Caring for your newborn: How to feel confident as a new mom (and when to worry) with guest Dr. Emeka Obidi
About this Episode
Are you a new or expecting mom? Do you love a new or soon-to-be mom? If you do, then this podcast episode is for you! It’s been a while since Dr. Amy and Dr. Jody were mothers of newborns, but the story hasn’t changed much: we are all just wondering if our babies are okay! Becoming a first-time mother may seem like an instinctual rite of passage for many women, but once baby is born, many of us find that we have more questions than answers. And it can be hard to know where to turn in the middle of the night when baby is crying!
Dr. Amy and Dr. Jody sat down with Dr. Emeka Obidi, board-certified pediatrician and CEO of the Newborn Prep Academy, to talk about parenting a newborn. We asked some doozies: should baby boys be circumcised? When should we worry about a fever? What about vaccinations? Breastfeeding or formula feeding? Dr. Obidi shared his wisdom after more than 17 years as a practicing pediatrician, and we found his answers incredibly helpful—and graciously gentle. Join Dr. Obidi as he provides new moms with a Confident Mom Mindset!
About Dr. Emeka Obidi
Dr. Obidi is a board-certified pediatrician practicing in Maryland, where he owns a multi-provider family practice. He is also CEO of Newborn Prep Academy where he runs an online newborn preparation course that helps new, expectant, and recently delivered moms understand how to care for their newborn baby and what to expect so they can feel confident, empowered and ultimately enjoy their babies. Dr. Obidi has cared for over 1000 newborns and their moms over the course of his career. After seeing the same questions and concerns over and over again, he has a great understanding of what every new mom needs. His Confident Mom Mindset Course is designed to show moms of newborns how very capable and condiment they can be.
Mentioned in this Episode
How to Choose the Right Pediatrician: https://emekaobidionlinecourse.lpages.co/choosepediatrician/
Confident Mom Resource Guide: https://emekaobidionlinecourse.lpages.co/confidentmomguide
Connect with Dr. Obidi
Listen or Subscribe to our Podcast
Watch us on YouTube
Read the transcript for this episode:
Dr. Amy Moore: Hi, and welcome to this episode of Brainy Moms, brought to you today by LearningRx Brain Training centers. I am your host, Dr. Amy Moore, here with my co-host, Dr. Jody Jedlicka, and we’re coming to you today from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Dr. Jody and I are super excited to welcome our guest today, Dr. Emeke Obidi. Dr. Obidi is a board-certified pediatrician practicing in Maryland, where he owns a multi-provider family practice. He’s also the CEO of Newborn Prep Academy, where he runs an online newborn preparation course that helps new and expectant moms understand how to care for their newborn baby so they can feel confident, empowered, and joyful. He’s here today to address some common worries new moms have, and to talk about ways to develop confidence in being a new mom.
Dr. Jody Jedlicka: Welcome, Dr. Obidi. This is a topic that is so valuable for new moms and soon-to-be moms. But before we dig in, why don’t you give our listeners a little background about you, what you do, and how you ended up doing what you’re doing?
Dr. Emeka Obidi: Sure. Thank you so very much for having me on, Dr. Amy and Jody. I really appreciate this time with you guys. So, like you said, I’m Dr. Obidi and I practice in Western Maryland. I am a pediatrician. I actually wanted to be an ophthalmologist when I was in med school [laughs] . I just found the eye very fascinating, but doing my pediatric rotation, I just fell in love with pediatrics. I… it just fills my heart. And so, I knew this is what I was gonna do. So I did a pediatric residency out in New York and I have been practicing out in Western Maryland for about 17 years. And, I think more recently just started to, really be attuned to the fact that, although I love all of pediatrics and I really enjoy caring for kids—it’s crazy. I’ve been doing this so long now that I have moms who now have their babies bring them back to me. I’m like, No, I’m not that old! But I just realized I really enjoyed that interaction with a new mom and her baby. Like it just lights me up, lights up my day. I get to be part of that journey, get to sort of help her during a very trying time. Caring for a newborn can be testing. So just lean more into that and just realizing that I had something to offer given the number of years I’ve done this and, you know, of moms I’ve helped care for their babies.
Dr. Amy Moore: So what do you see or hear the most, in terms of what moms, new moms and expectant moms, are worried about? What are some of those common worries and what are your responses?
Dr. Emeka Obidi: Yeah. No, there are quite a number of them. I think sometimes, well, if you start really earlier on from right after baby’s born, cause I get to—in a local area of practice, I get to visit them at the hospital when baby’s born—so I get to see them that first day or two or three days while they’re still at the hospital. And a lot of moms are, and this is something that most moms are not even aware of, really can be worried when they realize that babies have lost weight the second day after delivery.
