Whether you choose to feed your baby breastmilk or formula is a personal choice. Most doctors recommend that the baby has breastmilk for at least 6 months after birth.
Bringing a baby into this world is a cause for much celebration. In the joy of cradling the new born, you must not forget a few important precautions and care-techniques that will ensure the health and safety of the baby. Our every step should help the new born adjust to the new environment at a healthy pace.
BATHING & CLEANING THE BABY
For as long as you are at the hospital, the nurse will take the responsibility of bathing the infant. However, it will be helpful to check with the nurse or doctor, on the following:
Choosing between cloth diapers and the synthetic stick-on ones is a personal choice. Either way it is important to change the diaper every single time the baby wets it. Allowing the baby to stay in wet diapers for prolonged periods can lead to diaper rash or other infections.
To discuss with your doctor:
Consult with a lactation specialist to get a better understanding of breastfeeding. It is recommended that the baby has exclusive breastmilk for at least 6 months after birth.
With the consent of the parents most hospitals immunize the infant before he/she leaves the hospital. These vaccines are absolutely important to the well-being of the child. Before getting discharged:
Remember that the baby has been safe and snug in the womb for months together. It will take a few days for the baby’s body temperature to adjust to its environment. Keeping him/her warm is imperative. If your bedroom is air-conditioned, make sure there are enough blankets to keep the baby cosy. If you find his/her palms and feet turning cold, mittens and booties will help. Before getting discharged find out how to check the baby’s body temperature and what is the normal temperature.
Within the first week of birth, the baby will lose a weight. This is nothing to be alarmed about. However, after this, the baby should show a steady weight-gain. If you feel that your baby is not putting on weight, check with your paediatrician. Do not supplement the baby’s diet without consulting with the doctor.
The baby’s sleep pattern might be rather unpredictable for the first couple of weeks. Initially he/she may even sleep for 11-15 hours a day. This is normal and necessary.
The baby needs to have some time in the sun for fresh air and Vitamin D. Avoid taking him/her out in harsh sun-times like at mid-day. The gentle rays of the sun early in the morning, are the best. While outdoors, stay in the shade as much as possible. Use sunscreen only if recommended by your doctor.
Everyone in the family is excited to meet the new-born. Even our best friends would love to stop by. However, since the baby is still adapting to the environment and his/her immune system is slowly getting stronger, it’s best to keep visitors at a bare minimum. And today, given the pandemic situation one it is best that the new-born comes in contact with very few people. And those who are allowed to handle the child, must sanitize their hands before doing so.
Skin-to-skin touch is extremely important to give the infant a sense of security and to learn familiarity. In most hospitals, this is done as soon as the child is born. The new born is placed on the mother’s chest to ease the baby’s stress and to also calm down the mother who has just gotten through the pain of labour. Establishing a skin-to-skin bond with the father is also necessary and helps build their relationship from day 1. The baby’s bond with the mother is easily established and strengthened every time she feeds him/her. Setting a routine that gives the father and the infant alone-time will help build a bond there too. In case there is an older sibling, parents must ensure that the older one child does not feel left out and neglected. It is imperative that the older sibling handles the baby only under adult supervision.
These are just some of the basic aspects of New Born Care. No matter how many books and articles you read, when the baby finally arrives, it will be unlike anything you have read. Do not expect your child to fit perfectly into the categories set by books and articles. Each child is different. Their individual needs differ. They will hit developmental milestones at their own pace. Provide a nurturing and caring environment for your child to grow and watch him/her thrive.
CHIEF CONSULTANT – PEDIATRICS
MBBS, DCH, MD (PEDIATRICS), PGD (DEVELOPMENT NEUROLOGY)