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I Asked These 6 Baby Questions So You Don't Have To

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Photograph by Twenty20

I’ve been a classic millennial mom from the jump. In order to prepare for my baby girl’s arrival, I read every blog, every book and asked every question I could think of. I felt completely prepared for various unlikely scenarios that would head in my direction upon becoming a parent.

But I was completely underprepared when it came to some of the weirder things I’ve experienced and heard of from other parents. Because I have a fantastic, trustworthy pediatrician who cares for my daughter (he was my pediatrician, too!), I sat down with him to ask some of the most embarrassing questions I’ve had on my mind lately—ones other moms have rarely dared to ask of their family physicians.

Here, Dr. Timberwood, a practicing pediatrician for 22 years who has served on numerous North Carolina Pediatric Advisory committees, gives me the skinny on the silly and sort of weird situations that arise for many new parents.

My friend’s baby boy has an erection when I change his diaper. What is that about?!

That signifies a healthy, functioning nervous system, and as long as it doesn’t last too long, it’s as normal as him peeing on you when his diaper comes off.”

Is it normal for my baby to grab themselves when their diaper is off?

Have you ever taken your socks off your feet after having them on for a long time and felt the urge to grip and rub your feet? Imagine that, but add in the curiosity of being a baby! Your daughter, showing no signs of rash or irritation, of course, is simply exploring the sudden breeze she’s feeling on her diaper area when it’s removed. Of course, if she’s doing this frequently, it could point to other issues. But isolated incidents are nothing to fret.”

Your daughter, showing no signs of rash or irritation, of course, is simply exploring the sudden breeze she’s feeling on her diaper area when it’s removed.

Why doesn't my daughter have teeth yet? She's 11 months old.

“Parents seem to be so excited for tooth eruption when it isn’t early. It’s likely that you, your spouse, or another family member didn’t develop teeth until much later. It’s not abnormal to see a first tooth coming in as late as 13 or 14 months. It just means they’ll likely come in succession and with less time in-between. Some studies say this is good for their tooth development, but I’m unsure of this myself.”

What are my toothless girl's eating needs?

"Teeth are great to aid in the eating process, but she will really be able to do a lot of chewing with just her gums at this point. It's important to give fingernail-size bites–not thumbnail, of course– of things she has had and likes."

What's the deal with my 11 month old baby girl's discharge?

“This really depends on the age of the baby. Within the first few weeks out of the womb, your baby’s discharge is likely a result of lasting hormones from being in utero. At this age, though, a certain amount of discharge is as normal for her as it is for you—as long as it does not seem to have an itch or odor to it. Discharge in girls can mean a lot of different things, so be vigilant and pay close attention to the amount, coloration and frequency. Though it’s normal, it’s good to know what isn’t normal for YOUR child.”

When can I stop worrying about her soft spot closing up?

“The different areas of your baby’s fontanelle, or soft spots, close at various times. Continue to make sure people are gentle with the area, but from two or three months onward, the remaining areas to close are a lot more resilient than people tend to believe. Two years of age is the average time for many toddler’s final fontanelle to close.”

How many poops per week are normal?

“This is a rather varied question. Poops per week will range in normality for babies depending on their diet, age and more. Breastfed babies get constipated less frequently than their formula-fed peers, but a normal number of poops for a baby aged 6 months old is one to three times per day. Pay attention to color, consistency and smell, if you have concerns. The more information you can give us, the better!”

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