Questions New Parents Ask…Answered!


To celebrate the opening of Emerson Family Medicine, Maynard’s first family medicine practice, we’ve asked Dr. Linda Brown, a primary care doctor who sees patients of all ages — newborn through seniors — to answer some common questions parents ask about their baby’s health.
Q: How will I know if there’s something wrong with my newborn?
Although they are so tiny and can’t speak, newborn babies have unique and wonderful ways of communicating with us! Here are some ways your baby may let you know it’s time to call the doctor:

  • A fever is higher than 100.4 degrees when taken with a digital rectal thermometer
  • Not wetting at least 6-10 diapers a day
  • Stool that is black or bloody
  • Vomiting
  • A whooping, wheezing or barking cough
  • Lethargy (Baby won’t wake enough to nurse or bottle feed)
New parents should never feel like they are alone. As family physicians, we love taking care of babies and helping new parents. No question is too small, and the odds are very high that we have heard your question before and have even experienced that issue as parents ourselves!
Q. When should I start reading to my baby?
Today! Snuggling and reading together is a precious way to bond with your new baby. Listening to the tone of your voice and the rhythm of your words while gazing at the colorful artwork on each page helps your baby begin to associate words with meaning, stimulate their brain, and feel loved. If your baby gets fussy, try holding them close in a rocking chair and reading whatever you wish — a baby book, a magazine, or even your favorite book! The sound of your voice and the comfort of your touch will help soothe them while creating lasting memories.  
Q: When can I take my baby outside?
Being outside in the fresh air is wonderful for babies! Take your newborn out for a walk in a stroller as soon as you feel up for it. Dress them as you would dress yourself for the weather, bring an extra blanket in case it gets breezy and shade their delicate skin from direct sunlight. A brisk walk in the beautiful spring weather is good for both of you!
To make an appointment for your baby or other family members with Dr. Brown, please contact Emerson Family Medicine of Maynard at 978-318-1870.