Listed below are some of the very common questions for a parent as they start looking after their newborn. This is only a general advice and not an individualistic opinion for your baby. Please consult with your paediatrician if you have any questions
My baby cries a lot
Babies cry and that is a communication tool for them. The common reasons why baby’s cry are due to hunger, dirty diaper, lack of sleep, and they may be feeling too warm or too cold. Very often they might need bring out the wind after a feed and a good burping will help them. They may feel too tight in their clothing and loosening them might help. Sometimes they may have tummy cramps (infantile colic). It is very normal for newborn babies to cry more in the night and sleep mostly in the daytime. This pattern will last for 2-3 months.
Cry is also associated with pain or an underlying medical condition. As you spend more time with your baby you would be able to differentiate the normal cry from abnormal painful cry and please contact your doctor.
What is normal newborn babies sleep pattern
Newborn babies can sleep upto 16-18 hours a day in total, but everytime they don’t donet sleep more than 2 to 4 hours at a time during the first few weeks of life and some babies sleep more in the daytime. Sleep is essential for their brain development. At about 4-6 months most babies are capable of sleeping for 8-12 hours at a stretch. Some infants may start sleeping for long stretches as early as 6-8 weeks. Please be aware that if your baby is sleepier than normal or not interested in feeds this could mean that the baby is not well and please consult with your doctor
How often newborn babies open bowels
There is no defined rule. Exclusively breastfed babies may pass stools 3-4 times a day or only once every 3-4 days. It is ideal for formula fed babies to open bowels once everyday. As long as the stool is normal and easy to pass, baby not vomiting and feeding well without any swelling of the tummy there is no need to worry. It is very normal for some babies to strain and cry before passing the stools.
My baby has hiccups. Is this normal?
Hiccups are caused by sudden contractions of the diaphragm muscle due to irritation or stimulation. Usually they happen after a feed and very often this can be associated with the reflux of stomach contents. Your baby is not harmed by this in anyway. Very rarely this can be associated with other medical conditions.
What can I do to maintain baby’s skin in good health?
Newborn baby’s skin is usually soft and delicate. Skin conditions like diaper rash, cradle cap, or other types of skin rashes are very common and usually doesn’t harm baby’s skin but can irritate but them. Many babies are prone to skin irritation in the first few months after birth. The common problems as below
Diaper/Nappy Rash- If the baby has red skin around the diaper area it is usually diaper rash. They can vary in severity from mild redness to ulceration in the worst-case scenario. Diaper rashes occur due to skin irritation with the diapers that are too tight or wet and left on for too long. Some babies may not like a particular brand of detergent, diapers, or baby wipes. Try to keep the diaper area open to the air as long as possible, and change them as soon as they are wet. After changing and cleaning the diaper area you may apply zinc oxide cream.
Prickly heat rash
These are small pink-red spots caused due to sweating and mostly appear on neck, genital area and armpits. This can be minimised by keeping your baby as cool and dry as possible and make him/ her wear loose cotton clothes. Avoid using too much powder on your baby’s skin. Avoid powdering till your baby is at least four to six months old.
Lots of babies have birthmarks. They may be there when your baby is born, or they might show up a few months or weeks later. Usually birthmarks are nothing to worry about and don’t need any treatment. But if it is changing colour and increasing in size rapidly please talk to your doctor.
How can I wash my baby’s cloths?
Ensure that all your baby clothes, even pillow covers, bed sheets, blankets and towels are washed separately. Use a very mild detergent to clean your baby’s laundry.
How can I bath my baby?
It is generally advised to give a sponge bath in babies less than 2.5 kg. In the initial phases you can just use plain/mild warm water. As your baby becomes older you can use mild soap to bath. Wash your baby with your hand or a washcloth from top to bottom, front and back. If dried mucus has collected in the corners of your baby’s nose or eyes, dab it several times to soften it before you wipe it out. Baby skin is very sensitive and make sure you wash away the soap with water. If your baby has got dry skin apply baby lotion after the bath when his skin is still damp and gently pat dry.
Can I Massage my baby’s skin
Yes you can. This will be relaxing for the baby and also keeps skin healthy, and a better sleep. Gently massage your baby’s skin with oil.
How can I keep my baby safe?
Please try the following steps to keep your baby safe
- Exclusive breastfeed your baby for 6 months. The benefits of breastfeeding and breast milk are many.
- Take your baby for immunizations on time to prevent against common childhood infections
- Make sure you always put your baby to sleep on her back to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (commonly known as SIDS). Sleep in the same room as your infant — but not in the same bed.
- Don’t overdress your child. This can prevent your baby from overheating.
- Prevent your baby from choking by cutting her food into small bites. Also, don’t let her play with small toys and other things that might be easy for her to swallow eg coins. Keep any medications in your house safe away from the reach of your baby.
- Don’t allow your baby to play with anything that might cover her face eg., pillows, crib bumpers, toys, or soft bedding like a blanket
- Never carry hot liquids or foods near your baby or while holding him.
- Do not shake your baby―ever! Babies have very weak neck muscles that are not yet able to support their heads. If you shake your baby, you can damage his brain or even cause his death.
- Do not allow anyone to smoke in your home.
- Try to use a car seat if travelling in a car and rear mid seats are the safest for your baby. Please wear a seatbelt for yourself.
Authour:Dr.S.Boopathi MD, DNB, MRCPCH(UK)