Taking Care of New Born Baby Under 1 Month
In physiological jaundice inborn children may develop yellow of the eyes on 3rd or 4th day. This may appear in a week or two. But if the jaundice develops on the first day and also generally increase its intensity, a doctor should be consulted. When the child is born, he will give a deep lusty cry. He can cough and sneeze and that will enable him to expel the foreign material he might have swallowed during his birth. But he is entirely dependent upon the mother for his care in infancy. He has certain reflexes. He can suck well and take his feed from the birth.
Because the child cannot regulate his temperature he should be protected from extremes of heat and cold till his temperature regulating mechanism becomes perfect. He ought to be covered well and protected from sudden changes in the weather. For this cotton clothes should be used. A pair of socks also are good to cover his feet in the early phase.
It is better to make the child sleep separately from the mother. Generally a cloth cradle is used in most of the Indian homes for child’s sleep in the villages. Various types of cradle made up of cane wood are good for general use. The room must be well ventilated and there must be good breeze. In case of the blast or breeze the new born must be protected. Making the child sleep in the dark chambers with no light whatever is not at all advisable. There must be partially diffused light where you make your child sleep. Keeping the new born in a closed place may cause him lung infection etc.
Baby’s Skin Care
New born’s skin being extremely sensitive and tender, so great care has to be exercised in wrapping it up in the softest possible clothes for dressing it up and during its sleep. Even mosquito bite can cause trouble to it. Hence proper measure ought to be taken.
Sometimes there are red, violet or blush patches of colour on the skin of the baby. In most cases these patches tend to disappear on their own with time accordingly, but in a few cases the coloured patches may remain permanently. There marks are called the ‘Birth Mark’s. In some cases small red or whitish rashes or pimples like prickly heat may develop on skin of the baby within two or three days of being born. These also should not cause any concern, as they subside spontaneously.
Cleaning of eyes every day with wads of cotton dipped in previously boiled lukewarm water. Use a different wad for each eye. If the eye-lids stick, or because of discharge that appears in the corners of the eyes, some boric acid should be added to the boiled water which is to be used for cleaning the eyes. If flecks like drops of blood appear in the eyes, there is no cause for concern. They usually disappear. Avoid using ‘Kajals’ of carbon black to line the eyes of the new born.
Baby’s Head and Ear Care
If baby’s scalp is covered with dandruff like scales, don’t worry too much about them. They will shed naturally with time. Of course oil, preferably castor oil, can be rubbed lightly into the scalp to help this process. Frequent cleaning of the ear of the baby with match sticks with their end covered with cotton-wool prevents accumulation of wax in the ears. On no account should uncovered hard matchsticks be used to scrap the ears, nor should oil be dropped into them as both there procedures are potentially harmful. Use only soft cotton buds to clean the ears of the new born.
The umbilicus and the umbilical cord care
In the initial period the umbilical cord of the new born baby should be inspected every six hours or so. If blood is seen oozing out of it, it can be tied up again with twine. If bleeding persists a doctor must be consulted. Normally all that is required is to clean the umbilicus and attached portions of the cord with cotton wool wetted with spirit or with a solution of a disinfectant like Savlon or Dettol, apply an antiseptic powder such as Neosporin, and bandage it up with clean cloth. The cord will dry up, shrivel and drop of in fire to the days. Keep on applying Neosporin ointment even when the umbilicus feels dry and rough.
If the baby is born in a hospital, the baby will have been given the necessary vaccines before discharge. The normal procedure is to begin with BCG at that time, and initiate courses of triple vaccine and polio vaccine from the third month. They are meant to immunise the baby against T.B. (tuberculosis), Poliomyelitis (Polio), diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus.
Immediate Nutritional Care
A healthy baby can be straight away put on breast milk. Certainly it is permissible to give the baby cool water or glucose solution as the first drink after birth, but it is essential that the baby be put to breast at the earliest possible moment, so that it gets all the advantages of imbibing colostrums (the first thick milk produced in the mother’s breasts, which has great immunological and nutritive value). The flow of milk in the mother’s breasts is also quickened by the sucking of the baby.
Daily bath is also necessary to the babies. A baby may not be given a bath everyday in some busy and crowded hospitals. In that case the baby can be just wiped in early phase with some soft and milk oils, and later with warm water.