And, as is usually the case with a lot of moms, they immediately just had to blame themselves: “I’m not feeding this baby enough. There’s something wrong. I don’t have enough breast milk.” And, you know, a number of reasons along those lines. So that’s something that comes up. So I get to be able to say, No, no, you have, you haven’t done anything wrong. This is just part of what’s normal. Your baby actually comes with some extra calories onboard. Where for this trip, you can imagine how uncomfortable it’ll be for a mom to have to carry a breast full of milk throughout her pregnancy, right? So that production doesn’t start until after your baby comes and starts to suck on your nipples, whichsets up a whole cascade of hormones that end up prouducing milk. And so during that period that it takes one to two, three days for you to get to full milk production, your baby comes prepared for that. That’s just nature. So if you have a normal newborn where there aren’t any other issues going on, it is gonna be typical for them to lose weight a few days. They are actually allowed to lose up to 10% of their birth weight before we worry. And that’s enough time for a mom to get to produce milk and for that to ramp back up so that by day 7 to 10 they’re back to their birth weight. That would be one common concern I see pretty early on.
Dr. Amy Moore: So let me ask a couple questions about that. Do we see that same weight loss with moms who choose to formula feed right away?
Dr. Emeka Obidi: That’s actually a great question. You do, but it’s not as much, and it’s a shorter turnaround time. So oftentimes, there may still be some weight loss after a day because also, stomachs are only small, really tiny. There’s only so much milk that can go in there. Typically one ounce, maybe even half an ounce that first day or two. So it does take another day or two before they start to put back on weight, but it is a quicker weight gain than if you’re breastfeeding.
Dr. Amy Moore: And so along those lines: we know that if you’re breastfeeding, your baby gets colostrum for those first couple of days while waiting for the milk to come in. So why do we give—for moms who formula feed—why does the hospital automatically start formula right away if the baby is physically, biologically prepared to wait? Why is that the procedure?
Dr. Emeka Obidi: Yeah. And I think it’s, it does depend on the hospital and might depend on how supportive they are. Breastfeeding might even depend on the particular—even if hospital wide, they have a policy to really encourage breastfeeding as much as possible—it might depend on the particular nurse or the particular lactation consultant, even. And then some of it may also be mom’s preference as well, and how educated that she is. Right? Because if she feels that she’s doing something wrong and her baby’s losing weight as a result, she’s more likely to say, “you know what? I give up. I really wanna breastfeed, but I wanna make sure my baby’s getting enough. So, let’s formula feed.” But if she knows that this is just, you know, part of nature and that her baby’s fine. Her colostrum has quite a good amount of calories in it. So even though you’re getting a small amount—teaspoons usually—there’s still quite a number of calories in there. Then she’s probably better able to sort of weather those first few days of a baby losing some weight and not getting as much volume-wise. So I think a lot of it has to do with just the environment, how supportive they are, education.
Dr. Amy Moore: So what if you—and I’m taking all the conversation, Dr. Jody, I’m sorry about that. I just have all these questions, right? What about a mom who’s planning to do a home birth? What advice do you give to her? What if she says, “hey, I wanna do a home birth. I wanna do everything as natural as possible, but I’m not interested in breastfeeding” for whatever reason. Then what is, what is your advice to her on how she starts feeding the baby from minute one?
Dr. Emeka Obidi: Yeah, so I mean, you typically would want to feed the baby within that first hour and the earlier you feed them within that hour, the better. And so, for moms, it would be great to start the breastfeeding within 30 minutes, right? And of course, all this is gonna depend on the circumstances of birth, and if it’s stable or the baby is stable and all of that. If there’s gonna be a home birth, I wouldn’t say there is necessarily any special instruction or advice other than to start to feed. Now I will say, which also, is another question that moms often have when they do decide they wanna formula feed is: what formula? You know, you go to the store, there’s like a thousand and one of them, right? All kinds of brands, everything out there. And so that’s a big question and I usually say just any one is fine, honestly. It’s quite a regulated industry. So, they all have about the same amounts of carbohydrates, fat and proteins. They may have different kinds of probiotics they put in there to try and simulate breast milk. They may have different kinds of fats and proteins, but they’re all about the same. They all provide the same amount of calories. You do have some higher calorie formulas for special situations where you want babies to gain, where you wanna provide more calories. The run of the mill formula is just fine. Even the store brand formula would do just fine, and that’s usually very freeing, especially with the formula shortages we’ve had recently, to just know you can get anything. And so back to your question, I say just take whatever formula you have. Oftentimes, most moms are gonna have free samples that they’ve been given, and just start there.
Dr. Jody Jedlicka: I have children who have children, so I have grandchildren. And both my daughter and my daughter-in-law struggled with the whole decision. “Do I breastfeed or do I formula feed?” And there was so much guilt involved in, you know, trying to make that decision. What, what kind of advice do you give to new moms who just are…you know, they feel so deeply that they should do it one way, but they’re comfortable doing it a different way. What, what kind of advice do you give parents?
