CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR BUNDLE OF JOY! – EXPERTS ADVISE ON GETTING STARTED
It’s a new baby! Motherhood brings with it great responsibility. First time mothers have often been told to forget their own sleep, to eat out of a very limited choice of food, to restrict their daily activities, and have been given many more pieces of such advice.
Here, our experts have tried to explain patterns of behaviour of babies and their needs and how to cope with them. The most important piece of advice anyone can give you is to relax and enjoy God’s best gift to mankind.
APPEARANCE AND BEHAVIOUR OF YOUR BABY
- On the first few days, the baby’s skin may appear reddish and the eyelids may appear swollen and closed.
- The skin may be covered with a layer called vernix, which appears like areas of dry, peeling skin. This protective covering generally comes off by itself when the baby is bathed.
- The umblical cord (navel cord) strarts drying after a few hours after birth and may look shriveled. It usually falls by 7-10 days, although, it may take more or less time.
- Babies can see at work and when awake, enjoy looking at bright colours and familiar faces.
- The hearing of babies is well developed at birth although their response to sound varies
- Most new born babies sleep for 20-22 hours in a day, waking up to feed every 2-4 hours. If a baby sleeps for longer than 2 hours on the first few days, (s)he should be woken up for a feed. The intervals may be increased as the baby grows up.
- Babies tend to be fussy at night and may demand feeds more frequently.
- Following birth, the baby’s head shape may not be perfectly round and returns to normal in a few days.
- The soft spot on the baby’s head (anterior fontanel) remains open till after the first birthday. There is no requirement to apply any oil or massage the area.
All babies tend to lose 5% – 7% of birth weight in the first 2-3 days after birth. This ir normal. They regain this weight within two to three weeks. If the baby does not regain weight, your neonatologist may suggest more frequesnt weight checks.
STOOLS AND URINE
- Babies pass stool within 24 hours after birth. Initially black and tarry (called meconium), this stool becomes greenish and loose over 2-3 days.
- Thereafter, breastfed babies pass 5-7 loose, yellowish stools in 24 hours. In addition,msyeach time the baby feeds, cries, strains or passes wind, (s)he may leave a small stain on the nappy.
- Some breastfed babies may pass stools infrequently, upto once in a week. As long as the stool is soft and the baby is comfortable and feeding well, this is normal and no treatment is required.
- Most healthy babies will pass urine in the first 48 hours. The baby may cry before passing urine due to iscomfort of full bladder; becomes quiet thereafter.
- There may be menstrual like bleeding in some baby girls after 3-5 days of birth – this is generally very mild, lasting for 2- 4 days and is normal
- Most baby girls produce a whitish discharge from the vagina. This protects the inner skin and vigorous cleaning or trying to remove it may damage the insides.
HICCUPS AND SNEEZING
- Some babies have hiccups, often after taking a feed. place your baby upright on your shoulder and they will gradually disappear. There is no need to give water to the baby.
- Some babies sneeze when the secretions inside the nose become dry and cause irritation. This is not a sign of respiratory infection. Your doctor may prescribe saline nasal drops for the baby.