Congratulations on the new arrival in your family. New parents spend so much time taking care of the pregnancy they often feel unprepared for the baby. Here’s what doctors advise for the best health of your baby.
Breastfeed Right After Birth
Baby needs breastfeeding just after birth. And every superb doctor knows the importance of first breastfeeding immediately after birth. A baby-friendly hospital will help you put your baby to the breast right after birth and it is vital to successful breastfeeding.
Many mothers make only a little volume of breast milk for the first time. And that’s all your baby needs for the first three days – yellowish thick milk called colostrum boosts baby’s immunity.
Breastfeed frequently and do not feed top-milk. This will increase your prolactin levels, helping you make more milk.
Do Not Delay Breastfeeding Over Misinformation
Here are some commonly spread misleading information about breastfeeding.
- Milk production will take some time after delivery.
- Milk production will start once you start a good diet.
- You need to rest after your Cesarean delivery – Breastfeeding can wait.
- It is difficult to breastfeed in a lying down position after Cesarean delivery.
- First yellow milk is not good for the baby.
Breastfeed On Demand
Do Not Skip Night-time Breastfeeding
Babies demand feeds more often during night. Adjust your sleep so you can breastfeed more frequently during night.
One of the biggest mistakes some mothers make is to give top-milk during night. Less frequent breastfeeding at night will reduce your breast milk supply. Breastfeed every 2-3 hourly during night.
Yes, breastfeeding is a demanding responsibility. But it’s the easiest and healthiest choice.
Burp your baby after breastfeeding – hold the baby in an upright position and gently tap the back of the baby for 5-10 minutes.
Your baby may vomit out a little milk. Vomiting small amounts of curdled milk 2-3 times a day is normal and nothing to be worried about.
Doctor will check your baby’s weight at birth and before discharge from hospital. Your baby may lose up to 10% of birth weight over first 5 days. It is necessary for the normal growth of your baby. After 5 days, your baby will gain 20-30 grams per day.
If your baby is born too soon or weigh less than 2500 grams at birth, breastfeed more frequently. You may also have to express your breast milk and feed it to your baby after breastfeeding. Baby’s doctor will check baby’s blood glucose for the first 24 hours and help you with breastfeeding.
Breastfeed exclusively for 6 months – give nothing else, not even water.
Take Special Care In Winters
- Babies are at very high risk of getting too cold because they are less capable to produce body heat. Protect them from cold.
- Keep room temperature around 26-28°C – neither too cold, nor too hot.
- Keep your baby dry.
- Keep your baby well dressed according to temperature. A general rule is: Baby should wear one extra layer of dress than you. So if you are comfortable in two layers of clothes, your baby should wear three.
- Dress in layers of cotton clothes. Two or three layers of cotton clothes is much better than one sweater.
- Winter dress:
- Cotton cap
- Mittens (hand gloves)
- Cotton vest
- Full sleeves cotton shirt
- Woolen sweater (while outdoors)
- Cover your baby with a light blanket. Do not use thick or fluffy blanket – these may block baby’s breathing.
- Never cover your baby’s face with blanket or any cloth.
- Cap, mittens and socks are very important in winters.
Avoid Excess Heat In Summers
- During summers, dress your baby in loose cotton clothes.
- Keep your baby indoors. Exposure to direct sunlight can quickly cause dehydration in babies.
- Maintain a comfortable room temperature. Avoid exposing the baby to direct airflow from the air-conditioner or cooler.
Keep Baby’s Clothes Ready At Birth
Parents-to-be often forget to arrange clothes for their baby before birth. And when the time comes, they run for clothes. Here is what you can do to avoid last minute hassle:
- Buy at least 3-4 pairs of clothes for the baby.
- Get blankets, bed sheets, caps, socks, mittens and nappies.
- Wash all new clothes and pack them all in a clean bag.
- Now you are ready to welcome your baby.
Treat Promptly If Your Baby Is Cold Or Too Hot
Check baby’s temperature with thermometer. Follow these steps if temperature is more than 36°C:
– Remove wet clothes
– Make sure room temperature is not too cold
– Keep your baby in skin-to-skin contact (Learn How)
– Breastfeed your baby
– Recheck baby’s temperature after 30 minutes
– Dress your baby appropriately with 2-3 layers of clothes
Immediately consult baby’s doctor if:
– Baby’s temperature is less than 36°C
– Baby is not breastfeeding well
– Baby’s temperature does not improve after 30 minutes of skin-to-skin contact
Consult baby’s doctor if:
– Both baby’s belly, and palms and soles feels cold
– Baby feels too hot (feverish)
– Baby’s belly feels feverish but palms and soles feels cold
3. Skin Care And Bathing
Bathing Your Baby
Avoid Bathing For The First 7 Days
- Because babies have a high risk of getting too cold after birth.
