The first few days, weeks, and sometimes even months with a new baby may feel like a whirlwind.In the beginning, having a newborn baby might seem like an impossible task to handle, especially for the mother, who would still be recovering from childbirth and must also bear the primary responsibility of feeding the baby.
In an interaction with OnlyMyHealth, Dr Jesal Sheth, Senior Consultant - Paediatrics & Neonatal Intensivist, explained nuances of newborn care.
There might be a lot of complex emotions that both parents undergo at this stage, which might last the entire newborn phase, which is the first two months of a baby's life. As a couple and their family navigate through the early months of birth, it is vital to remember that a newborn is a big adjustment for everyone in the family.
At the same time, it is equally important to understand that newborns require quality care to have the proper foundation for a healthy and productive life. According to Dr Sheth, there are some pointers that can help parents navigate this part of their life smoothly:
Feeding A Newborn
Breastfeeding or bottle feeding is a difficult and challenging task, especially for first-time mothers. But there are many lifelong benefits of breastfeeding, which is why it is highly recommended that all newborn babies are breastfed for at least the first six months of their life.
Suppose you are facing issues with your milk supply, in that case, it is best to seek help from a lactation consultant. They will help you address various breastfeeding barriers like positioning and nipple retractions while making nursing easy and stress-free for you & the baby.
Regular Visits By The Healthcare Team
Every new mother must receive at least three visits by a gynaecologist/ paediatrician in the first 24 hours after birth. After three days, visits to a paediatrician or healthcare worker must be done every two weeks to ensure that the baby is healthy, especially in the context of weight gain.
Complete Health check-up of the baby
The newborn must be evaluated by a team of specialists to ensure that they do not have any medical problems, including congenital heart disease, reflux, growth failure, etc.
Bonding with the baby
A significant contributing factor to future emotional attachments between you and your child is the bonding in the first few months. Physical closeness promotes emotional attachment, so both parents must spend time physically bonding with the baby by caressing, cradling, and playing with them.
More importantly, skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth is highly beneficial and recommended as it plays a significant role in helping the baby regulate their body temperature, heart rate, and breathing.
Ensure the mother's well-being, which also affects neonatal careThe postpartum period involves a new mother moving through many changes, both emotionally and physically. While many couples can adjust to a new baby without external support, it is essential to ask for help whenever required. Having someone from the extended family helping with the household responsibilities usually makes adjusting to a new baby easier. Also, if you are feeling extra anxious or depressed, it is best to seek help from a medical professional so that you can share your feelings and thoughts without any guilt.
Vaccinations are vital in protecting babies from preventable diseases. Every parent must follow the recommended vaccination schedule provided by the healthcare provider to ensure that the baby is up to date with their immunizations. Additionally, regular check-ups with the paediatrician are also recommended so that the baby's growth and development are tracked, concerns are addressed, and proper guidance is given on appropriate milestones & care.
Seek medical assistance if required
Any medical concerns regarding the baby must be addressed right away. According to Dr Sheth, consult your paediatrician immediately in the following scenarios:
- Your baby has a temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher.
- Your baby has blood in their vomit or stool.
- Your baby is having a seizure.
- Your baby has frequent vomiting or diarrhoea.
- Your baby refuses to eat for multiple feedings in a row.
- Your baby has a rash that doesn't go away on its own.
- Your baby has a cold that doesn't improve or gets worse.
- Your baby has dehydration, which you may be able to identify by a lack of wet diapers or a sunken soft spot.
- Your baby has jaundice (a yellow colour to the skin and the whites of the eyes).