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Baby Care Tips

Having a New Baby, particularly your first, is one of the most exciting events of your life, Baby Care Tipsbut at times it can also feel like one of the most frightening!

Tasks that you may expect to "come naturally", like breastfeeding, bathing or settling a crying baby can become traumatic if your new baby does not seem to want to cooperate!

Last Updated - 24th September 2005

Jaundice in the Newborn Baby.
Do not be alarmed if the whites of your baby's eyes and their skin turns a slight yellow color after 3 days. This is a condition called jaundice and is caused because your baby's liver cannot work fast enough to dispose of a pigment called bilirubin. Premature babies are more likely to suffer from jaundice.
It usually clears up after a few days and this can be aided by exposure to sunlight (through a window).You may also be encouraged to feed your baby as often as possible. Sometimes when the bilirubin levels are very high a baby may need to be exposed to controlled amounts of ultra violet light in the form of phototherapy. Ultra violet breaks down the pigment levels in the skin. This will be carried out in hospital. Your baby will be placed in a special crib sometimes in Special Care. This is a routine treatment and is very effective.

Baby Nails
Try cutting your baby's nails when they are asleep, it's less stressful and there is less chance of cutting the end of there fingers off.

Bottle refusal
If your baby starts to refuse a bottle don't give up, try a different type of teat. Many main outlets stock the same main brands and types of teat so try your local chemist as they may have more variety, especially different shaped ones. If you have been using silicone teats, try a latex one. Although they are a bit smelly and probably won't last as long, they seem softer on your baby's gums, a problem particularly if they are teething.

An alternative to baby wipes
If you can't afford or don't want to use baby wipes when you go out, take a damp flannel in a plastic bag to clean and wash and a dry flannel to act as a towel to dry your baby. Carry this around in a small plastic bag e.g.: a sandwich bag or freezer bag.

When should your baby sleep in their own room
Don't feel that you have to keep your baby in your room at night. It's down to the individual. Most new parents keep their baby with them at night for the first few months and this can obviously make it easier for night feeds etc. If your partner has returned to work, nightly disruption can cause tension and stress from lack of sleep. If, by placing the baby in his/her room, you are worried about not hearing your baby cry, then purchase a monitor and place one in your baby's room and another in your bedroom. On whatever you decide to do and whenever, try not to feel guilty. It is a big move when your baby sleeps in their own room for the first time but you and they will soon adjust to the change and routine will soon settle in.

Register your baby's birth
Don't forget to register your baby's birth. In the When you receive the birth certificate, make sure it's correct and if not, get it corrected as soon as possible.

Cradle Cap
If you find your baby develops a yellow, hard crust on his/her scalp then your baby probably has Cradle Cap. Don't panic! - this is very common. Rubbing coconut oil into the scalp, leaving overnight and then shampooing as usual the following morning is very effective. You may need to repeat this several times. The problem resolved itself and then reappears a week later, this is quite normal.

Sensitive skin in the sun
If the sun is out, remember to give baby a covering of good sun block to keep out those harmful rays.

Get some air to the baby's bottom !
If your baby is suffering from nappy rash, try bathing them in lukewarm water. This will remove all traces of urine. Do not add any bubble bath. Let their bottom dry naturally in the air. Nappy rash is caused by ammonia, in urine, reacting on the babies skin. It breaks down their natural protective skin barrier. This then makes the skin red, sore, spotty and can lead to blisters. This leaves the skin open to infections such as thrush (candida). Nappy rash is a very common problem but should not be overlooked. If the nappy rash does not clear up after a few days with using normal antiseptic barrier cream at nappy changes, consult your health visitor or doctor.

Sleeping problems from ear ache
Babies can be extremely susceptible to ear infections and this can cause them immense discomfort. Problems like this are usually recognized by prolonged periods of screaming and generally not able to settle at all. After your doctor/health visitor has diagnosed that the problem lies with an ear infection, a warm rice bag may help to soothe. These come in many different shapes and colors but are essentially a cloth bag filled with rice. They can also help with sore muscles. Warm the bag in a microwave oven until warm and place it under the baby's head, next to his/her ear. It will stay warm for a long time and help to relax them.

Ready for bath time
Before you bath your baby ensure that you have everything you need near to you, as you should never leave a baby or small child unattended in the bath. Things you will need: - Nappy, cream, babygro/clothes, warmed towel

Refluxing - Premature Babies
Refluxing is a common problem with premature babies. One way of lessening the reflux is to keep your baby's head elevated. Bouncers come in handy for this purpose.

Sterilizing in the first 6 months
You should sterilize all bottles, eating equipment and dummies until your baby is 6 months old. If you are breast feeding and haven't got a sterilize, you can boil eating utensils for 10 minutes.
Remember that milk is a good breeding ground for germs so give bottles,teats etc. a very good wash in hot soapy water before sterilizing.

Blisters on lips
If you notice a blister on your baby's upper lip, do not be alarmed. These are known as sucking blisters and may occur at any time while your baby is purely milk fed. they will disappear on their own usually within a day or so

Bathing Baby
Some people advise you to use a baby bath for months, they are happier to be in the big bath, lying on their backs in very shallow water (2 cm deep)

Always Baby Talk
At a young age your baby will start to talk or babble as is sounds. Although they are not able to pronounce real sounding words, your baby is trying to communicate with you. Talk back and answer them as you would an older child. When looking at things or going for a walk, point things out to them and tell them what they are. Even if you think that they are too young to understand what you are saying - they will start to associate words with situations and things & will soon start trying to pronounce them. After all, children are like computers, they only output what you input!

