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Care of the Newborn Baby – Initial Days

Arrival of the Baby

After a long wait of nine months, when finally your baby arrives, you have some questions in mind, such as how your babies are born and what happens immediately after their birth? Actually when babies are born:

  • They are wet and naked. They have come from a warm and comfortable environment of their maternal womb, so.
  • They are immediately dried up, cleaned and kept under a warmer, so that a temperature can be maintained for them.
  • They are examined, to check if they are breathing normally, and all other things such as weight, height, heart sound, visual reaction, hearing screening, reflexes, and umbilical stump are normal.
  • They are given the Injection of vitamin K, to prevent any kind of bleeding.
  • If everything is alright, baby is shifted to the mother’s room.

Baby with mother-“rooming in”

All normal babies are “Roomed In” or kept with mother. It helps in initiating breast- feeding and also keeping baby warm and comfortable.

Keeping Baby Comfortable

As a parent of a newborn, you try your best to keep your baby comfortable in this new world. Following are the answers of some common questions:

What should be the optimum room temperature?

  • Unlike adults, newborn babies do not have adequate mechanism to generate or shed heat, so they are required to be kept under optimum temperature.
  • By enlarge the room temperature which is slightly warm or uncomfortable to an adult is usually comfortable for the baby.
  • During winter baby should be fully covered with woolen. Socks, hand gloves and cap should be used to prevent heat loss. Room should be kept warm with room heaters.
  • During summer baby should wear loose and soft cotton clothes. Room should be properly ventilated and kept cool by using cooler or air conditioners.

How to asses whether baby is comfortable or not?

  • When comfortable, baby’s hands and feet should be reasonably warm to touch and sole and palm should be pink in color.
  • If baby is too cold, sole and palms tend to get bluish.
  • If baby is sweating overhead and neck it means he is over clothed or room temperature is too high.
Breast Feeding The Baby

Breast-feed is the ideal food for your child because of its nutritional composition. Following are the facts associated with the breast-feeding:

How to go about it?

  • Baby should be put to mother’s breast as soon as possible, preferably within half to one hour.
  • Do not give anything else like honey, water or top milk.
  • Initial watery yellow milk called colorstrum is good for babies health and should never be discarded.
  • Adopt a “Semi-demand” approach. If baby demands feed him otherwise offer every 2-3 hrly.
  • Babies have a tendency to fall asleep after few sucks, don’t worry. Try to tickle him gently to keep awake.
  • Babies should be fed exclusively by breast for first 4-6 months. During this period they do not require any supplements including water.

Is my baby getting enough milk?

  • A cranky baby, a baby who puts hands inside his mouth or who makes sucking movements doesn’t always mean a hungry baby.
  • Mother’s milk is always adequate for nutritional requirements of a baby.
  • Be sure your baby is getting enough milk if he.
  • Remains contented and happy for 2-3 hours after feed.
  • Passes urine at least six times a day.
  • Shows satisfactory weight gains i.e. App. 30 grams per day during first 4 months.
Baby Massage


  • Improves blood circulation.
  • Improves muscle tone.
  • Improves texture of the skin and reduces dryness.
  • Enhances neuromotor development by sending sensory signals to brain.

How to go about it?

  • Baby should be at least 15 days old and 3 kg before massage is started.
  • Any mild oil can be used.
  • Prefer non-scented and non-irritating oil. Avoid mustard oil.
  • Room should be warm enough and draught free.
  • Before applying rub hands between palms to maintain temperature.
  • Use gentle pressure, do not apply undue force.
  • Use rhythmic movements first from trunk towards periphery of limbs and than in reverse direction.
  • During massage make passive movements of joints.

Watch out

  • Do not rely on housemaids for baby massage. Vigorous and over zealous massage and exercise by maids have known to cause soft tissue injuries and fractures.
  • Do not instill oil in ears or nostrils of the baby.
  • Do not try to ‘raise the ghunti’ by putting finger inside mouth.
Care of the Naval
  • At birth blue colored G V paint is applied over the cord.
  • Cord dries and falls off in 5-10 days after birth.
  • Clean stump with surgical spirit twice a day.
  • Do not apply any ghee, oil or powder over the stump.
  • If discharge continues or stump becomes red- consult immediately.
How Baby Grows?
  • Normal birth weight for a full term baby is 2.5 kg to 3.9 kg.
  • They loose 5-8% of weight during first 3-4 days.
  • Regain birth weight by 7-10 days.
  • Normal weight gain is 25-35 grams/ day for first 4 months.
  • Vaccines are oral drops or injections given to protect baby from various communicable diseases.
  • Vaccines have no role in prevention of a disease.
  • Initial vaccines like Oral Polio, BCG and Hepatitis B are usually given before baby is discharged.
  • Baby’s Growth parameters and Vaccination data are recorded in a heath card. It also shows dates for future check ups and vaccinations.

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