So here is your baby that you’ve been protecting and nurturing inside you for so long. Some women experience a strange feeling of recognisation. Although this is the first time they’ve seen their baby’s face (except, perhaps, on ultrasound scans), they somehow “know” their baby already.
Feel free to keep your baby with you if you can. The paediatrician will make sure all is well and the nurses will do tasks such as labelling and weighing. A baby’s birth-weight varies according to the length of pregnancy and his or her own health, inherited build and racial extraction. But the average full-term newborn girl weight 140g (5Oz) less than the average full-term newborn boy. Once the weighing is done, you’ll be able to have as long a cuddle as you like.
If you need medical care, ask if your baby can stay in a crib by your bed and if necessary, be lifted into your arms whenever you ask. If the baby needs special care, ask whether you can have a room near the special care unit or whether the baby is well enough to be looked after in an incubator by your bed and perhaps “kangaroo style”
Babies are very vulnerable to getting too hot or cold, becoming dehydrated or starving hungry or being uncomfortably wet or soiled. Indeed, you may be surprised by just how much time it takes to care for just one small scrap of humanity! They also need plenty of focused attention and “TLC” (Tender, Loving care) if they’re to grow and develop as well as possible.
You’ll find as the weeks go by that you and your baby will begin to gaze into each other’s eyes. If you smile or talk, the baby will become still and attentive. When you’ve finished, he or she may coo, gurgle or even, after a few weeks, smile, while you watch attentively. This “dance of love” is then repeated all over again. This is the beginning of a shared pattern of Communication that will one day develop into speech.
Protection against Infection
Vaccines: You have likely heard about vaccines in the TV and media. You might be thinking about whether they are safe or how they function. Vaccines or Immunizations are safe, and they not just keep your kid healthy, they additionally keep others healthy by destroying what were common childhood sicknesses. Stay up-to-date on childhood immunizations or vaccines, what diseases the vaccines prevent, and when your kid should be vaccinated.
Some Do’s and Don’ts
- Tell your Doctor if your child is ill- the vaccination may need to be delayed until baby is better
- Tell your doctor if your child has had a previous allergic reaction to a vaccination/ any antibiotics/sensitive to yeast, has a history of convulsions, or has had a fever
- Feed your baby with the breast or bottle while the vaccination is given. This helps to endorphins to reduce the baby’s pain
- Most vaccines will result in fever, general grumpiness and, in some cases, pain at the site of injection. This can be treated in the same way as any fever and pain, with paracetamol syrup
- Don’t ever use surgical spirits to clean the site of vaccination.
- The BCG vaccine for TB results in a pussy crust about six weeks after it is given. If you interfere with this natural response the vaccine may need to be redone
Foods for the baby
Up to 4-6 months breast milk alone is sufficient for the baby. On no account is any extra fluid in the form of water or honey is necessary, even in summer
- No vitamins/nutrient supplements are necessary except Vitamin C and Vitamin K (given at birth)
- Feed your baby every 2 hours or adlib (as per the baby’s demand) and at least twice in the night. After feeds, place the baby in an upright position on your chest and pat the back gently, till the baby burps. Babies are prone to take in air along with milk, during sucking.
- If not burped, the baby will vomit out the stomach contents when lying down. Remember, however that a breast fed baby does not swallow much air (unlike bottle fed baby) unless the baby is in an unfavourable position while feeding
The baby has been having its quota of sleep and wakefulness in the uterus. A new born baby is most alert in the 1st ½ hour of its life. Afterwards, the baby goes off to sleep.
- The baby may sleep for 14-18 hours per day (for 2-4 hours at a stretch) before waking up for “meal-tim”. You may have to wake up the baby after 3 hours for a feed if Baby does not get up spontaneously.
- At night-time if the baby is fed before sleep, your night sleep will not be disturbed more than once or twice. Slowly over the next few days, the baby will develop a rhythm and sleep pattern
- Encourage your baby to sleep at night
- Do not let your baby sleep all day. Feed the baby and talk to baby in day time. Do not give bottle in the crib. Do not nurse your baby to sleep.
- Put the baby in the crib while awake; let your baby learn to put himself to sleep
- Give a chance to your baby to go back to sleep on its own, if baby wakes up at night and cries continuously, do the needful
Stools and Urine
During this 1st month, the baby initially may pass frequent stools. Sometimes passing stools after every feed (and up to 10 – 15 times / day). Soon it will settle to a routine of 2 – 4 times / day.
More frequent stools should not worry you unless;
- The baby loses weight excessively.
- The baby looks dehydrated or passes urine less than 4 – 5 times a day.
- The baby has fever / excessive crying / reduced sleep, etc.
Baby Cleaning / Bathing
Bathing and cleaning the baby is another learning experience and bonding activity for the parents. It not only helps you to bond with the baby but also gives you confidence in handling the baby. Initially you may find it difficult but soon get the hang of it. Babies have their ways to getting used to the ‘bath-ritual’. Some enjoy it from day 1, Others may cry initially before beginning to enjoy it. Do not be alarmed or be afraid if the baby cries during the bath. It is not your technique, which is faulty, but the baby’s way of adjusting. Your touch, massage, singing and talking will soon soothe the baby. Daddies can also participate equally in cleaning the baby.