Dr. Emeka Obidi: Yeah, I think it all comes back to the…I’m not even sure what to call it, maybe the being of every mom with mom guilt. Where you just really feel like you’re doing it wrong. It doesn’t matter where you decide to go, you’re doing it wrong. Everyone else is doing it better than you are. I think it’s such a very personal decision, honestly, what you feed your baby. Breast milk definitely has lots of advantages over formula. But I don’t think those advantages so outweigh feeding with formula that it now becomes such a terrible choice, should you decide to formula feed. So I think it really goes back to trying to figure out what works best for you and knowing that either way, you’re gonna have a baby who’s healthy, right? And if you can breastfeed, great. Go for it. And oftentimes I think that some moms do want to breastfeed, but there’s just a fear that it might not work well, or they’re just worried. “What if I, you know, I try to, and it doesn’t go well? What do I do? Do I feel like I failed, because now I have to like, you know, change course and formula feed.” I think if you just give yourself grace and just the freedom to try it. And to know that it’s okay to change your mind, should you decide to do something else. You might have more moms adopting to breastfeed initially. And I can imagine that’s not easy, but really deciding that—and this is part of what I teach with the Confident Mom Mindset—that you are in charge of the baby’s care. Nobody else gets to decide that, but you. And so, you sort of really have to be in tune with—because the truth is, you know, the more authentic you are in what you believe and how you wanna show up, the better you are gonna be available for your baby, for your child. And the better you’ll show up, the more confident you’ll be mothering them. So I think you are, at the end of the day, better off going with what feels true to you and then having the freedom to change your mind if you decide to.
Dr. Amy Moore: I love that advice.
Dr. Jody Jedlicka:I do, too.
Dr. Amy Moore: About not just not caring what everybody else is saying in this ear and in this ear, but what feels right for you? What feels right?
Dr. Emeka Obidi: And I will say, because its really, really important: over the years I’ve also seen lots of moms who really wanted to breastfeed, went home intending to breastfeed, but that didn’t go well. Either their babies didn’t latch, they really had a difficult time latching, or there was some real significant issue of milk production or whatever reason. Maybe they had a procedure they had to do that interrupted the whole process, or the baby had to go into the NICU that interrupted the process and there wasn’t enough support to get breastfeeding going. Those moms have often had a really difficult time. Because, “this is something I really wanted to do, something I was really vested in doing, and it’s not working out.” And that that can be really heart-wrenching to see also, because you can see that it really hits in a very deep place. And I just wanna say, if that should happen to a mom listening, to give themselves some grace. Allow yourself grief through the period, because I think there is some real grief that happens there because this is something you felt really strongly about, but for some reason it’s not working out. And I think allowing yourself to go through that grief, and allowing yourself to the freedom to give yourself grace and say, “you know what? This is not the end of the world. I can still formula feed. My baby’s still gonna be fine and still healthy.” I think can help through what can be often a very difficult period when that doesn’t work out quite the way you wanted it to.
Dr. Amy Moore: And every baby’s different, right? Like, so if you have a negative experience with one, that doesn’t mean you’re gonna have a negative experience with the next one, right? Like my middle child—first child was fine breastfeeding—second child at day 10, some strange thing kicked in and he started—I don’t wanna scare anybody. He started sucking so hard that he would draw blood and then spit it up, right? And I was, In a place where I didn’t have any lactation support. We were in the middle of a move, and it just was overwhelming to me, right? And so I just said,”okay, forget it. We’re just gonna formula feed because I don’t know what to do at this point.” But then the third one came along, and everything was fine again. And so that would be my encouragement, that what happens with one is not necessarily gonna happen with the next.
Dr. Emeka Obidi: Very true.
Dr. Amy Moore: But if you have problems like that, you can call your pediatrician, you can call a lactation consultant at the hospital, right?
Dr. Emeka Obidi: Yeah, absolutely. I think there are more and more resources now. Pediatricians are becoming more and more comfortable guiding the mom through that. Lots of hospitals, I dare say maybe almost all, have someone—either a lactation consultant or the nurses—have been trained just to be able to provide breastfeeding support. So I think there are more resources, simply out in the community and of course, good resources online also, right? Providing the same information, as well.
Dr. Amy Moore: Sure. Yeah. See this was 20-something years ago, so I didn’t have that.
Dr. Jody Jedlicka: Yeah. And mine was 30-something years ago. I do remember feeling prepared to have a baby, but once my oldest child was born, I remember thinking, “this is so much harder than I thought it was gonna be,” and a lot of the things were just like health-related things that I worried about. And I love how the resources that you provide just kind of put your mind at ease. So can you give us some of those resources or some of those thoughts that you’re there to help people with, so that they understand “this is normal” or “it’s not normal. his is when you should seek help. This is when it’s okay”?