- But if needed, you can sponge wipe your baby with clothes on.
- Take lukewarm water in a bowl.
- Wet a cotton wool and gently wipe your baby’s eyelids in nose-to-ear direction.
- Use fresh cotton for another eye.
- Wet a cotton washcloth and gently wipe baby’s face.
- Take a soft towel and pat it dry. Do not rub.
- Wipe soiled body parts one by one from top to bottom. Pat dry wet parts before proceeding to next one.
- Wash diaper area in front-to-back direction at last.
Bath 2-3 Times A Week
- Bathing should not take more than 10 minutes.
- Bath two or three times a week – avoid daily baths. Sponge wipe your baby in winters to conserve heat.
- Avoid using soap to bathe your baby – it makes your baby’s skin dry.
- Bathe your baby in a warm room with no airflow.
- Take lukewarm water.
- Gently clean baby’s eyelids before undressing.
- Wash your baby from head to bottom, taking care of underarms, neck and behind ears.
- Clean diaper area and check for rashes.
- Pat dry with cotton towel. Take care to dry underarms, neck, behind ears and diaper area before dressing your baby.
Massaging Makes Your Baby Happy
Massaging relieves stress – your baby sleeps well, plays more and cries less.
Daily massaging helps your baby recognize and respond to you better.
When to massage?
- Massaging is not a chore. You shouldn’t do it because you have to. It’s a playtime for you and baby.
- Massage when your baby is awake but calm. Do not massage when the baby is crying, sleeping or you are in a hurry.
- Your baby may vomit if you massage soon after breastfeeding – wait for about half an hour.
Prepare for massage
- Get a warm area comfortable for the baby.
- Oil is unnecessary. There is no added benefit of oil in baby massage. It may cause skin allergies in some babies.
- If you want to, use unscented edible oils like safflower, coconut or olive oil.
- Do not use mustard or scented oils – they harm baby skin.
How to massage?
- Be gentle – use fine touch.
- Gently rub and rhythmically stroke baby body parts – head, neck, shoulders, back, waist, thighs, legs, hands and feet.
- Gently fold and unfold baby’s limbs.
- Sing a song to your baby while massaging.
- Watch how your baby responds – if the baby seems unhappy, stop the massage for now. If not, continue gentle touch and playing with your baby.
- Massage for 10-15 minutes at a time.
4. Kangaroo Mother Care
Kangaroo Care is holding the baby directly in skin-to-skin contact on your chest with no clothes in between.
It protects your baby against infections and boost brain development.
5. Making An Ideal Environment For Your Baby Is Very Easy
- Bright light annoys your baby and makes them fussy. Dim the lights in your baby’s room – use curtains in the day. Switch off the lights when your baby is asleep.
- Similarly, babies cannot tolerate loud noises. And for a baby, our chit-chat is too loud. Talk softly in your baby’s room. Do not invite guests in your baby’s room.
- When mother is awake, she should be close with her baby in same bed. Place the baby in a cradle before mother sleeps.
- Baby’s mattress should be firm, and bed sheet should tightly fit over the mattress. Do not use fluffy bed sheets or blankets for your baby as these may block baby’s breathing.
- Do not place soft toys, pillows, polythene or anything unnecessary near your baby.
- Never cover your baby’s face.
- Keep your baby in a supine position with back on the bed and face up.
6. Why Is My Baby Crying?
- Babies cry for two reasons – either they are hungry or uncomfortable.
- Do not let your baby cry because of hunger – breastfeed as soon as baby shows early signs of hunger.
- Check baby’s nappy when your baby cries – change if wet.
- It is normal for your baby to cry before passing urine.
- If your baby is crying continuously, there may be something wrong – a tummy ache, ear pain, nappy rashes or an infection. Consult baby’s doctor if your baby cries inconsolably.
7. Urine And Stool
Most babies pass their first urine and stools within 24 hours after birth. Consult baby’s doctor if your baby haven’t urinated or defecated within 24 hours.
After 3 days, your baby should urinate 6-10 times daily. And this means your baby is getting a good breastfeeding. Consult baby’s doctor if your baby has voided less than 6 times in a day.
Baby’s first stools appear dark-green called as meconium. Color changes from green to yellowish over the first week.
On the fourth day after birth, a well breastfed baby should defecate more than 4 times a day.
After 2 weeks, breastfed babies normally defecate 10-15 times a day. This is not diarrhea.
Wet diaper area soon develops skin infection – keep it dry. Use home made nappy instead of diaper. They are easy to detect when wet. Check baby’s nappy before breastfeeding and in between. Change as soon as soiled.
8. Saving Your Baby From Coronavirus
- Your baby has little ability to fight diseases. Do your best to avoid infection.
