Baby Care Tips for New Moms

Baby Care Tips for New Moms

You are bound to be amazed by the first sight of your newborn. For the first few hours after birth, your baby may be very alert and responsive to your touch, voice and warmth. Take advantage of this opportunity to feed, stroke, talk to and look closely at this child you have created. Here  are the list for Baby Care Tips for New Moms :

Newborn Appearance

Head

Your baby’s head may appear large compared to the rest of the body. It may be more elongated than oval due to the delivery process. The process of change in the shape of your baby’s head after birth is called “molding.” This molding gradually corrects itself in about a week. Changing baby’s head position from back and side to side will help. Babies have two soft spots, or “fontanels,” on their head. The one in the front usually closes between 6 and 24 months; the one on the back of the head is often closed at birth or closes within 3 months.

Eyes

Newborns can see, but not as clearly as adults. Your baby may look cross eyed for the first few months of life because of immature eye muscle control. Eye coloring may change after birth to its permanent color at about 6 months of age. Your newborn may have swelling around the eyes. This will go away in a few days. Some babies have a red area in the white part of the eye. This is a small hemorrhage from pressure during birth. No treatment is necessary and it will disappear within several weeks.

 

Eye Care

The ointment placed in your baby’s eyes after birth may cause a slight redness, with some swelling of the lids and watering of the eyes for the first few days. Wash the eyelids with clear, warm water and a clean cloth or cotton ball. Wipe from the inside, near the nose, out toward the ear. Use a separate place on the washcloth or a new cotton ball on each eye to avoid transferring germs from one eye to the other.

 

Swollen Breasts, Labia or Testicles

The genitals in newborns may appear swollen. Girls may have thick, white, occasionally blood-tinged secretions from the vagina. Boys may have swollen testicles, and babies of either sex may have enlarged breasts and milky fluid coming from the nipples. This is because your baby still has your maternal hormones. As your hormones gradually disappear from your baby’s body, so will the swelling.

Skin

Newborns have skin that is pink or light brown in color. Mucous membranes of the lips and inside the mouth are pink in color. Some blueness of the hands and feet is normal in the first two to three days. Newborns are often prone to a variety of harmless skin blemishes and rashes.

• Peeling or cracking skin around the wrists, ankles or scalp is common, especially in babies who have gone past their due date. As new skin cells grow, this condition will clear up without treatment. This is simply the shedding of dead skin and is best left alone; lotions tend to slow the shedding process of these layers.

• Newborn acne is a common skin condition caused by the mother’s hormones. It will lessen in the first few weeks of life.

• Lanugo is the name of the downy fuzz sometimes seen on the back, arms and ears of newborn babies. It disappears in a few weeks.

• Milia are tiny yellow-white cysts on the nose, forehead and cheeks. Do not squeeze them. They will go away on their own.

• Vernix is the creamy substance that protected your baby’s skin while in the uterus. It may be present in skin folds. It will be absorbed by the skin in a few days.

All these conditions are normal and disappear rapidly as your baby matures and adjusts to life outside the womb.

A raised, pimple-like rash around the cord or genital area may occur. Usually, this rash will clear up with normal bathing or exposure to air. If the rash does not go away or gets worse, see your baby’s doctor. Your baby’s doctor should check a more blister-like rash that ruptures, leaves a scab or continues to spread.

Skin rashes can also result from overdressing or harsh laundry soaps. As your baby becomes warm and sweats, skin irritation develops. This is especially common in the skin folds. To prevent rashes, keep these areas clean and dry and avoid overdressing your baby. You can also try milder laundry soap; dissolve the soap before adding clothes and rinse twice.

 

Jaundice

Many newborn babies develop yellow skin when their liver cannot get rid of a substance in the blood called bilirubin. This is called jaundice. Jaundice usually appears on the second or third day of life in healthy babies who are born full-term. It is very common and may occur sooner in preterm and late preterm babies. The yellow skin first appears on the face. It then moves down the body toward the toes. In most cases, the condition is mild and will disappear on its own without any special treatment. A screening test for jaundice will be performed on your baby prior to discharge from the hospital.