Dr. Emeka Obidi: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. There are a number of things, I think maybe three big things, to sort of be mindful of, to sort of have your radar or tentacle up if that’s what happens. The first will be a fever. And a fever for a newborn is a rectal temperature more than 100.4°F. So we can also in and of itself be like, “really that high?” Yeah. So, a baby who has a rectal temperature of 100.1°F, 100.2°F, 100.4°F , that’s still normal. That’s a hundred 100.5°F or above. That’s abnormal. And in the first month of life, something we take very seriously, because their immune systems are still very fragile and so they do not necessarily mount the sort of immune response you’ll have, if you and I come down with a significant bug where we feel really ill. Right? So they could look like they have just a cold, but have meningitis, right? And so it’s difficult to know what’s a minor illness and what’s a significant illness when a newborn has just a fever. And so that’s something you wanna bring to your pediatrician, or to the nearest emergency room so they can evaluate a little better and decide what may need to be done, in terms of working out what the course is. That would be one.
Dr. Amy Moore: Wait, let me just reiterate that. Yeah, sure. Anything. So, 100.5°F or higher, you need to call the doctor. Immediately?
Dr. Emeka Obidi: Directly, Yes. Directly in that first month of life. In the first month of life, you do wanna take that seriously. When they’re much older, you can sort of see how they’re doing, if they look comfortable, they’re not breathing funny, you know? You could probably watch, and certainly reach out to your pediatrician and just let them know what’s going on. But certainly, in the first month of life, you wanna reach out, any fever whatsoever. And another would be just difficulty breathing, right? So, if you have sustained fast breathing, that will be something to worry about. Newborns have this breathing pattern called periodic breathing that can look scary to mom also, or parents, when it happens, but is kind of the normal course of their respiratory system and respiratory drive developing. And so they’re breathing very normally and then they pause for a few seconds and then they pick back up and breathe very fast and then settles down again, right? So, it’s sort of all over the place. And it happens several times during the day, but that’s a normal part of this normal development. But if you have a baby who’s breathing very fast and it’s sustained, that would be something else to worry about and certainly bring up to the medical provider to evaluate together.
Dr. Amy Moore: What could be happening to make a newborn have sustained rapid breathing?
Dr. Emeka Obidi: Sure. So, a respiratory illness, so they have a pneumonia, for instance. That would be something that can cause that. If they have some overwhelming infections or some sepsis where there’s a systemic involvement, all of their body systems, that can also cause that as well, where they’re breathing very fast. There are some genetic conditions or metabolic conditions that may be congenital that they’re born with, where at that stage in its symptomatology that they’re breathing that fast, there are a number of things that could cause that. That’s why you do want someone to evaluate, to figure out what’s going on.
Dr. Amy Moore: Okay, and the third?
Dr. Emeka Obidi: And the third would be persistent vomiting. Which also can be something else that can be worrisome also, when a baby vomits, maybe just once or twice, because sometimes it can be a lot. You can be like, “my God, everything just came up!” But if they look comfortable, just one here or there, that’s less worrisome. And if you have a persistent vomiting, so no sooner that have they taken in something, it all comes out again—especially, it comes out very forcefully. But it is pretty common for newborns to spit up, where it’s a very effortless sort of bringing up of substance from the mouth, and that’s usually not much of a problem. If it is happening frequently, you may still wanna see a pediatrician to figure out if there’s some reflux and if it’s significant enough to be treated. But just spitting up here and there, or vomit here and there, is less worrisome than a persistent vomiting. But that’ll be something else also that can speak to something more significant going on, whether it’s a GI obstruction, gastrointestinal obstruction, or even, also sepsis can cause that as well; just really significant conditions that can cause persistent vomiting. Yeah, so those would be the maybe three big ones I tend to sort of bring up with parents to watch for.
Dr. Amy Moore: Okay. So, I wanna talk about circumcision. So, when I was pregnant with my first 24 years ago, my sister-in-law was also pregnant at the same time. We were both having boys. She was living in California. I was living in South Carolina, and at the time, nobody in California was circumcising. And so, she was trying to tell me, you know, “we’re not gonna do this. You shouldn’t do this either.” So, I asked my OB. Cause it’s usually the OB that does it, right? So, I asked the OB, “what percentage of newborn boys do you circumcise?” And he paused and he looked at me and in his deepest southern accent, says, “well, a hundred percent, of course.” Okay, so, California’s not doing it. South Carolina is doing it at a hundred percent. And I know that that pendulum has swung back and forth and back and forth over the years. What do you say to an expectant mom who says, “should we circumcise or not?”
Dr. Emeka Obidi: I say do whatever you feel like doing [laughs]. Because I think at the end of the day, really, it’s one of those things where is there some advantage to circumcising? Yes, there may be some slight decrease in their ability to contract a sexually transmitted disease. Maybe some rare cancer that males will have, genital cancers they could have. Maybe a slightly decreased incidence of that among circumcised males. But again, those percentages and those advantages are so small when you take a look population-wise, that at the end of the day, it probably doesn’t really matter if you decide to circumcise them. I think that’s why the current recommendation is sort of, it’s a personal preference really. And at the end of the day, it probably doesn’t matter much, honestly.
Dr. Amy Moore: Not an overwhelming medical benefit.