- If you are a non-working mother, stay home and avoid unprotected contact with family members who go outside.
- Avoid guests or family gatherings.
- Do not take your baby outdoors except for a doctor’s visit.
- Cover your mouth while coughing or sneezing.
- Clean your hands with soap and water before touching your baby.
9. When To Visit A Doctor?
Babies develop jaundice after birth. This jaundice is because of ongoing changes in a baby’s body and not because of infection. In most babies, this jaundice peaks on fifth day and gradually subsides with no treatment. But it is necessary to visit your baby’s doctor on the fourth or fifth day after birth for jaundice check-up.
Baby’s doctor can easily judge jaundice levels just by looking at the baby. Doctor will order blood tests if jaundice appears high. High jaundice is harmful to the baby’s brain and needs immediate treatment.
Phototherapy decreases high levels of jaundice in 24-48 hours. Doctors keep the baby under special blue lights. You need to continue breastfeeding more often during phototherapy.
In most babies, jaundice levels are low, which needs no treatment. Do not keep the baby in sunlight to decrease jaundice levels – it is harmful for the baby. Baby may get too hot or cold because of prolonged exposure to sunlight in an open environment.
Immediately consult your baby’s doctor:
- If baby’s skin appear yellowish within 2 days after birth.
- If baby’s skin appear too yellowish with yellow palms and soles.
Get your baby vaccinated as scheduled. First vaccination (BCG, Hepatitis B and OPV) will be done before your baby is discharged from hospital. Next vaccination will be done at one and half month’s age. Remember to keep your baby’s vaccination card updated.
Baby’s doctor will also check your baby’s weight on every follow-up visit to keep a track of baby’s growth.
Immediately Consult Baby’s Doctor If Your Baby Shows Any Of These Danger Signs
- Difficulty in breathing – fast breathing (more than 60 breaths per minute), chest in-drawing, grunting or nasal flaring
- Apnea – stopped breathing for more than 5 seconds
- Baby feels cold (hypothermia) or too hot (fever)
- Difficulty in feeding – baby does not wake up for feeding or does not suck properly or frequently vomits
- Lethargy or coma
- Too irritable crying inconsolably
- Baby’s skin appear pale
- Baby’s skin appear too yellowish or appear yellow within 2 days after birth
- Baby’s skin appear bluish
- Bleeding from any site
- Discharge from umbilicus
10. Never Do This To Your Baby
“The old order changeth yielding place to new.
And God fulfills himself in many ways.
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.”
भारतीय संस्कृति अति-प्राचीन एवं विविध है। हमने समय के साथ पुरानी रीतियों का त्याग किया है और नयी परम्पराओं की शुरुआत की है। यह बदलाव जरुरी भी है अन्यथा धीरे-धीरे कुरीतियां अपनी जगह बना लेती हैं।
जो आदतें हमारे शिशुओं को हानि पहुचाये वो शुभ नहीं हो सकती हैं। इन्हीं कुछ कुरीतियों का वर्णन नीचे दिया गया है जो हमारे शिशुओं की दुर्दशा की जिम्मेदार हैं। आईये शपथ लें की हमारे शिशुओं को इन अशुभ आदतों से बचाएँ।
- शिशु को जन्म लेने के तुरंत बाद केवल माँ का दूध पिलाएं। शहद नहीं चटाएं। चाय नहीं पिलाएं। घुट्टी, गंगाजल इत्यादि कुछ भी नहीं दें। ये सब हमें भले ही नुकसान न करें लेकिन शिशु की नाजुक आँतों के लिए ये जहर समान है।
- माँ और बच्चा जन्म से पहले भी और जन्म के बाद भी एक ही हैं। किसी भी कारण से बच्चे को माँ से अलग नहीं करें।
- जन्म के बाद पहली बार माँ का दूध पिलाने में देरी नहीं करें।
- शिशु की नाल व नाभि पर गोबर इत्यादि कुछ नहीं लगाएं। इस से शिशु को जानलेवा संक्रमण हो जाता है।
- शिशु को बोतल से दूध नहीं पिलाएं। बोतल से पिलाया गया दूध धीमा जहर है जो धीरे-धीरे शिशु की आँतों को गलाता है। आंतें गलने के बाद शिशु को बार-बार पेट दर्द व दस्त होता है जिसके कारण शिशु को कमजोरी, खून की कमी व बार-बार संक्रमण होने लगते हैं। हम हमारे कई शिशुओं को इस व्याधि से खोते हैं।
- शिशु की आंखों में काजल नहीं लगाएं। ये शिशु की आँखों को नुकसान करती हैं।
Congratulations again! You have reached the end of this article. This article was brief and covers only the important aspects of baby care. But we are here to answer all questions you have. Contact us or ask in the comments below. We love to hear from you.