending on the type of delivery, a baby may be faced with a variety of challenges. This chapter covers the delivery experience from the baby's point of view, explaining how your baby may be affected by different delivery techniques.


Vaginal deliveries aren't always just about pushing the baby out. If the baby is stuck in the birth canal, then obstetricians have a variety of tools to help deliver the baby without requiring a cesarean section. The two most common are the vacuum and the forceps.

Vacuum. A vacuum is a plastic cup about the size of an apple. It is dome shaped, with a balloon-inflated rim. If the baby's head is visible in the vaginal canal but the baby is not coming out, then your obstetrician may choose to place the vacuum on the baby's head. A pump connected to the vacuum cup generates suction so that the cup attaches firmly. Once the vacuum is in place, the obstetrician waits for a contraction. When this happens, the mother pushes and the obstetrician pulls at the same time. The vacuum often helps to ease the baby out of the birth canal.

Because the vacuum generates so much suction, it can cause swelling on the baby's head. This swelling is usually only superficial-involving the scalp or skull but not the brain below. This can cause a prominent, boggy bump on the head for a day or two. Rarely a vein in the scalp will break, causing a large bruise in the area where the vacuum was placed. While the swelling and bruising can appear dramatic, they almost always go away by the time the baby leaves the hospital.

In rare cases, the vacuum can cause a tear in specific veins, resulting in a subgaleal hematoma. This injury can be dangerous because the broken vessels can bleed into a large space around the skull. Over several days (or sometimes hours), the blood loss can be significant, stealing blood supply away from the rest of the baby's body. While this is exceedingly rare, a baby with a large subgaleal bleed can develop jaundice or even shock. In most cases, however, the prognosis is good.

Forceps. Forceps are metal tongs used by the obstetrician to grip the sides of a baby's head and help pull the baby out of the vaginal canal. Like vacuums, forceps are used when the head is visible but the baby does not continue to descend through the birth canal. The obstetrician uses the forceps to grab the head gently and then pull when there is a contraction. The combination of the mother pushing and the doctor pulling helps guide the baby out of the vaginal canal.

The forceps can scrape or bruise the sides of the head where they grip the baby. Usually this is along the temples. The bruises and scrapes almost always heal in the first few days of life. If the forceps hit a particular spot on the side of the face, they can irritate a nerve that travels to the eye and the mouth. If the nerve is stunned, the eyelid on that side of the face may be unable to close and the mouth may droop. This is called a Bell's palsy. In almost all cases, the nerve returns to normal within a few days and the Bell's palsy goes away.

Additional Resources (Go to "search medical library" in upper right-hand corner and type in "forceps" or "vacuum.")


A cesarean section is the surgical way of delivering a baby. A C-section will be performed for a number of reasons-sometimes the baby is in the wrong position for vaginal delivery (a baby whose feet are pointed toward the vaginal canal is called breech), sometimes the baby is too big to get out through the vaginal canal, and sometimes the mother has a medical condition that makes a C-section necessary. Sometimes the C-section must be performed emergently because the delivery is not progressing or because the health of either the mother or the baby is in danger. Regardless of the cause for the C-section, life for the first few hours or days is generally not much different for a baby born by C-section than for one delivered vaginally, with only a couple of exceptions.

First, a baby born by C-section is slightly more likely than a baby born vaginally to have fluid in her lungs. When water is present in the lungs, the baby must work harder to breathe air, so she may make grunting sounds or breathe very fast. When a baby is living in the womb, the lungs are filled with amniotic fluid. Because a developing baby doesn't breathe air, the water doesn't cause a problem. But once the baby is born, the water needs to leave the lungs quickly so that the lungs can work effectively. Doctors once thought that when babies traveled through the small vaginal canal, the extra water was literally squeezed out of their lungs. Now we know that probably isn't true. Instead, the act of labor stimulates endorphins-chemicals that make labor pains feel a little less intense-in both mom and baby. Endorphins help mop up water from the lungs. So, when a baby is delivered by C-section without much (or any) active labor beforehand-as in the case of a scheduled C-section-the baby is more likely to be born with some extra fluid in her lungs. A baby who is forced to work hard to breathe because of extra fluid has transient tachypnea of the newborn (TTN).

Second, a baby born by C-section is more likely to be sleepy during the first hours (or even days) of life. This is a direct result of the anesthesia that the mom received during the delivery. This is described in more detail in chapter 8.

Additional Resources (Go to "search medical library" in upper right-hand corner and type in "cesarean section.") (Click on "C-Cg," then scroll down to "C-section.")


