As parents, it’s extremely easy to freak out all the time about the health of your new-born baby. You want to make sure that your baby is healthy and safe at all times. The challenge in these regards is that babies can’t talk, only cry. So how do you decipher what’s going on with them? Are they just hungry or are they in pain? You’ve learnt in the past year, now it’s time to get onto learning all about your new-born’s health and well-being.
How to keep your baby healthy?
Avoid taking the baby to crowded places
In the first two months, avoid taking your baby anywhere – specially to crowded spaces like the mall, market or restaurant. Crowded areas are full of germs, and your infant’s weak immune system makes them all the more prone to infections, fever, allergies etc. Open, outdoor spaces are completely fine, but don’t risk it if there’s a lot of dust or pollution outside.
Be a nit-picker for letting only clean hands near your baby. Dirty hands are a breeding ground for germs, bacteria and viruses. And since babies are likely to put everything into their mouths, you don’t want to risk it. The best thing to do is to keep a hand sanitizer and wet tissues around.
The nutrients you consume during and will all get passed on to the baby via breastfeeding. Mother’s milk is rich with antibodies and nutrients required to boost the baby’s immune system. So, keep up the breastfeeding, even if you’re down with the flu! Your milk will make them stronger.
Babies cannot be vaccinated against the flu until they’re six months old. And fully immunising your baby to whooping cough will take some time. In the meantime, immunise yourself with the necessary vaccines. Check with your gynaecologist as to which vaccinations you can and need to take right after .
There’s not a lot babies do except for crying, sleeping and having milk. Despite this, there are plenty of things parents find to worry about. So, let’s understand when is the time to relax and when it’s time to call the doctor.
Crying is the only way babies communicate, we all know that much. But when your baby is crying as if it’s in deep agony and nothing seems to pacify it, you are bound to feel stressed and worried. Well, the good news is that you’re not a horrible parent. This is completely natural baby behaviour. The crying starts abruptly within the first few weeks and then ends just as abruptly by the eighth week. The best thing to do is make sure your baby has napped throughout the day so it’s not tired by night. Take the baby for a walk, gently pat on their back. Most importantly, be patient and calm.
At some point in the future, this may repeat itself. Again, nothing to worry about. In fact, you don’t even have to pick your baby up. Just play with them or gently pat them to let them know you’re there. They’ll fall back asleep within seconds.
For parents, watching their baby spit up after every time they’ve been fed is alarming. You start to worry if they’re getting any nutrition at all. But, you will be surprised that what they spit out is just a fraction of what they’ve eaten. What is more important is whether your baby is gaining a healthy amount of weight. If your baby seems happy or perfectly normal even when they have just spit up a lot, you have nothing to worry about. It is a problem if your baby seems to be in pain directly before or after a spit-up, isn’t gaining much weight or has been suffering from respiratory problems. If none of this is the case, then rest assured your baby is as healthy as they can be.
In the early days it may seem like all your baby is doing is pooping. Then, as the months go by, the frequency reduces, until one day you realise that a whole week has gone by and your baby hasn’t passed a poop. Don’t freak out just yet. As the months go by, the bowel movements tend to slow down – it’s all a part of the process. As long as the stools passed as soft and mushy, your baby is alright. However, if you notice your baby straining or crying while trying to poop and if the bowel movements are hard, then they are constipated and you should take them to the paediatrician.
When should I involve the doctor?
Over the course of time, there are going to be some moments when you really can’t avoid that trip to the paediatrician. Let’s understand when those times may arise and what exactly is happening.
One night, out of nowhere, you’ll find that your baby’s body is unusually warm. The thermometer shows a frightening 104 degree! You rush to the doctor immediately. While that is the right move to make, remember that a temperature spike is completely normal. It’s your baby’s immune system’s way of fighting infections. And your baby will be back to normal in due time and with the right medication.
If your baby has been struggling with cough, congestion, fever for more than one day or poor appetite, you may want to take your baby to the doctor to check for pneumonia or bacterial infections.
This is a fairly common problem among new born babies. If your baby is being unusually fussy, hasn’t been sleeping well, is down with fever or is constantly pulling at the ear and seems to be in pain, there might be an ear infection. Wait for a day or two for the symptoms to subside and for your baby’s immune system to fight the problem first. If problems persist, head to the doctor.
Fussiness is a key sign to check for any discomfort. If your baby has fever, is constantly vomiting, has diarrhoea for more than two days, there’s a possibility of stomach infection.
Stay calm, stay healthy and give your baby the required nourishment to take care of themselves. Follow doctor’s orders, and you and your baby will be just fine!