Newborn Care

Helpful Tips for Newborn Care

As soon as your new baby arrives, you will feel love as never before. Although exciting, being a parent of a newborn can also be overwhelming. To help you get started, we wanted to provide some helpful tips for newborns so you can handle various situations as they arise.

One of the most challenging but also most important decisions you will make is finding the right pediatrician. From the time your baby is born, he or she will need certain vaccinations. Being so young and vulnerable, newborn babies are at risk for some disease, which is why vaccinations to boost the immune system are imperative. You might also be faced with a condition called colic, which is actually common but stressful.

From day one, you will need to pay attention the baby’s skin. For instance, until the umbilical cord heals, dries up, and eventually falls off, it will need to be gently cleaned. Even diaper rash can be a troubling problem, something you want to treat as soon as it is noticed. For bathing, the nurses at the hospital will show you right and wrong ways of giving your newborn a bath so you feel confident. Even taking your baby outside in the sun is something to think about in that you do not want to deal with sunburn.

Next, there is the issue of diet. If you plan to breastfeed, your baby is not only getting all the antibiotics and nutrition needed but the process is very convenient. Mother’s milk contains colostrums, which is loaded with vitamins and minerals that your new baby will need to develop a strong immune system. However, if you cannot or choose not to breast feed, talk to your pediatrician regarding the recommended brand of formula.

Now, if your baby came early, then you will have different situations to face. Most often, a premature baby is not fully developed so in addition to normal challenges, you will now deal with likely developmental issues. Additionally, premature babies are more prone to allergies so make sure the house is not dusty, that pets are clean, and so on.

Of course, along with all of this, there is also the consideration of physiological needs that any newborn will have.

The most common challenge for new parents is a lack of sleep. Babies sometimes have sleep problems that could be the result of psychological or physical issues, or both. Keep in mind that you are not alone. The best solution is to provide your baby with a lot of love and cuddling. You could also give your baby a gentle massage, which tends to quiet and calm.
For child care, some parents are fortunate enough to stay at home but usually, some type of daycare is required. If you can afford it, a nanny is a great option but regardless of whom you hire, always do in-depth background investigation, insisting on references that are checked.

Early on, there will be occasions when you need to take the baby out. This might be to visit a friend, the grandparents, to the doctor, and so on. It is imperative that you have an up-to-date car seat so wherever you go you know the child is safely strapped in.

Remember, even parents with other children will go through a period of feeling overwhelmed. You will be faced with ongoing challenges but taking the time to learn about your options for help will allow you to master the daily issues. Whether you are a first time parent or one with many children, stay strong and do your research.

Newborn Vaccinations–Are they Necessary?

During the 1900’s, the most feared childhood disease in the United States was smallpox. Today, this disease is never heard of because babies have been given a vaccination to keep it at bay. Other diseases that were also prevalent include polio and rubella. Again, through many years of research and medical developments, vaccinations have been developed, virtually wiping these and other childhood diseases out.

While a baby is still in the mother’s womb, the mother is providing it with all the antibodies needed to build a strong immune system. These nutrients and antibodies are delivered to the fetus via the umbilical cord but once the baby has been delivered, this system is gone. Even though a newborn has been getting what he or she needs, at birth the immune system is still very fragile. Experts agree that for the immune system to be fully developed so babies can fight off disease, viruses, and bacteria, it takes about one year.

The best way to help a baby build a strong immune system is with breast milk. A mother’s milk contains colostrum, which is loaded with protective antibodies. However, for mothers that cannot or choose not to breast feed, it would be important to talk to the doctor to see if additional vitamins should be given along with the formula.

One way to protect a new baby is by having him or her immunized.

The concept of vaccinations is relatively easy to understand. What happens is that a number of dead organisms that could cause disease are given to the baby through a shot, pill, nasal spray, or even sugar table. In some instances, live organisms that have been genetically modified are also administered. Regardless, the germ that could cause a disease is neutralized so the baby is no longer at risk.

Keep in mind that although the germ has been neutralized, the biochemical structure of that germ still exists. When the germ tries to stimulate the immune system, the body recognizes it as a foreign object of type of invasion, which results in antibodies being released to fight them off. Even though these germs are not a serious threat, antibodies are still sent out through the body, which inevitably boosts the immune system, thus preventing disease.

A common question asked by parents is “Do vaccinations work?”