Dr. Emeka Obidi: Yes, exactly. Not an overwhelming medical benefit to strongly suggest that you circumcise. So at the end of the day, I think whatever you feel comfortable doing is fine. I will say along those lines, you know, just talking about circumcision, but that’s something else that oftentimes if you do decide to circumcise, that healing process sometimes can also look like there’s something wrong, because at some point during the healing process, you can have some what they call slough material—there’s some yellow, sticky, gooey stuff that can be attached to the head of the penis that can look like pus and look like there’s something wrong. And so that’s oftentimes something that moms would bring up, saying “I think there’s something wrong, you know, it looks weird.” But oftentimes it’s also normal. But again, anything you’re worried about, you should definitely bring up to your medical provider, but it’s information I like to provide ahead of time. So in the time period of waiting to see someone, you know, stressing out over it, if you have an indication that it’s probably less of an issue than it looks like.
Dr. Jody Jedlicka: I wonder if you can settle a family disagreement for me. [laughs]
Dr. Emeka Obidi: [laughs] Oh boy, I’m going to be in trouble now.
Dr. Jody Jedlicka: It’s almost like, humorous. But my mom always worries so much about babies being cold: they can’t move around, you know, when we move around, we get warmer. But she is just bundling babies up with hats and socks and blankets and it’s 90 degrees out. And we’re like, “Mom, stop!” So, do babies run cold? Do they run warm? How do you judge?
Dr. Emeka Obidi: Let me tell you this funny story, first of all. So I, years ago I went to Haiti for a medical missions trip. This is probably about six years ago. And just precious, precious people, I think I left a little bit of my heart there. So it was an outside sort of tent that was set up by this organization. And so, they had a bunch of doctors and medical providers providing help. And the locals would line up, like, for hours waiting to be seen. And almost every baby had a sweater on, and a hat on, and bundled up with like blankets, and this was like a hundred degrees temperature. And these babies are screaming and, you know, as soon as you take all the clothes off, the screaming stops. [laughs] So to come back to your question, babies do actually have a higher basal temperature. The fat they carry around them in those first several months is a different kind of fat, called a brown fat that actually burns more energy. And so, yes, I usually say dress the baby just slightly warmer than you’re dressed. So if everyone is walking around in tank tops, you know, you shouldn’t be putting layers and layers on your baby. They’re just gonna be uncomfortable. It will affect their sleep. The temperature actually, when the baby sleeps—for the room—should be somewhere about 65 to 72 degrees that you set that thermostat at, and that’s, you know, 65 is pretty on the cold side. And remember also we’re encouraging babies not to sleep in blankets and all of that, you know, but just a simple one-piece outfit or a simple light swaddler when they still newborns. So yes, I think there’s—I’m not sure where it comes from—but I think it’s just an instinct. I think they’re so, they look so fragile that you’re just afraid they’re going to freeze to death.
Dr. Jody Jedlicka: I think it came from my mom. I think she’s been spreading that around. [laughs]
Dr. Emeka Obidi: [laughs] Blame it on your mom.
Dr. Amy Moore: So along those lines, do they need socks? Do they have to wear socks? If we’re in flip flops?
Dr. Emeka Obidi: They don’t have to. I think it’s, again, one of those things where we just feel like we want to. Now of course, if it’s winter time, yes. Slap stocks on them, right? But yeah, they don’t absolutely have to. I think it just makes us more comfortable than anything. I will say, which is also another condition oftentimes that can be shocking, is a condition called acrocyanosis, which is where the palms and the soles of a baby—the vessels are so tiny that you don’t have a lot of blood flow into the area, and so they can look kind of blueish/purplish and the temperature of the room is on the cooler side, it can be like really stark purple, like really look very, like, almost like there’s no blood supply there. That can be quite dramatic. But it’s not dangerous. Now socks and mittens might help that a little bit, just warm up the extremities, so there’s more blood flow to the area. But yeah, it’s not an absolute necessity.
Dr. Amy Moore: So they just have smaller, less blood flow and smaller capillaries that are filling those places as a baby. Okay.
Dr. Jody Jedlicka: Plus baby feet are the best thing to kiss, so if you have on them, how are you gonna get to them?
Dr. Amy Moore: Well, and usually one get falls off and gets lost anyway, right? So if you’ve got one sock, and then, you know… Okay. So talk about the umbilical cord stump. I have a funny story. So, we were taught to, you know, soak a cotton ball with alcohol and put it on there like every time we changed the diaper to help dry up the stump so it would fall off. So, I was doing that with our second, and by his, I don’t know, maybe six-week checkup, he still had a stump and the pediatrician said, “well, this is the strangest thing that his stump has not fallen off.” And so, you know, he’s like, “you know, dousing it in alcohol, you know. And so, we were staying at my parents’ house cuz we were in the middle of a move, like I said before. And so, I checked the expiration date and it had expired six years prior. So really, I had been pouring water on my kids’ umbilical stump for six weeks. Like just water, keeping it moist.
Dr. Emeka Obidi: [laughs] It’s just water.
Dr. Amy Moore: Yeah. Anyway, what is the guidance there? How long should it, when should it fall off naturally? What do we do?
