Patients Guide

Pediatrics

HANDLING YOUR BABY

Crying??
Do not hesitate to pick your child up when she cries. It is most important for a baby to have a feeling of security after birth. Crying is often a signal that she needs something. Don't worry about disciplining the child at this stage. I am all for discipline, but let that come later, when the child is reassured that she is loved and wanted. 

Sometimes, a baby who was quite at peace in hospital may start crying unduly on reaching home. Perhaps she needs time to adjust to her new surroundings. She will almost certainly settle in 2 to 3 days.

If you are worried that your baby is crying because you are not producing enough breast milk for her, watch the colour of her urine. If she is getting only your milk (without additional water), and keeps passing a light-coloured urine, that is a sure sign that she is getting enough milk. The crying is then due to other reasons .

Is Your Milk Suitable For Your Baby?

Your milk - thin, thick, yellowish, bluish or white - is always right for your baby. Breastfeeding is to be continued even if the mother is suffering from asthma, malaria, cold, typhoid or tuberculosis. It is important not to give any glucose water or any other milk for the first few days, because the first yellowish milk (colostrum) produced then, though small in amount, is enough to meet all the needs of the baby. Even if you have to work outside the home, it is dangerous to start bottle-feeding with the assumption that the baby should get used to it. Working mothers can breastfeed successfully without ever using a bottle.

You can feed in any position - lying down, sitting or reclining, as is convenient for you. The important point is that the position of the baby at the breast should be correct. This is based on the fact that breast milk collects in the dilated ducts that lie underneath the areola, the dark portion behind the nipple of the breast. The breast should be put into the baby's mouth so that much of the areola - especially the portion below the nipple - is not visible while the baby is suckling. Let the baby keep suckling from one breast even if she seems to have fallen asleep and her eyes are closed. Offer the other breast only when the baby releases the first breast on her own. If the baby is satisfied with only one side, offer her the other breast at the next feed. If you have twins, milk from one breast is enough for one baby.

Some mothers' breasts feel heavy or congested 3 to 4 days after delivery. This means that the mother is not feeding the baby enough. She should offer the baby frequent feeds or express the milk for the next 2 to 3 feeds. If the heaviness is allowed to remain, the mother will feel more discomfort and the baby will have difficulty in suckling. 

If the baby starts sucking her fingers, do not jump to the conclusion that she is not getting enough milk from you. Observe the baby's urine; its light colour indicates that the baby is getting her required quota of milk. Here, it may be mentioned that a baby may pass yellowish urine if she is given vitamins or if she sweats more because of heavy clothing.

 

10 Important Points For The Care Of Your Newborn

 
Aim for direct skin-to-skin contact with your baby soon after birth.
 
A crying baby may need body contact. Pick her up; don't worry about spoiling her.
 
Bathe a newborn with plain lukewarm water for the first 7 to 10 days of life. Soap and oil may be used later. There is no need to buy medicated soaps and expensive baby soaps and oils. In fact, some babies may develop skin rash with their use. Any non-scented bath soap and a locally preferred oil like til (sesame) oil, coconut oil, groundnut oil or mustard oil is adequate. Refined groundnut oil, available in most homes, is a possible substitute. There is no need to go in for almond or olive oil. Talcum powder, including special baby powder, irritates a baby's nostrils and can cause severe lung disease. At times, it gets caked in the skin folds. Avoid using all types of powders. If you feel you must use it, restrict its application to the nappy area or where the skin tends to chafe. Never buy prickly heat powders; they are often medicated and unsafe for babies. Some children get skin rashes with besan (gram flour) or malai (milk cream). In general, we do not recommend their application.
 
Relatives should massage or bathe the baby. If a servant is hired, she should be closely supervised to ensure she does not give too vigorous a massage.
 
Some newborns may have swollen breasts that subside on their own after a few weeks. Pressing the breasts to squeeze 'milk' out of them can be dangerous and should never be done.
 
Do not try to push the foreskin of a male child's penis to separate it from the soft front portion. It is meant to protect the delicate part of the penis.
 
Do not put oil into the ears and nostrils of the newborn. Oil, if aspirated into the lungs, can be dangerous. The baby's nose may sometimes be obstructed by thick secretions. These should be moistened with cotton soaked in water and then removed gently with a clean cloth. Do not clean the tongue and mouth of a baby. Avoid pacifiers (dummies); besides interfering with proper feeding habits, pacifiers increase the risk of infections (including middle ear infection) and malocclusion of the teeth.
 
Never use earbuds or cotton buds for the baby. After a bath, use a corner of the towel to clean the external ear. The wax normally found in the ear canal protects it. Do not try to remove it. Also, do not blow into the baby's ears after a bath.
 
Never use surma for the baby's eyes. Quite a few such preparations contain lead, which can be dangerous for the baby.

 

 

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