The thing to remember is that years and years of research have been done by experts so they not only understand vaccinations but also verify that they are in fact effective. Over the years, we have seen cases of whooping cough, polio, smallpox, rubella, and many other formerly common childhood illnesses decline.

There are still a few reported cases of these mentioned diseases but if the child has been vaccinated, any symptoms would be mild. This means that illnesses of years ago that robbed young children of the ability to walk or even take their lives are seldom seen.

Known Risks of Vaccinations

If you are thinking about having your child vaccinated, you need to know that there are some risks although generally minor. For instance, research continues on rubella in that experts are not 100% sure a vaccination will work or not cause the disease to develop. However, if you were to look at the vast number of people who receive an annual flu shot, you would know that very few of these individuals actually develop a case of the flu.

You may be asking if the risk is worth taking. Think of it this way – risks associated with the vaccination are small but risk of developing the disease without the vaccination is much greater. In the past 20 years or so, old childhood diseases are rare in the United States and around the globe. For this reason, more and more parents are choosing to have their child inoculated.

Learning the Truth

Unfortunately, horror stories spread but usually by uninformed people, which is often referred to as “junk science”. A great example is that a rumor was spread not too long ago that autism was the result of vaccinations. However, more than 200 studies were conducted through the world renowned May Clinic, finding no such link. Even the Centers for Disease Control along with universities, top notch hospitals, and other experts have done further studies, all agreeing that such claims are blown way out of proportion.

Skin Care Tips for a Newborn

When it comes to fighting off illness and disease, the skin is the first line of defense. Look at skin for adults and babies as a type of organ associated with the immune system. The skin serves a vital role in protecting the body from danger. Therefore, if you have a newborn, you want to take good care of his or her skin so you know that the baby is healthy and comfortable.

After birth, the baby’s umbilical cord will be tied off. Typically, the dried cord will fall off within three to four weeks and during this time doctors recommend only sponge baths. It can be a little challenging to bathe a newborn while trying to keep the umbilical cord dry, which is why using only a sponge and warm water is recommended during the healing time.

At first, your baby will need a sponge bath two to three times a week. All you need is warm water and no soap. In addition to the water being warm, you also want to make sure the room’s temperature is warm to avoid chill. After bathing the baby, wrap him or her in a soft, cotton towel and gently wipe the skin until it is dry. You will need to work carefully around the umbilical cord, again keeping it dry and untouched so it does not become infected. Now, if a couple of drops of water dampen the umbilical cord area, do not panic, as this is fine.

After the baby’s cord has fallen off, you can then begin to bathe your baby normally. Again, all that is needed is two to three baths a week, using warm water and gentle soap. One very important tip is that you want to use two washcloths – one for the baby’s face and another for the rest of the body. The reason is that you will be cleaning the genital and anus areas and you do not want bacteria on the face.

If you notice the baby developing tiny red bumps chances are this is heat rash caused by water too warm or wearing too many layers of clothing. Heat rash is not harmful, merely the baby’s body learning how to regulate body heat.

Typically, heat rash consists of red bumps that will appear around the neck, under the arms, or on the chest. All you need to do is remove a layer of clothing and make sure the room has good ventilation. Usually, these changes will eliminate the problem but if the heat rash persists, try giving him or her, a cool bath but not too cool.

Usually, you think of adults getting acne but most babies early on will also develop a case. Formally called neonatal acne or infant pimples, this is quite common. Acne in babies occurs because hormones are causing oil glands to be highly active.

All you need to do if you notice acne on your baby is use warm water to wash the face. Within days or weeks, the pimples will go away on their own so you do not need to apply any type of ointment or cream. Now, if your baby gets a severe case of acne or if it remains for months, then you should talk to the doctor.

Another common occurrence in newborns is the development of dark skin on the scalp. Known as cradle cap, the scalp will look dirty and become very flaky. Doctors compare cradle cap to eczema and most often, it will go away in a few weeks after starting.

If your baby has cradle cap but it is not disappearing, you can do a few things to help. For one thing, you need to use a soft baby brush to eliminate a buildup of oil in the pores. Simply brush the scalp several times a day. Make sure you do not brush with too much pressure and never use any type of adult shampoo. Cradle cap involves patches of dry skin and harsh shampoos will only cause the skin to dry out more.

Taking care of a new baby’s skin is not complicated. All you need to do is use common sense and follow a few simple rules. With consistent care, your baby’s skin will look beautiful and he or she will feel great. Finally, good skin also means a healthy immune system so it is important that proper care be given.