Dr. Emeka Obidi: Well, you may feel a little less guilty to know that the recommendation now is, just water is fine.
Dr. Jody Jedlicka: You’re so ahead of your time, Amy.
Dr. Amy Moore: I knew it! I’m gonna go back and tell that pediatrician, he didn’t know what he was talking about, yelling at me like that.
Dr. Emeka Obidi: There are some studies that show it didn’t really matter what you did, if you used alcohol, if you used just water, if you just left it alone, if you used gentian violet like they used to use in the old days, also, the purple dye. But it all just healed just fine for the most part. And maybe the difference may be one or two days, it falls off earlier. One over the other. It wasn’t anything significant. But typically it will fall off anywhere from several days, when it falls off really quickly, to about two weeks usually. You know if it’s past two weeks, you’re beginning to wonder if there’s something else going on. Cause sometimes some conditions can cause that to be delayed. But usually by two weeks, three weeks max, most of them have fallen off. Yeah. And sometimes they’ve actually detached, but it’s just stuck to the skin. So it’s actually detached, but just stuck to the overlying skin and you may just need to sort of wet it a little bit for it to come off.
Dr. Jody Jedlicka: I love how so much of what you talk about is you can do it this way or you can do it that way. You can do water or you can do alcohol, socks, no socks. You know? Like, it’s hard to mess it up. And so, so much of what you do is just about making parents feel comfortable or moms feel comfortable with their baby. So, talk to us about what you call the confident mom mindset, and why is that so important?
Dr. Emeka Obidi: Yeah. Thanks for bringing that up. I think just over the years of taking care of newborns, like I said, I’ve been practicing for 17 years now, and if you talk about just that first newborn visit with the mom, I’ve done well over 2000 of those at this point. So I have noticed that moms who are just better in tune with themselves and who have what I’ve come to call the Confident Mom mindset, just do a better job or, just seem to have an easier time caring for their newborn. And when you boil it down, I sort of feel that there are three pillars to it. And one is, first of all, just knowing that you’re the best mom for your baby, right? However this baby has come to you, by natural birth or adoption, you’re the best mom for this baby. It’s not gonna be the mom next door. It’s not gonna be your mom or your sister or somebody else. It’s just gonna be you, right? And the evidence of that is that the baby was given to you, however that baby came to you, right? And so first of all, one really actually has to sit with that thought for a while for it to have full impact. Cause I think you can just brush it off. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m the best mom for my baby.” Like, No, no, no. You really are the best mom for your baby, which means that you really have everything it takes a care for this baby, right? You may not have all the information you need, but you are able to go get that information from a place of strength and empowerment, rather than feeling like, “oh my God, I didn’t know what to do. I feel I’m terrible at this. I suck at this. You know, can someone please help me out there?” But more like, “oh, you know, I’m the best mom for this baby. I need some information. I need to go get some information. I’m gonna reach out to this person or this resource to get that information I need for this new newborn, this baby that I’m well equipped to take care of.” Right? It’s knowing that you’re in charge of your baby’s care, like I talked about earlier on, and knowing that—yes, I agree with you that a lot of what we worry about and what moms worry about oftentimes really doesn’t matter when you look at the big scheme of things. And I’m not sure if it’s also just the fact that I didn’t grow up in a resourced country. The fact is, babies grow up in all kinds of environments around the world, right? And they thrive and they survive, right? And yes, some parts of the world have a high mortality rate. But by and large, you know, babies do well, they’re quite resilient. So, I think when a mom realizes that much of what she worries about probably doesn’t make a big difference, at the end of the day, she’s better able to just relax and really try and be more intuitive to what feels right for her and her baby and her family. Because you could have a mom who feels like, “I really need to breasted because everyone says I need to breastfeed.” But that process is so traumatic that you’re not emotionally available for your child. But at the end of the day, the child actually suffers more than if you had just formula fed, because that felt more true to you and just was much easier to handle. And that could be vice versa also. So, I think at the end of the day, you want a mom who is just confident in her ability to care for this baby and to get the resources she needs to care for this baby, and not worry as much about what everybody else is saying. Absolutely you wanna listen, you certainly wanna get good information. You wanna seek out good information. And I tell my moms: you reserve the right to change your mind if you get new information down the road that feels like, “hey, well you know what? I thought that, yeah, that was crap. I’m gonna do this instead now.” Feel free to change your mind. I think we just need to give ourselves more grace.
Dr. Amy Moore: So, you say that education is self-care. Talk a little bit about that.
Dr. Emeka Obidi: I think when we think about self-care, we’re thinking of two hours or half a day at a spa. Like, you know, this really luxurious sort of experience and all of that could very well be self-care as well. But I think when you think about, just the phrase itself, self-care? You’re just caring for yourself. It means you’re giving yourself whatever you need. And for a new mom that could just be drinking more water. That could be like going for a 10, 15-minute walk just to be with yourself. That could be going to a coffee shop with your significant other to get a drink and drink something that’s, you know, comfortable for you and your breastfeeding, if you’re breastfeeding. Just simple things like that. But sometimes, caring for yourself also is realizing that, “I do need information,” right? “I need information to be able to function at my best in whatever area it is I’m looking at. And so, I need to get that information.” And so, I say education is self-care, also, because you are going out to seek the education you need to care for yourself. You care enough for yourself to go seek what you need to be able to effectively do what you’re trying to do, which might be, in this case, for instance, taking care of a newborn.
