8 important things in baby care
A baby is born with a need to be loved – and never outgrows it. The birth of an infant is a time of great joy but also a time of significant change for families. Newborn care is of immense importance for the proper development and healthy life of a baby. Here are a few important things which you should know about-
The first important thing about baby care is feeding and mother’s feed is first and best nutrition for baby. Exclusive breast feeding for first 4-6 months of life will provide all almost nutrition including vitamins and minerals. When mother feed is not available for one or other reason, formula feed can be considered in hygienic manner whose composition should be equivalent to mother milk. A well fed baby means who is sleeping for few hours (approximately 2 hours after a feed) , passing urine at least 4-6 times daily and gaining weight appropriately. Hygienic feeding practices are utmost important for avoiding unnecessary infections like diarrhea.
Position the baby in semi-sitting position while feeding. This helps to keep air from entering his stomach. When babies drink milk, they may tend to swallow air, especially when drinking from a bottle. So to relieve stomach distension, burping is advised. Burping can be done in positions like over the shoulder, across the lap or sitting on lap. Not all babies have to burp, so if baby doesn’t burp, he/she probably doesn’t need to.
Vitamin D drops is usually recommended to normal newborn as breast milk is deficient in it. Calcium and iron supplements are recommended for low birth babies.
A baby’s first bowel movements consist of a sticky black or greenish brown material called meconium. By the fourth day of age, bowel movements should become the characteristic yellowish color produced by a milk diet. Some variations in color and texture can be normal, if the infant is healthy.
It is also one of the important aspects of newborn care. Baby should be appropriately covered to maintain normal body temperature and to prevent cold stress. Avoid unnecessary strong skin products like talcum, oil which may damage sensitive skin of baby.
Umbilical cord care
It doesn’t require any special care except for keeping it clean and dry. If the cord does become dirty for example, or if there is a small amount of drainage on or around the cord, simply wipe it with a warm, wet washcloth/cotton ball. Usually cord will drop in about 12-14 days after birth, during which one may notice some drainage and slight bleeding. This is normal, and all you need to do is just clean the cord site gently until the drainage stops. However, if the skin around the umbilical cord becomes reddened, firm, and/or has pus or a foul smell then call the doctor.
Most but not all newborn babies sleep a lot. Some sleep for as many as 18-20 hours a day, while others may sleep for only 8 hours a day. Some babies are more active and alert, while others are fussier and demanding. In general, as baby gets older, he/she will require fewer naps. Every baby is different and there is no set schedule. American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies should be put on their backs to sleep. There is a relationship between Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS or crib death) and babies sleeping in prone position.
Newborn sense organs
Interaction with newborn baby is one of the most important things which encourages his/her development and helps him/her feel loved and secure. Normal newborns can see, hear, feel, smell, taste, suck, swallow, follow with their eyes a short distance and also distinguish sounds. Newborns also show interest in human faces and voices so stimulus likes talking or singing with baby, patting or massaging the baby should be done.
When you should consult a doctor -
If any of the below signs are present you need to immediately consult a doctor-
- Excessive sleepiness, floppiness, or dullness
- Excessive crying, not accepting feeds
- Difficulty in breathing or chest retractions
- Bluish discoloration of lips or skin