Guide for new mothers and common newborn problems
9 months of pregnancy, pain of labor and delivery, all of that passed, now your baby between your hands. It’s a big responsibility, your happiness is mixed with a little of fear. How you will deal with that, these tips can help you to feel more confident about caring for a newborn.
HANDLING A NEWBORN
- Wash your hands or use sanitizer before handling your baby.
- Do not shake your newborn.
- Support your baby’s head and neck when you carry him.
Before your baby umbilical cord stump falls off between 10 days and 3 weeks after birth, its best to sponge bath him to avoid getting the cord stump wet. Once the cord stump has fallen off, your baby is ready for a real bath in the baby bath tub.
CHANGING THE DIAPER
- Clean the diaper area after removing the diaper with baby wipes and apply one of diaper cream to prevent diaper rash. Change the diaper after every poo and after every nap and feed.
- The baby’s first poo is thick and greenish, it’s called meconium. It happens on the first 48 hours. If it doesn’t happen, you should ask your doctor.
- Breast feeding baby has 1-6 bowel movements. The poo is yellow and little loose. That is normal and not a diarrhea.
- Formula feeding baby has bowel movement every 1-2 days and that is normal.
- When your baby has changed in the frequency and texture of stool, ask your doctor.
- If your baby wets his diaper frequently, that means he is feeding well and received enough milk.
- Your breast milk will come in a few days after delivery. The first days after delivery, the breast produces colostrum. This thick yellowish substance is full of protein and antibodies that increases your baby’s immunity.
- Feed your hungry newborn on demand whenever he wants to eat.
- Newborns need usually 10-12 feeds/ 24 hours.
- When establishing your milk supply, feed your baby every 3 hours.
Signs that your baby is feeding well:
- You feel your breast is soft after feeding
- Sleeps 2-3 hours after feeding
- Wet his diaper frequently
- He gains weight
NEWBORN UMBILICAL CORD CARE
When you change the baby’s nappy, pay special attention to the area at the base of the cord. Wipe it gently and try to allow air to reach the cord stump.
Let the cord stump fall on its own. Any erythema, pus or bleeding coming from this area, ask your doctor immediately.
HOW MUCH SHOULD A NEWBORN SLEEP?
- NEWBORN: 16-20 hours per day. Baby will wake up every 3 hours for feeding.
- 6 WEEKS: 15-16 hours
- 6 MONTHS: 11 hours + 2 naps
- 1 YEAR: 10-11 hours + 2 naps
Most newborns have mild jaundice because their liver is still maturing. Often appears in 2-4 days old and disappears by 2 weeks of age.
When should you ask for medical attention?
- If jaundice appears on the first day of life especially if you have Type “O” or negative blood group
- If jaundice is severe and the color appears on the abdomen and legs
- If jaundice don’t disappear at 2 weeks of age
- If the baby looks ill, not active and not feeding well
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR BABY HAS COLIC?
- Any healthy baby that feeds well and cries for more than 3 hours a day, 3 times per week for more than 3 weeks. Starting 2 weeks of age and goes away on its own around 4 months of age.
- The causes are gas, moody baby, hormone that causes stomach pain, oversensitivity by light and noise.
- To reduce it, help your baby swallow less air by soothing the baby with sound and motion, walk or rock and use gas drops. Sometimes it will benefit, but if not ask your Doctor.
PREVENTION FROM SUDDEN INFANT DEATH SYNDROME
- Back to sleep
- Keep the crib as bare as possible and use a firm mattress
- Don’t over heat the baby
- Have the baby sleep in parents room until age 1
- Breastfeed your baby if possible
WHEN SHOULD YOU ASK MEDICAL ATTENTION?
- Your baby is not sucking or feeding well
- He has fever
- Continuous vomiting
- Crying a long period and you can’t calm the baby
- Has diarrhea or constipation
- Jaundice that appears at first day of life or after 2 weeks of age
- Look pale or mottling, or has cyanosis
- Has fast respiratory rate
- Bleeding, redness and pus from umbilical cord
REGULAR PEDIATRIC CLINIC VISIT
When baby is discharge from the hospital, usually he will receive Vitamin K for preventing bleeding and HEPA B and TB VACCINE. Baby should have detailed examination by Pediatrician within 24 to 48 hours after discharge to detect any abnormality and Jaundice.
Regular visits after that is very important even the baby appears well within the first year of age, to evaluate the growth and development and to receive the vaccination.
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