Dr. Amy Moore: I love that.
Dr. Jody Jedlicka: Like putting on your oxygen mask first, right?
Dr. Emeka Obidi: Yes. Take care of yourself so you can take care of them.
Dr. Jody Jedlicka: What kinds of advice, or what kinds of things should people think about if they’re looking for a pediatrician? That’s a huge decision. And like you talked about, Amy, I’ve moved a couple times and had to look for a pediatrician. So, what do you tell parents when they’re looking for a pediatrician?
Dr. Emeka Obidi: I think having done this long enough, I will say first of all, if you’re still in the city you grew up in and your pediatrician is still around, and you had a wonderful time with them, just go back [laughs]. They’ll be happy to take care of you.
Dr. Jody Jedlicka: I love that.
Dr. Emeka Obidi: Easy decision. Go back to the same guy or lady who’s taking care of you for like 20 years. But really, I think one of the maybe underutilized resources is actually going to visit the pediatrician. And so oftentimes there’s just so much going on in preparing for baby’s arrival that you don’t even think about a pediatrician until they ask you at labor and delivery, “who’s the pediatrician going to be?” You’re like, “oh my God, I didn’t even choose one. Where’s your list? Okay. Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe, we’ll choose that one.” But if you do take out time to actually go get this information or to, to make that decision early enough, one of the best things you can do is actually just go sit down with the person or have a virtual meeting over Zoom or some video conferencing, where you can actually just get to sit with the person and just sort of get their energy, their vibe. You get to ask them about what the philosophy is preparing for a newborn. Very open-ended question, but they really answer. It can be quite informative. You can get a sense of if this is someone that will be supportive with whatever I decide to do, breastfeeding mom, are they gonna be supportive of that? You know, if I wanna formula feed, are they gonna be supportive of that? I think just you get a better sense of the person. I think one question to ask also is what their stance on vaccines are. Because pediatricians sometimes have fallen onto sides now where “I wouldn’t see you if you don’t vaccinate on schedule,” or, “I will see you regardless of what you decide. I’ll provide information you need and allow you choose.” But it’s important. I only mentioned that because if you start to see pediatrician, but realize that, “I don’t wanna vaccinate and now I can’t see them anymore,” or vice versa. That can be traumatic to have to look for someone else. So I think just going to visit is one big place to start. You certainly wanna look at how far away it is from where you live, and how the logistics of getting there in that first year of life, you might have anywhere from six to eight, so even 10 visits, depending on what’s going on with your newborn. So that’s a lot of trips to the office. So you know, if you choose a pediatrician who’s two hours away, that’s okay if you are okay with committing to that commute those many times, those first few years. So that’s something to look into. Of course, looking at insurance if you’re gonna be using medical insurance and if they take your insurance. So those are a few things, but I think the big thing is gonna be sitting down with the person if you can. Also finding out what resources they have after hours. You know, is there gonna be someone if I’m really worried that I can call and talk to. That may be also helpful. Yeah, those are a few things to think about.
Dr. Amy Moore: Yeah. I love that you brought up vaccines cause I wanted to ask you that as well. If you look at the hospital Patient Bill of Rights, right? At almost any hospital, one of the rights that every patient has is to refuse treatment. Right? Like, somebody can’t force treatment upon you. And so, if a pediatrician refuses to see you, because you’ve chosen not to vaccinate your children or to vaccinate them on a different schedule, is that removing a parent’s autonomy and their right to choose for their child? Or, like, what guidance have pediatricians been given so that they have been able to make this decision themselves? And you don’t have to say where you stand, but talk about that situation.
Dr. Emeka Obidi: Yeah, no, absolutely. I think, you know, some of it just goes down to how polarized we are these days in society, honestly. And I will say back to your initial question, if you look at it in some ways, you still haven’t taken away the moms’ or dads’ or parents’ decision to vaccinate or not vaccinate, because they can just go somewhere else, and seek for someone who, may be more supportive of their decision at that time. I think that a pediatrician is there to provide information and to provide good information, to really encourage. I think that, um, and this may just be a generalized philosophy, I think there’s no place for brow beating someone over something that’s not life threatening. And there could be arguments on both sides of the fence, for sure. And I think there are valid arguments on both sides of the fence. But we’re not talking about in this case, a child, for instance, who needs insulin because they have type one diabetes, right? So, I think, unfortunately, we’re just along for the ride, whatever that word is. But I would just say that’s why it’s important for you to take out time, ahead of time, to find medical providers that are supportive of you and can provide information in a very non-judgmental, non-threatening way, so that you can make the best decision.
