A newborn baby is very vulnerable, sensitive, insecure, and dependent on his/her mother for every need. To an infant, a mother’s lap is the most secure place in the world as it assures represents a mother’s unflinching care. In joint families, the mother depends on her extended family and elders to support her during this period. These advisors tell her what is good for the baby and what is not. In nuclear families, such support is usually not available, forcing the husband and wife to take up the burden of this responsibility alone.
Here are a few important points to follow to ensure for the proper care of a newborn:
- All newborns require milk to survive. The best option is natural mother’s milk, but in cases where the mother is unable to feed her baby due to delayed lactation or another health problem, powdered formula milk can be used. Alternatively, cow milk can be used if it is mixed with purified water in a 50:50 ratio.
- The way to feed your newborn is also very important. When a baby sucks milk, he/she is sucking an equal amount of air. Thus, it is important to make the baby burp by holding him straight (so that his/her head is on your shoulders) and rubbing his/her back in an upward motion. Burping should be done after each feeding. Afterwards, place pillows around your baby to make him/her lie on his/her side. This will prevent throw from getting into your baby’s nose or eyes in the event he/she gets sick while they sleep.
- A newborn needs only milk during their first six months. Food and water are unnecessary.
- A newborn can pass stool 8 to10 times a day, and since they are only ingesting milk, it will usually be very loose. Babies who drink formula milk will usually pass semisolid stool. Certain infants pass stool on alternating days, and occasionally every 3 to 4 days. If your baby passes stool more than 15 times in a single day, consult your doctor. Similarly, if your baby does not pass stool for more than 8 days, mix together a1/2 tablespoon of castor oil or ½ tablespoon of asafetida into some purified water, and feed it to the child.
- It is important to keep your baby clean, so bathing regularly is very important. To bath your newborn, take lukewarm water and hold the baby in a sleeping position with his/her head slightly raised. Cover your child’s ears with your fingers and dip his/her lower body up to the neck. Apply mild soap on alternating days, before dipping the baby into the lukewarm water. Put the baby on a towel and wipe his/her body. Afterwards, apply a moisturizing lotion, then place your newborn in fresh cloths.
- Many people have a misconception regarding keeping their baby warm, and end up wrapping their newborn in cloth rather then putting him in an actual outfit. Keeping babies warm in the winter season is good, but wrapping them in such a way will make them feel overly hot. It is important to maintain a consistent temperature that is neither hot nor cold, while allowing the baby to remain free enough to move his/her hands and legs to play.
- Try to keep your newborn away from crowded spaces and never put your infant in another person’s lap. This can cause discomfort to the baby and sometimes leads to infection. Only allow others to touch your baby after they have thoroughly washed their hands with antiseptic solution.
- Keep watch of the your newborn’s weight and other milestones.
- If your baby drinks milk from a feeder, make sure said feeder is sterilized properly and the nipple is changed each month. Be sure to change the bottle every six months as well.
- Try to look for distressing symptoms, such as your baby no longer interacting or gesturing, become overly calm, breathing too fast, or not drinking their milk. If you notice any of the above, consult a pediatrician immediately.
- Keep a track of your newborn’s immunizations.
Finally, a newborn’s health depends indirectly on his/her mother’s health. The food and nutrition that the mother receives will be transmitted into the baby’s body via her milk. Similarly, if the mother has a cold, cough, fever, or other health problem, it will affect her baby as well.