In unusual situations, a baby’s bilirubin level can become very high and could cause brain damage (kernicterus). This is why newborns should be checked carefully for jaundice and treated to prevent a dangerously high bilirubin level.

If you notice your baby’s skin color becoming yellow, call your baby’s doctor. A blood test to check your baby’s bilirubin level may be necessary. A small amount of blood is taken from the heel for this test. If the jaundice requires treatment, a technique called phototherapy is often used in a hospital setting. This treatment involves placing your baby under special ultraviolet lights, called “bili-lights.” Exposing the skin to these lights helps the body get rid of bilirubin faster.

 

Umbilical Cord Care

Your baby’s umbilical cord stump will usually dry and fall off by itself two to three weeks after birth. As it heals, it will have the appearance of a scab. Do not pick at it or cut or pull it off. To help prevent infection and to help it to dry, clean the base of the cord stump daily with a cotton ball soaked with alcohol. Your baby may cry when you touch him with the cold alcohol. This is not painful for your baby. Clean with water if the cord is soiled with urine or stool. If your baby’s cord is not dry before you leave the hospital, the clamp will not be removed. The clamp will fall off with the cord in two to three weeks. You may see a few drops of blood on the diaper around the time the stump falls off. Try to keep the diaper positioned below the navel until it has completely healed.

Call your baby’s doctor if the umbilical cord stump:

• Becomes red

• Bleeds

• Smells bad

• Has pus at its base

• Has red skin around its base

• Is so sensitive that your baby cries when you touch the cord and the skin next to it with your finger

Give sponge baths until the cord stump falls off and the navel is completely healed.

Fingernails

Babies are born with fingernails that are paper-thin and sharp. Do not cut or bite your baby’s nails. It is very difficult to tell where the nail ends and the skin starts when using baby clippers or scissors. This makes it easy to accidently cut the skin, causing pain and bleeding. You may use an emery board to file the nails about once a week. Your baby’s doctor can instruct you about when it is safe to cut your baby’s nails.

Ear Care

Use a washcloth, not cotton swabs or Q-tips, to clean your baby’s ears. Never insert a cotton swab into the ear canal.

Sneezing

Newborns sneeze frequently to clear nasal passages. This is normal.

Hiccups

During or after eating, your baby may hiccup. This is normal and will soon stop. There is no cause for concern.

Bulb Syringe

A bulb syringe is used to remove, or suction, fluid (such as milk or mucus) from your baby’s mouth or nose. You may use it when your baby spits up, chokes, sneezes or has a runny nose. For the first few days of life, your baby may have excess mucus that may cause gagging. We suggest you keep a bulb syringe close to your baby, especially during feedings, and use it when necessary. If you need to suction both the nose and the mouth, always suction the mouth first.

To help your baby when he gags, turn your baby on his side and firmly pat the back. If gagging continues, you may need to use the bulb syringe.

 

How to Use a Bulb Syringe:

• First, squeeze the bulb until it is collapsed before inserting into your baby’s mouth or nose to create suction.

• Gently place it in one nostril or the inside of the lower cheek towards the throat.

• Release the pressure applied to the bulb to suction mucus into the bulb.

• Remove the bulb syringe from the nose or mouth and squeeze the bulb quickly into a tissue to get rid of the mucus.

• Wipe the tip of the bulb syringe and repeat the process if necessary (for the other nostril or cheek).

• Clean the bulb syringe with hot, soapy water and rinse in hot water after using.

• Be sure to clean the inside of the syringe by squeezing the bulb while the tip is in the soapy water.

• Rinse by repeating the procedure with clean, hot water several times.

• Prop the clean bulb tip side down so the water will drain.

• Return the clean bulb syringe to a place that’s near your baby

 

Circumcisions

Circumcision is the removal of foreskin that surrounds the head of the penis. The choice for circumcision is a personal one. New parents are encouraged to discuss the benefits and risks of circumcision with their healthcare provider and make an informed decision about what is best for their baby.

