Babies need to be comfortable at all times they should not be too hot or too cold. Their clothing should suit the weather and the heating within the house should suit the children and adults alike. If the house in centrally heated then your baby will be comfortable in just a vest and a stretch suit when he is indoors. When they leave the house they may need more clothing depending on what the temperature outside is. At bedtime, cover them with as many blankets as you would use, if you were sleeping in that room. Each folded blanket is equivalent to two blankets. You don't have to keep the central heating on through the night.
To sleep well, the baby doesn't need a specially heated room. Studies have found that a cool room allows both adults and babies to sleep well. The ideal temperature is around 18 degrees centigrade (65 degrees Fahrenheit). Babies like adults will need less clothing in summer. So make sure you clothe your baby lightly especially while he is sleeping to ensure there is no overheating. If it is cold outside you can wrap your baby with an extra blanket when to step outside the house. But once in your vehicle make sure you remove the extra layers of clothing to ensure that he doesn't get too hot. People often tell you that you can find out whether your baby is hot or cold by feeling their palms and the sole of their feet. But these are not indicators of baby's body temperature. To find out the 'core temperature' place your hand flat against the skin of their back or chest.
If they feel pleasantly warm not too hot or cold then they are fine. If they are very hot they will feel sweaty, may have a heat rash around the neck and their face maybe flushed. Reducing the number of clothes that they are wearing or the layers covering them will make them feel better. If the baby is feeling very cold he will cry and even shiver. Sometimes when they feel extremely cold, they will become motionless, as they want to safe energy to keep themselves warm. Adding clothing or covering will make them warm. You could hold them close to your body so that they get warm as a result of your body heat. New parents often worry that they will not be able to tell when their baby is unwell. Once you get accustomed to the routine of your baby, you will be able to notice any change in behavior or routine. Sometimes you may not realize that your baby is ill. Here are a few signs that will help you detect that the baby is ill:
- Lack of energy.
- Doesn't pass urine for over eight hours.
- Stools are yellow-green in color.
- Not feeding normally.
- Cries and is irritated when carried.
- Is vomiting.
- Feels hot and sweaty or hot and dry.
Using an ear thermometer is the most accurate way of finding out the baby's temperature. You can find out the 'core temperature' by placing your hand flat against the skin of his chest or back. If he feels hot then he has a fever. Speak to your doctor before you administer paracetamol. Follow the instructions given on the bottle accurately. Put the baby in a cool room and dress him lightly. Sponging the baby with lukewarm water will reduce his temperature. Remove all his clothes except his nappy, dip the sponge in lukewarm water and gently rub all over his body. Allow this water to evaporate from the skin thus lowering the temperature. When the baby has very high temperature he may have febrile convulsions or fits. This happens when the baby's temperature rises suddenly. Some children have this before they are one year old. It is not a pleasant sight to watch. Give the baby paracetamol, sponge him with lukewarm water, keep him in a cool room and remove extra layers of clothing and you can prevent this from happening again.
Jaundice At Birth
While the baby is in the womb it is dependent on the mother for food and oxygen. Both these reach the baby through the umbilical cord that connects him to his mother. The baby's blood has additional red blood cells to help in the distribution of oxygen through out his body. After birth the baby begins to breathe through his lungs and hence does not need the additional red blood cells. His body will start disposing off the extra cells. These red blood cells are destroyed in spleen and a major by-product thus produced is bilirubin.
The liver removes the bilirubin from the bloodstream and passes it on to the intestines. As the baby's liver is still developing, it is unable to manage, the sudden increase in bilirubin during the first few days. The large amounts of bilirubin in the blood will make the baby's skin appear yellow. Immediately after birth it is normal for babies to have a small amount of jaundice. But if the concentration of bilirubin in the blood is high it could damage the baby's brain. You should ask your doctor to monitor your baby constantly if he has jaundice. Things that you can do:
- Breast-feed your baby as often as he is willing to feed. This will aid is reducing the bilirubin in the blood.
- Breast milk is sufficient to remove the extra bilirubin you do not need to give him any other fluids.
If the amount of jaundice your baby has is high, your doctor will treat him using phototherapy. They will place the baby under a light, naked expect for an eye patch for a few hours, for a few days. This light will not harm your baby in any way. He can be treated in a mobile unit in your room.
Causes & Treatment For Nappy Rash
Nappy rash is a common problem that all babies have at some point in their early life. The baby's buttocks become red and sore. Baby rash is a result of:
- The bacteria in the baby's stools reacting with the substances in his urine. This causes irritation and redness. Change the baby's nappy as soon as he wets or soils it. Use a nappy rash cream that has zinc oxide as a component.
- The baby's skin being damp. As you change his nappy dry his bottom with a soft cotton washcloth. Allow your baby to stay without a nappy for a few hours everyday.
- The baby's skin reacting to the soap or the wipes you use. It is better to use lukewarm water and cotton wool to clean your baby's bottom.
