How to take care of newborn baby – Caring for the baby’s sleep, bath, oil massage and clothing. The aim of care at birth is that the baby’s basic needs i.e., establishing breathing, adequate nutrition, body temperature and avoiding contact with infection are met. Also, it is important to help him in adjusting to the new life outside the mother’s womb.
Tips on how to take care of newborn baby !
As soon as he is born, the doctor or the midwife, suspends him by the feet (head downward) to drain blood and fluid from his nose, mouth and stomach. The 1-minute Apgar score is taken.
Before cutting the cord, it is made certain that it had stopped pulsating. Then, the operator milks it towards the infant. In this way the infant gets about 100 ml of additional blood.
This will stand him in good stead afterwards. It is advisable to make a note of the blood vessels in the cord. A single artery is usually associated with some congenital malformations.
Having made a careful survey of the newborn’s body for any congenital defect, the doctor records the 5-minute Apgar score.
If the mother is conscious, it will be a good idea to let her handle the baby at this stage. She may also feel like putting him to the breast. Most authorities, as a matter of fact, encourage such an attitude.
There is a good deal of evidence that such a policy goes a long way in establishing a healthy mother-child relationship and successful breastfeeding.
The right place to sleep for the newborn baby
Though there is no hard and fast rule, it is a distinct advantage to place the baby in a pre-warmed cot to sleep.
This cot should be kept by the mother’s bedside so that she can cuddle, fondle and feed him as and when needed. Watching the baby sleep and awake gives her immense contentment.
Experience has shown that if the mother and the baby share the same bed, accidental deaths (by way of the baby getting suffocated under the weight of the sleeping mother) may occur.
The nursery in the obstetric unit of hospital is not the right place for a healthy newborn. It is meant for the sick, the low birthweight and pre-term babies.
How to bathe the newborn baby?
In the good old days it was virtually a ritual to bathe the newborn immediately after birth, almost always within the first two hours.
Today, we know that it is of advantage not to bathe a newborn during the first week. For once, it helps to keep infection at an arm’s length.
In fact, the number of maternity units where no bath is given until the baby is past seven days has been on the increase.
Dip bath should be avoided until the cord sheds off. That, however, should not be interpreted as meaning that the newborn should not be cleaned or sponged.
The fact is that the baby has got to be kept clean by sponging gently. Special attention should be paid to the diaper area and the creases.
You should, however, take a precaution not to rub off the protective cheeselike covering on his skin, the vernix caseosa.
Once the cord has separated, you may begin to give him a “dip bath” every day. Make sure that you do not use a soap containing hexachlorophene which is said to be absorbed through the baby’s skin and to be toxic to the nervous system.
How should the newborn baby be bathed ?
A colourful baby bathtub or a basin makes an excellent equipment to bathe the newborn. Before making a start, make sure that you have around the corner everything that you will need while giving him a bath.
Also see that the water in the mini-tub or the basin is just lukewarm.
The latter will be too hot to be tolerated by the delicate baby.
Also, make sure that the room in which you propose to give the baby a bath is warm enough and free from excessive air or wind. Remove wristwatch, rings or jewellery around your wrist or forearm.
Now sit before the bathtub of comfortably warm water and either spread a towel over your lap or wear an apron. Hold the undressed baby, giving the head a little dip.
Apply a small quantity of a baby shampoo to the scalp. Rub it well. Then rinse off. Dry the head gently with a towel.
Make sure that you do not press the fontanellae too hard and that you do not let soapy cloth touch the eyes. Use a fresh swab of cotton wool for wiping each eye.
With separate swabs, clean areas around the nose, ears and folds and at the surface of ears. Do not poke bits of cotton within the ears or nostrils.
Now is the time to soap the baby all over with your hand, allowing the head to rest on your forearm. As soon as you lower him gently into the water, the soap will wash off.
You may rub his skin or splash water over him. Do not worry when he kicks in the water.
You may now lift him up and dry his body with a clean towel.
Next, powder his body, not directly by by first rubbing it on your hand. Mind you, if breathed into the baby’s nostrils, the powder can prove harmful.
Also, even the best of baby powders can cause discomfort by collecting in skin creases, especially in summer.
The stage is all set now to dress up baby. Put on the nappy first and then the plastic pants.
Now, you may slip over the vest followed by the top clothes.
Oil Massage for the newborn child
It is a good idea to give the baby a gentle massage with olive oil, coconut oil or mustard oil before giving him bath. You may use a standard baby oil.
Oil massage stimulates circulation helping to keep the baby’s skin healthy and soft. Besides, it is very satisfying for the grannies whose faith in this age old practice continues to be remarkable.
Nevertheless, remember, it should never be vigorous. Vigorous massage not only cause discomfort to the baby but also runs the risk of inflicting unintentional injury.
Remember, the newborn has got to be kept rather warm, but not too warm. His garments should not make him sweat. Unfortunately, covering the baby with layers and layers of woollies is generally practiced.
That is undesirable. Such babies do not feel well, feel drowsy and show failure to thrive, develop constipation and prickly heat rash.
Also avoid woollies touching the neck of the baby. An annoying rash may result.
During summer, all that may suffice for the baby is a vest and a nappy.