Analgesia has been found to be safe and effective in providing pain relief for circumcision. Following his circumcision, the nursing staff will monitor your baby for bleeding for a minimum of two hours. You should then check him frequently during diaper changes over the next several hours to detect any unusual bleeding as directed by your nurse or doctor.

If you are interested in having your baby circumcised and the procedure was not performed in the hospital, please be sure to discuss options with your pediatrician during your baby’s first appointment or earlier.

Circumcision Care

The circumcised penis needs very little care. Rinse the circumcision area at each diaper change by squeezing warm water over the tip of the penis. For the first few days, you may place a gauze sponge with Vaseline® (petroleum jelly) over the tip of the penis to prevent the diaper from sticking until the area is healed. If a Plastibell is used for your baby’s circumcision, the Vaseline® on a gauze sponge is usually not needed.

If a Plastibell is used, the bell (plastic ring) will fall off your baby’s penis in five to eight days. The rim of the skin in front of the ring will turn black and come off with the bell. Even if it is barely still attached, do not pull the Plastibell. The Plastibell will come off by itself. You will probably find it loose in your baby’s diaper. Give your baby sponge baths until the circumcision is healed and do not place your baby in a tub of warm water.

There should be no active bleeding. The head of the penis may appear irritated. It can also appear whitish or yellowish in places as it heals. Do not try to wash off this whitish or yellowish substance. This is a normal phase of the healing process. Call the doctor if the penis is bleeding, draining or oozing, or becomes unusually reddened or swollen.

Care of the Uncircumcised Baby

If you choose not to have your son circumcised, do not retract (pull back) the foreskin (the skin covering the tip of the penis). Forcing the foreskin back may harm the penis, causing pain, bleeding and possibly scar tissue. The natural separation of the foreskin from the tip of the penis may take several years. After puberty, the young man learns to retract the foreskin and clean under it daily.

 

Diapering It is important to keep track of your baby’s wet and dirty diapers until feeding is well established. Your baby’s diaper should be very wet 6 to 8 times in 24 hours. If you are breastfeeding, your baby may not have this many wet diapers per day until your milk transitions from colostrum to mature breast milk. When your baby is wet or soiled, clean the diaper area with a warm washcloth using a mild soap and water, and then rinse the area with clean water. Diaper rashes can usually be avoided by carefully washing the diaper area, using a clean cloth for each diaper change, and washing washcloths and diapers properly. Do not use powders and baby oils. If your baby’s bottom looks red or sore, leave the diaper off and expose the area to the air frequently. Your baby’s doctor may recommend an ointment to treat diaper rash. Always wash your hands before and after diapering your baby. If you notice dark pink to orange or rust-colored areas in the diaper, these are probably uric acid crystals, which are common and no cause for concern. Diapering Girls Baby girls may have a swollen bottom and may have a white mucus discharge from the vagina for several days after birth. The discharge may even be bloodtinged within the first week from the effects of your maternal hormones. This is normal and not a cause for concern. Gently washing the outside area (vulva) and wiping from front to back are all that is necessary. Diapering Boys When washing baby boys, be sure to lift the scrotum to remove any stool. Even small amounts of leftover stool can cause irritation.

 

Stools or Bowel Movements Babies should have at least two bowel movements, or stools, each day. The stools are usually a yellow or brown color. The bowel movements of breastfed babies will appear loose and may happen more frequently than those fed breast milk substitutes. It is normal for your baby to grunt, strain and turn red when having a bowel movement. This does not mean your baby is constipated. Signs of Constipation If your baby has no bowel movement for four days, call your baby’s doctor. The doctor will tell you how to treat the constipation. If your baby is fussy, does not eat well or cries for a long time when having a bowel movement, call your baby’s doctor. The formula or the iron in formula does not cause constipation. If your baby does not have many stools but is eating well and does not seem uncomfortable, do not worry. Diarrhea Diarrhea is a large increase in the number of stools your baby usually has or stools that become looser in consistency. Diarrhea can also be watery stools or stools with a water ring around them. (Normally, stools are soft. Some are mushy or pasty.) If your baby has several watery stools one right after the other within six to eight hours, call your baby’s doctor immediately. This can be a symptom of an illness or food intolerance. It causes babies to dehydrate (lose fluid) easily and quickly

