CARE OF THE NEWBORN- What to expect the first few days?
Arrival of a new member in the family is a very joyous occasion. However, new parents soon find the care of the new-born very challenging especially in the existing nuclear family status.
Hospital Stay: Newborn care starts soon after birth, in the hospital itself and must receive care in the hospital for a minimum period of 24 hours and sometimes up to 3 days.
Check-ups: At least three additional check- ups are recommended for all mothers and newborns; on day 3, between 7–14 days and 6 weeks after birth.
Care of the neonates include; breast feeding, cord care, keeping baby warm, immunization and maintenance of hygiene etc.
Breast Feeding: Start ASAP! Find it difficult consult lactation experts. All babies must be “only breastfed” until 6 months of age and this must be initiated as soon as possible. Additional water, or top feeds must not be given to children unless recommended by doctor.
(Exclusive breast feeding for up to six months is recommended by World Health Organization (WHO), and adopted by Indian Ministry of Women and Child Health)
Umbilical cord: Needs to be kept dry and clean. Application of traditional substances such as cow dung, paste, or antiseptics must be avoided and can even be harmful.
Bathing the baby; should be delayed until after 24 hours of birth or at least six hours till the body temperature of the baby is stabilized.
Baby Clothing; Baby must be kept warm with appropriate clothing. This means one to two layers of clothes more than adults, and use of caps scarves.
Bonding; The mother and baby should not be separated and should stay in the same room.
Immunization; with Hepatitis B vaccine, BCG vaccine and oral Polio vaccine must be given soon after birth to prevent Hepatitis B, Tuberculosis, and Polio diseases.
Hygiene; Persons handling the baby must disinfect their hands with an antiseptic each time before touching the baby to prevent transmission of infections to the baby.