Excerpted from YOUR NEWBORN by Cara Familian Natterson Copyright © 2004 by Cara Familian Natterson, M.D.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi
Introduction xiii
Part 1 The Hospital 1
1 Types of Delivery: Vaginal Versus Cesarean Section 3
Vaginal Delivery 3
Cesarean Section 5
2 Apgar Score 7
3 Big Baby 9
4 Small Baby 12
5 Nuchal Cord 14
6 Meconium in the Womb 16
7 Mom Has a Fever Around Time of Delivery 18
8 Mom Has Anesthesia During Delivery 20
9 Premature Baby 22
Skin 23
Lungs 24
Heart 26
Gastrointestinal Tract 27
Urine and Stool 28
Monitors, IVs, and Other Tubes 29
10 Postmature Baby 31
Part 2 Head to Toe 33
11 Skin Color and Texture 35
Rashes: Erythema Toxicum, Baby Acne, and Milia 36
Stork Bites and Angel Kisses 38
Mongolian Spots 39
Hemangiomas 40
Port-Wine Stains 43
Moles and Birthmarks 45
Dry Skin (Eczema) 47
Diaper Rashes 51
Yellowness (Jaundice) 56
12 Head Shape 62
Pointed Head (Molding) 63
Flat Head (Plagiocephaly) 65
Bald Spots 67
Soft Spots (Fontanels) 68
13 Eyes 71
Eye Rolling and Wandering 72
Crossed Eyes 73
Eye Mucus and Pinkeye 77
Scratched Eye (Corneal Abrasion) 82
14 Ears 84
Pits and Tags 85
Folded Ears 87
Ear Tugging 88
15 Nose 91
Congestion and Noisy Breathing 92
16 Mouth 97
Tongue-Tied (Ankyloglossia) 98
Thrush (Yeast in the Mouth) 100
Sucking Blisters 103
Teething 104
17 Neck 108
Torticollis 109
Narrow Airway and Stridor 111
Irritated Skin Folds 117
18 Chest and Lungs 120
Difficulty Breathing and Wheezing 121
Breast Buds 129
Chest-Wall Shape (Pectus) 131
Bony Bump in the Middle of the Chest (Xiphoid) 133
19 Belly Button 135
Healing Umbilical Cord 136
Sticky Belly Button 137
Red Belly Button (Omphalitis) 139
Umbilical Hernias ("Outies") 141
Belly-Button Pigment 145
20 Stomach and Intestine 146
Newborn Weight Loss and Weight Gain 147
Overfeeding 154
Normal Stool Variation 158
Constipation 160
Diarrhea 165
Blood in the Stool 169
Reflux 173
Spitting Up, Vomiting, and Pyloric Stenosis 179
Failure to Thrive 183
21 Hips 188
Hip Clunks and Hip Dislocation 188
22 Bladder and Urinary Tract 194
Pink Urine 195
Red Urine 196
Crystals in the Diaper 199
Infected Urine 201
23 Penis and Scrotum 206
Circumcision 207
Uncircumcised Penis and Foreskin Questions 209
Undescended Testicle 211
Hernia 213
Swollen Scrotum 217
Testicular Torsion 218
24 Vagina 222
Labial Swelling (External Female Genitalia) 222
Vaginal Discharge 224
Vaginal (Hymenal) Skin Tags 226
Labial Adhesions 227
25 Back and Anus 229
Anal Fissures 229
Sacral Pits, Dimples, and Hair Tufts 232
26 Legs and Feet 236
Bowlegs 237
Clubfoot and Foot Deformities 238
27 Nervous System 241
Jerking Movements and Seizures 241
28 The Whole Body 247
Fever 248
Inconsolable Baby 255
Dehydration 258
Sleep 264
Blueness 268
Part 3 Tests and Vaccines 275
29 Lab Tests and Radiology Studies 277
Bilirubin 277
Blood Culture 279
Blood Oxygen Level (Blood Gas) 280
Complete Blood Count (CBC) 281
Computed Tomography (CT) Scan 283
Coombs' Test 285
Electrolytes 286
Glucose (Blood Sugar) 287
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) 288
Pulse Oximeter 289
Spinal Tap (Lumbar Puncture) 290
Ultrasound 291
Urinalysis 292
Urine Culture 293
X Ray 294
30 Tests and Labs Just After Birth 296
Mandatory Tests 296
Optional "Expanded" Tests 298
Hearing Tests 299
Vitamin K Shot 301
Antibiotic Eye Ointment 302
31 Vaccines 304
Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Acellular Pertussis (DTaP) 305
Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (HiB) 307
Hepatitis A (Hep A) 308
Hepatitis B (Hep B) 309
Influenza (Flu Shot) 310
Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) 312
Pneumococcal Conjugate (Prevnar) 313
Polio (IPV) 314
Varicella (Varivax) 315
Bibliography 319
Index 321
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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2004

    Inaccurate feeding information

    Dr. Natterson appears to mean well, but her knowledge of infant feeding is lacking. Her book contains factual errors and the tone is misleading. She identifies potential problems, and then fails to identify potential solutions. She does not honor her own professional organization's views on breastfeeding. With numerous solid, proven, reliable baby care books on the market, there is absolutely no reason to purchase this one which is so flawed. I highly recommend consulting another title.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 6, 2011

    Couldn't live without this!

    Dr.Nattersons book is informative, non alarmist and extremely helpful to me for both of my kids. She breaks down each part of the body and identifies several things to look out for in a informative compassionate way This has been a lifesaver for me countless times. Several times I consulted this book before consulting the Dr. When I told the Dr what was wrong, they were always impressed with the knowledge that I had. Dr.Natterson's book is so great. I've given it or recommended it to several friends & they always thank me.

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