Newborn Care Week is observed from 15 to 21 November every year. The aim is to raise awareness about the significance of newborn care for the survival and development of kids.
It goes without saying that taking care of a newborn is not a simple task. Right from changing diapers to monitoring their vaccination schedule there are numerous things a new parent has to bear in mind. However, the most important thing is to ensure that the newborn is properly cared and looked after right from birth. And this includes a lot of cleanliness and hygiene to be followed to prevent the child from getting sick. So this newborn care week, here are some of the common tips parents, especially a mother, have to follow for a healthy baby.
1. Breastfeed your baby exclusively for at least six months.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for at least a span of six months. Hence, it is advised to try and start breastfeeding your child as soon as possible after delivery. This is because breast milk contains a lot of nutrients and antibodies which protect the kid from infections and boost the immunity. Moreover, colostrum, which is produced during the first few weeks after childbirth, is not only nutritionally rich but can help in the overall growth and development of the baby.
2. Keep the umbilical cord dry.
In most of the cases, the umbilical cord becomes dry by the time you are discharged from a hospital. It usually falls off within a week or two but till then, it is advised to keep it clean and dry. Use water to clean the area and pat it dry with a soft cloth. Do not pull it out as it will fall on its own. Never use alcohol, oil or any lotions to clean it as it can increase the risk of infections. However, if the area appears red, swollen, bloody, or if there is a pus or foul smell, it is wise to consult a doctor at the earliest.
3. Use plain water and unscented soap while bathing.
It is advised to give your baby sponge bath, till the cord heals. It is wise to use plain warm water (and not hot water) while bathing your kid. You do not have to use a soap but if you want to use one, then go for a mild and unscented one. Rinse well after using a soap to prevent irritation. Use clean water to wash her eyes, ears, mouth, and face. Gently wash the genitals with water. Avoid using cotton swabs to clean the ears and nose. Pat your baby dry with a towel. And most importantly, never leave your kid unattended while bathing.
4. Check your baby’s diaper every few hours.
Babies who are exclusively breastfed poop multiple times a day. Hence, it is advised to check your child’s diaper at regular intervals. Change diapers often and never keep your baby in a soiled diaper. Keep your baby off the diaper for some time so as to allow the skin to become dry, which can help prevent diaper rash and infections. Also, when changing a diaper, wash the area with warm water and dry the area completely before putting a new diaper.
5. Go for regular vaccinations.
It is important that you make sure that you don’t miss out on your child’s vaccines and stick to the vaccination schedule. Keep a close tab on the vaccination routine and get all the vaccinations as recommended by your doctor at proper intervals. Remember that getting vaccinations can help improve the immunity of your baby and protect your child from a whole range of deadly diseases. Talk to your doctor to know in detail about the must-have and optional vaccines for your child.
Remember that following proper care and protection during the initial stages can help improve overall health and wellness in the later stages of life. Even parents need to follow few hygiene tips such as not kissing the child on the skin and washing their hands thoroughly before handling the kid to prevent spread the of an infection. Also, do not hesitate to get in touch with your doctor for any concerns you have with regards to your child’s health.
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Lalit Kanodia, General Physician)
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