- Using strong detergents to wash cloth nappies. Use detergents that are gentle and rinse off a number of times.
Nappy rash that doesn't go away inspite of all the precautions it may well be thrush. If so then you need to consult your doctor immediately. Infection caused by the fungus candia albicans in thrush. This fungus thrives in areas of the body where there is a lot of moisture like the mouth or groin area.
Thrush in the mouth appears as little white spots inside the cheeks and on the tongue of the baby. If you try to clean these while spots they will appear red in color. Thrush makes the mouth very sensitive and it is difficult for the baby to feed. Oral thrush can be treated with a suspension or a gel to be applied locally. If you notice that your baby has a recurrent case of thrush when you are bottle-feeding him, sterilize the bottles and teats you use thoroughly. Steam sterilization is the best method to use.
Bathing And Cleaning Your Baby
By the time, the baby is a few weeks old; you will have a bath routine in place. Even so it will help to remember the following:
- Bathing environment should be calm and warm.
- The baby should not be hungry or tired.
- Everything you need should be ready and at hand.
Some babies do not like having a bath. So instead you can 'top and tail' or sponge the baby everyday for sometime:
- Wrap your baby in a towel to stop them from waving their arms. Undress them only if you want to.
- Wipe his eye with a little cotton wool that has been dipped in cooled boiled water. Begin with the inside of his eye and work outward. Wipe the other eye with another piece of cotton wool.
- Use wet cotton wool to wipe over and behind his ear. Use fresh piece of cotton wool for each ear.
- Wipe their face, neck and under their chin with damp flannel or cotton wool.
- Pat dry with a soft towel making sure that they are not damp in the creases.
- Wipe dry their hands.
- Change their nappy after cleaning nappy area and change into clean clothes. Using special bedtime clothes can help them get used to a bedtime routine.
Hair: You need not wash your baby's hair everyday. Just wiping it with a damp flannel cloth will remove any dirt that is there.
Nails: The easiest way to cut your baby's nails is to nibble them off. You can use a pair of scissors to cut them off while they are asleep. The best time would be after a bath, when the nails are soft.
Ears and Nose: These organs clean themselves, so just wipe them gently with wet cotton wool.
Cradle cap: This is a yellowish crust on the baby's scalp, which looks a little like dandruff. This occurs when the baby is between a month and six months old and almost all babies have it. This does not harm the baby in any way and normally disappears as the baby grows up. If it is noticeable you can do the following:
- Use a baby shampoo.
- Massage one tablespoon of olive oil or almond oil into his scalp. Leave it on for an hour then wash it clean by shampooing.
- Apply oil carefully to ensure that it does not enter the baby's eyes. The baby should not touch the oil as it may get into his eyes after that.
- Bicarbonate of soda rinse: Dissolve a teaspoon of soda in 500 ml of warm water and apply on scalp with the help of cotton wool. Shampoo thoroughly. Use this regime once or twice a week.
- The flakes will become loose if you gently comb his hair gently.
- Never pick or scratch to loosen the flakes.
- If serious or you see red patches on the baby's neck and behind his ears then consult a doctor immediately.
Sleeping Safe and Sound
There is nothing more peaceful than the sight of a sleeping baby. At the same time, there is no thought more terrifying than that, your baby may die while sleeping soundly. Unfortunate as it is, there are a few instances of cot deaths. Every parents main concern is to keep their baby safe and sound even when they are asleep. Though numerous studies have been done on cot deaths, no one has been able to pin point the reason for the same. This fatality seems to be caused when a number of factors work together and affect the baby some particular way. Researchers have come up a few simple rules to be followed, which considerably lower the risk of cot death while the baby is asleep. Follow these rules to help your baby sleep safely:
- Make your baby sleep on his/her back.
- Make the baby sleep in the 'feet-to-foot' position and away from the end of the cot. Place the baby in such a way that, the feet of the baby are facing the foot of the cot, but are not touching the end of the cot.
- The right temperature for a baby's room is 18 degrees centigrade (65 F). Babies should never get very hot.
- Do not use an electric blanket or a hot water bottle in the baby's cot.
- They should not be allowed to sleep either in direct sunlight or near a fire or heater.
- The baby's clothes, sheets and blankets must be made of cotton only.
- While sleeping all they need is nappy, vest and sleep suit. If it is a hot night them make sure you dress the baby lightly.
- Do not use duvets or sheepskins until the baby is a year old.
- The room in which the baby sleeps must be smoke free. Do not smoke or allow anyone to smoke while near the baby.
- During the first six months make sure that the baby cot is in your bedroom.
- Avoid sleeping with your baby on the sofa.
- If you smoke, drink alcohol, are taking medicines or drugs which will make you sleep deeply, then do not allow your baby to share your bed.
- Do not cover the baby's head unless it is very cold, as they lose excess heat from their head and face.
- When the baby has a fever his covering should be light and not heavy as is often believed.
- The baby's bedding, mattress, covering should be kept clean, sun-dry and aired.