New born care
By definition, a newborn is a baby aged 28 days or younger. However, most people tend to use the term newborn to refer to babies aged anywhere from 1 day to 3 months old. Newborn babies are fragil little creatures whose organs are still growing and whose systems are still developing.
Caring for newborns requires attention to detail, gentleness, and a great deal of patience.
The physicians of Pediatrics of Sugar Land will be more than pleased to help take care of your newborn child and ensure that they are and remain perfectly healthy. Book your appointment with us today!
Newborn Care Q&A
Does a newborn need special care?
Newborns require gentle care and close medical monitoring to make sure that they adapt well to life outside of the womb. First-time parents especially will greatly benefit from a pediatrician’s guidance and wisdom.
Specialized care will depend on many factors such as the term and exact age of the baby, how smoothly the pregnancy and delivery went, any preexisting conditions that the newborn may suffer from as well as environmental factors such as weather conditions. In general, however, some rules and principles apply to all newborns.
Newborns should be well covered, as they can’t regulate their body temperature and will easily suffer from hypothermia or hyperthermia. Regularly measuring a baby’s temperature with a thermometer is a good way to ensure that they are comfortable at all times.
Make sure that the newborn’s head and neck are always supported, and don’t hesitate to limit their range of motion to avoid accidents like rolling on their face or injuring themselves with their nails.
What are a newborn’s sleep and nutrition needs?
A newborn sleeps a lot, around 14 to 18 hours a day, so it’s important to provide the baby with an environment that’s compatible with sound sleep and relaxation. A baby also needs to be fed almost every two to three hours and should be closely monitored to look out for any signs of distress or disease.
Consulting a pediatrician will help the parents adopt the right habits when it comes to breastfeeding. If you are using baby formula, your doctor will help you decide the right one for your baby and will prescribe any necessary supplements to avoid nutritional deficiencies.
Since the stomach of newborns is not fully developed yet, many will experience reflux after being fed. This is why it’s important to burp the child or to rest them on their side after each feeding.
How do I care for my baby's umbilical cord?
It usually comes off only during the first 3 to 12 days of life. It should be washed with soap and water, preferably at the time of daily cleaning, only once a day with dried gently; and covered with clean, sterile gauze bathed in alcohol.
This gauze will be changed whenever necessary; if it becomes stained with urine or feces, you must repeat the entire cleaning process.
How to protect a newborn from infections?
A newborn’s immune system is almost nonexistent right after birth. Their infection-fighting abilities will be derived from the mother’s breast milk. In newborns, infections can cause serious complications and irreversible damage, hence the importance of protecting babies from germs as much as possible.
To do so, it’s important to clean the hands before touching your baby, and before handling items like the pacifier or the baby’s bottle. It’s also important to keep your baby’s contact with other people to a minimum and to avoid displays of affection such as hugs or kisses in the early weeks of life.
When changing a baby’s diaper, wiping from front to back is important to prevent urinary tract infections, especially in baby girls. Make sure to keep the baby’s umbilical cord outside of their diaper to protect it from germs and infection. The umbilical cord will take about two weeks before it falls on its own. In the meantime, it should be kept clean and dry.
What are some newborn warning signs to keep in mind?
Anxious parents will tend to excessively worry about even the slightest sound or facial expression that their baby makes. While most symptoms are benign and not a cause for concern, some warning signs need to be mentioned as they should warrant immediate medical care.
These signs include respiratory difficulties like the baby turning blue, having labored breathing, and showing signs of distress such as nose flaring or the retraction of their neck and chest muscles. Neurological signs like loss of consciousness, generalized weakness, and non-responsiveness are also alarming.
If the baby becomes too exhausted to breastfeed or drink from the bottle, or if they haven’t experienced bowel movement for more than 48 hours, they should also be seen by a pediatrician immediately.
How does post-partum care affect a newborn’s health?
A great part of newborn care resides in caring for the mother also. Post-partum can be a stressful time, and any discomfort or unease felt by the mother will also impact her newborn. New mothers should prioritize their physical and mental health, by consuming plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, making sure to get some sleep, inhaling fresh air, and moving and stretching whenever possible.
A pediatrician will be able to guide and support the mother and will refer her to a midwife, a gynecologist, or a psychiatrist if she’s suffering from any post-partum complications.
What’s the importance of medical care for newborn babies?
Pregnancy and childbirth aren’t the only critical periods in a baby’s life. The first weeks of life also hold their share of potential complications. Close medical attention is necessary during this time to prevent and manage any health concerns.
A doctor will also be able to closely monitor your baby’s development milestones, to make sure that your baby doesn’t suffer from any growth disorders.