 

Dehydration The signs of dehydration include:

• Dry lips and mouth or thick saliva

• Small amounts of dark urine in the diaper

• Skin forms a “tent” when pinched, and stays pinched up

• Dark circles around the eyes

• Soft spot on the head (fontanel) sinks in when your baby is held upright or in a sitting position

• Baby may be fussy, sleepy, not hungry, or difficult to wake up Call your baby’s doctor if your baby shows any of these signs.

Bath Time

Bath time is a wonderful time for your baby to learn your touch. This is also a great time to inspect your baby’s skin, rashes, healing of the umbilical cord area, and your baby’s overall appearance.

There is no best time to bathe your baby; any time that is convenient for you is fine. For some babies, a bath before feedings is relaxing because most babies fall asleep shortly after eating. If your baby is a poor feeder, it may be better to wait and bathe between feedings when your baby wakes up.

While it is not necessary to bathe your baby every day, keep the diaper area and skin folds clean, and clean the hair and scalp every day. Sponge baths are recommended until the umbilical cord comes off, the navel (belly button) heals, and the circumcised penis is healed.

• Choose an area in the house where you will be comfortable bathing your baby.

• Gather all the items you will need for the bath and place them within easy reach.

• Be sure the room is warm and free of drafts so your baby does not become cool.

• Lay your baby on a towel to undress him.

• Cover your baby with a second towel so he doesn’t get chilly, and only expose the areas you are actively washing. • Water should be about body temperature (90°–100°F). Test the water with your elbow or wrist. It should feel comfortably warm.

• Bathe your baby from head to toes (or from clean to dirty).

• Start with the eyes. To wash your baby’s eyes, dip the corner of the soft washcloth in clear warm water and wash the eye from the nose out toward the ears.

• Use a different corner of the washcloth for each eye to prevent the possibility of transferring infection from one

• Continue washing the rest of your baby’s face with plain water.

• Wash around the nose and outer ears and around the entrance to the ears.

• Do not try to clean inside your baby’s ears. Wax is formed in the ear to protect and clean it.

• Do not clean ear canals or nostrils with cotton swabs (Q-tips®).

• Shampoo the hair using a brush to help stimulate the scalp.

• Rinse the hair well and dry with a soft towel. Do not use a blow dryer to dry your baby’s hair. The air from the dryer is too hot for a baby’s skin.

• Mild soap can be used on the rest of the body. Make sure you wash all creases and rinse well.

• Check your baby’s umbilical cord for proper healing as you wash it with clean, warm water. Pat the umbilical cord stump area dry.

• Wash the genital area last.

For girls, separate the folds of the labia and wash from the front to the back using a clean part of the cloth for each wipe.

For boys, gently wash the penis and under the scrotum.

• If your baby was circumcised, only use clean, warm water until the area is healed.

• If your baby was not circumcised, do not force the foreskin back to clean the penis. Cleaning the area with warm water and soap is all that is necessary.

• Using a dry towel, pat all areas dry. Place a clean diaper on your baby. Roll or fold the diaper down below the cord to keep urine from soaking the dried umbilical cord stump.

• Dress your baby in clean clothes

You will need:

• Two or three towels (one large towel to place baby on and one for drying baby)

• 70% rubbing alcohol for umbilical cord care, if necessary

• Vaseline® (petroleum jelly) for circumcision care, if necessary

• Plastic basin or large sink

• Soft washcloth

• Baby hairbrush

• Mild soap and baby shampoo

• Diaper • Clean clothes

Bath Time Rules

• Never take your hands off your baby during the bath.

• Never leave your baby unattended on a raised flat surface or alone in the tub

 

 

 

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