Dr. Amy Moore: Good advice. Okay, so we need to, take a quick break. Let Dr. Jodi read a word from our sponsor, and when we come back, we wanna hear about, you know, your specific resources, how listeners can learn more from you, and what you have to offer them when we come back.
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Dr. Amy Moore: And we’re back talking to Dr. Emeka Obidi about issues that new and expectant moms typically face and what his advice is, for what to do about those issues. But you actually have a course! Tell our listeners about that.
Dr. Emeka Obidi: Sure. So I have a course, it’s called a Newborn Preparation course, and it’s really designed to be able to come alongside expectant parents or recently delivered moms and to encourage them, help them understand what to expect with their newborns, help them release mom guilt, just so they can really enjoy the newborns. So it’s a four week course. It’s one hour for four consecutive weeks. We cover everything from what to expect right after delivery, what to expect with feeding, what to expect actually to make that decision, if you’re not sure. We talk about sleep and what that looks like, and how mom can try to maximize her rest during that period. That’s obviously a very trying period for sure. We talk about, um, how to handle things if things don’t go as planned. We talk about how to visit a pediatrician, how to maximize those visits to a pediatrician. Just a bunch of how to get support systems around you. So, a bunch of different topics that I’ve just found over the years I think are helpful of how to recognize those critical things you need to be able to recognize that may indicate something is wrong with your newborn. And then a bunch of different things, also, that are sort of just minor variations of normal, that oftentimes moms can worry about that are normal. So, we cover a bunch of things and there—depending on when you listen to this, it might be a waitlist for when it’s offered next—it’s offered quarterly and so, you can always sign up for the waitlist for when next is gonna be, when next we’re gonna operate, and when next enrollment is open.
Dr. Amy Moore: And how many, like, how many meetings or sessions is that?
Dr. Emeka Obidi: So, so there are four sessions with me, and then I do have guest sessions. So I have one session with the breastfeeding consultant, a physician, and another session with a sleep physician, just addressing the sleep, in and of itself; there’s a session with a doula just to sort of, expose people to the services that a doula provides, in preparing them for delivery and also postpartum care as well. But all those are still offered within the four weeks and in very small bite-sized lessons. It’s usually a trying period when the mom is pregnant, so you don’t wanna keep her sitting for hours, even giving that information. And of course, there are replays to all the lessons as well.
Dr. Amy Moore: Yes, because that pregnancy brain…
Dr. Jody Jedlicka: I was gonna say that! [laughs]
Dr. Amy Moore: Were you? [laughs] I used to call that PIS. Pregnancy Induced Stupidity.
Dr. Emeka Obidi: [laughs] I’m staying out of that one.
Dr. Amy Moore: I know. I was talking about myself, like, I can remember sitting in my office and picking up the phone to call somebody. And by the time, like, they actually picked up, I forgot who I was holding for. So I would keep a, a notepad next to my phone: this is who I’m calling and why. [laughs]
Dr. Jody Jedlicka: [laughs] Oh, that’s funny. And you have a couple of free e-guides that people can download too, don’t you? Tell us how people can get those.
Dr. Emeka Obidi: Absolutely. Hopefully there might be a link, you know, where they watch this, but there’s a resource guide for how to choose a pediatrician. And it just goes through some very simple framework to that. And then there’s also the Confident Mom Resource Guide, which really covers some of what we just talked about, and really sort of prepares mom for that process. And they can access resources on https://www.newbornprepacademy.com/. It’s https://www.newbornprepacademy.com/. There’s a waitlist on there for the course, and there’s a link for the resources as well.
Dr. Jody Jedlicka: Wonderful.
Dr. Amy Moore: Yeah. Fantastic. Well, we need to let Dr. Obidi go because he has a patient. So, we’re gonna wrap this up. But this has been a fantastic conversation with Dr. Emeka Obidi. We just wanna thank you for sharing your wisdom and this amazing set of tips that you’ve given new and expectant moms today. We hope that you’ll come back, because I’m sure you have so much more that we could ask you about, and that our listeners would benefit from.
Dr. Emeka Obidi: It has been a thrill to be with you guys. Thank you so much for having me on, and I would be glad to come back on.
Dr. Amy Moore: Awesome. That would be great. Listeners, if you’d like more information about Dr. Obidi’s work, his website is https://www.newbornprepacademy.com/. You can find him on Facebook at Dr. Emeka Obidi, and on Instagram @drobidi. We’ll put all those links, how to spell them, all his handles, in the show notes for you. So, thank you so much for listening today. If you like us, please follow us on social media. We’re on every channel @TheBrainyMoms. If you would rather watch us, we are on YouTube, and if you wanna be a guest on our show or suggest a guest for our show, uh, you can email me directly: DrAmy(at)learningrx(dot)com. Or you can visit BrainyMoms.co. So look, until next time, we know that you’re busy moms. And we’re busy moms, so we’re out.
Dr. Jody Jedlicka: Have a good one, everyone.