Tuesday 7 March 2017

Some tips on newborn care

 Things would have been a lot easier if babies were born clutching a little pamphlet titled "Instructions manual"; well, they don't and even the most experienced mothers often find each new baby a challenge unique from every other baby they have handled. Evolving guidelines on childcare and daily medical research often demands a little difference in newborn care than we may have always known.  Below are some tips on how to handle your newborn baby.

(1).The baby should be put to its mother's breast as soon as possible after delivery. This not only gives the baby it's much needed supply of the nutrient-rich colostrum, it also starts the baby's journey towards achieving a perfect latch.

(2) Request for help or assistance from the midwife or doctor who helped deliver your baby. You can never go wrong on this; well unless your instincts tell you otherwise. Well-trained medical practitioners are the best people to go to for advice and assistance with newborn care.

(3) Ensure you follow medical advice as regards umbilical cord care. You would very likely get different views on how to care for your baby's umbilical cord; from salt to toothpaste and so on. As well meaning as the advisers may be, please desist from usage of such potentially harmful substances. Well-trained midwives and doctors will give you time tested and trusted ways of caring for the cord. It may not fall off very early as compared to crude methods, but it sure will, after all no adult walks around with his/her umbilical cord still attached.

(4) Please no matter how much they try convincing you, do not perform circumcision on a girl child. The right word is even 'genital mutilation' and not 'female circumcision ' . It serves absolutely no purpose than exposing your baby girl to unnecessary harm, and , making your girl child imagine what her life would have been like if her genitals weren't mutilated.

(5) Get help when you need it. It is often customary for grandparents or experienced relations to come around when there is a new born as they know it could get overwhelming for the new parents. Please let them help when you need them to, but let it be by your rules and under your supervision. Do not let them do things you do not approve of to your baby.
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(6) Do not let any sick person carry your newborn, not even someone with cold. It is your duty to protect your child and if commonsense will not tell the person  to not carry the baby, remind him/her. After all you would be the one to bear the burden of a sick child if your child gets infected with whatever infection the person is carrying. You do not really have to be nice about it if circumstances so demand.

(7) Ensure your baby gets all the necessary vaccinations. It is usually advised that newborns in our part of the world get their Hepatitis B and BCG vaccinations before discharge from the hospital. We need to protect our babies from diseases as much as possible.

(8) Ensure hygienic environments around the baby at all times. Also ensure the baby always sleeps under a mosquito net. You wouldn't want your baby getting malaria very early in life, would you?

(9) Dress the baby up in appropriate clothing. When the weather is hot, there is absolutely no need for the overalls and so on; go light. And when it's cold, cover your baby up very well.

(10) If you can, please practice exclusive breastfeeding; feed your baby on breast milk alone for at most the first six months of the baby's life.

The list is by no means exhaustive but can serve as guide especially to new parents. Our babies are precious and should be handled as such.

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