Baby in the highchair
When you start feeding your baby in her highchair, make sure you have everything ready around you. Also ensure that you strap your baby into her highchair, even if she is very young. Never leave her alone in her highchair, even if you don't think that she can get out - you never know. The main things that you will need around you are: - food, bowl, spoons, bib, and flannel.

Sleep! Problems
Even when the whole house is being shouted down by your troublesome two year old, stick to your guns. It is very important to keep to routine even when your baby/toddler thinks otherwise. Try to keep to a strict bed time. You have to keep to this routine for a couple of weeks before you see a change but it will get better. In the Summer time it can be a good idea to darken the child's room if there is too much light coming through.

Taking babies out in the sun
Remember that babies have very delicate skin so they will burn in sun that you as an adult would not even notice was strong. Always use a sun block with a high spf (Sun Protection Factor) i.e. 25 or even 50. This factor does not stand for the number of hours you are safe for, it just means that your baby will be protected up to 50 times more than if they were not using any blockat all, for example if they would normally burn after 2 minutes with a sun block of factor 50 they are protected for 1 hour 40 minutes.
It's a good idea to cover your baby with loose fitting cotton clothes but remember that they can still burn through clothes, so use a block as well..

Aspirin and children
Aspirin should never be given to children under 12 years old unless specifically prescribed by your doctor, as it has been linked to a very rare condition called Reyes syndrome (where by there is inflammation of the brain and liver).
Aspirin is also known as salicylate or saliclic acid, so check any products you are unsure of. Your General Physician or pharmacist will be able to help you and give you further advice.

New born babies and car seats
Make sure you have acquired a baby car seat before you have to collect your baby from hospital, check the requirements of your local hospital as most hospitals will not allow you to bring your baby home without one. It doesn't matter if you borrow or buy, but do ensure that the seat is up to the current safety standards and if its borrowed that it hasn't been in a car that's been involved in an accident. Its a good idea to practice putting it in and taking it out of the car before hand, as when you pick your new born up from the hospital it can be a very stressful day.

Dog and your baby
If you have a dog and are having a baby, it is a good idea to have your dog checked over by your Vet. Ensure your dog is flea/tick free and also is regularly wormed. If you have a room where the baby will sleep, away from the everyday living room, try putting a stair gate to stop the dog from being able to enter this room.

Easing of pushchair and pram fittings
If you have ever been in this situation, it is raining and you're either trying to put up or pack away the pram or pushchair and it just won't open or close properly, then this tip may help you next time.
When runners, sliders or brackets stick or refuse to run freely, then just spray them with ordinary furniture polish, this acts as a lubricant, but has the added advantage that it isn't oily like WD40 or other oils can be.

Prevention of nappy rash
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All babies may get nappy rash at one time or another. Some ways of helping to avoid this are as follows:-

Door locks
It is a good idea to move your bathroom door locks up higher if possible so that your toddler cannot inadvertently lock themselves in.

Another tip is to put a bolt on the outside of the door, also up high so that you can keep the door shut and keep your toddler out of the toilet, as this is always the place they want to play.

Babies with wind
Here is something to check if your baby is suffering from excessive wind problems and is bottle fed. Ensure the hole in the teat is not so small that your baby has to suck too hard to get the milk out, thus taking in extra air. There is an age guide printed on all teat packaging. You should also have the bottle at an angle to make sure that the teat is full of milk at all times.

Some symptoms of wind are as follows:- Lifting up knees, excessive crying, eyes rolling, smiling when eyes are shut.

T aking baby's temperature
Remember that a thermometer reading that is taken under the arm is 0.6 degrees C lower than body temperature. So if you have been advised to call the GP when the babies temperature is greater than 39 degrees C you would only be looking for an external reading of 38.4 or greater.

First Impressions of your baby
When you see your baby for the first time they will probably have a funny shaped head and many have blotchy skin. This is all normal and is due to the birth and having been kept in wet, cramped conditions for the last 9 months. All will settle down after a short while. Just remember that you probably won't be looking the best yourself

Naming Your Baby
When you choose a name for your baby it is bound to cause considerable discussion between your and your partner. Try to take into account how it looks and sounds with your surname. Think how you would like the name , if it was given to you. Also take into account what the initials will spell. But, remember it is all down to personal choice

Locking it away from baby's reach
As soon as your baby starts to move around, it is time to start locking your kitchen cupboards. Your baby will take great interest in exploring everything that is within reach. Take a look in all the cupboards that are accessible to him or her and see whether potential hazards can be moved out of reach. i.e.: place pots and pans into a cupboard at the bottom nearest the floor, and move the plates/cups to a cupboard above the worktops. Ensure that you move and lock away all items from under the sink such as bleach, washing powder etc. Another precaution that you may want to employ is to fit child locks on the cupboard doors, which can be purchased from any DIY store

Stimulating your baby - motor skills
The best way for your baby to develop its motor skills is by giving them plenty of opportunity. They will naturally develop skills on their own but the best way for them to increase their strength and coordination is by being active. Change your baby's sitting position frequently from back to tummy, from cot to floor, and from supported to eventually unsupported. At first they may have difficulty in sitting up unsupported but with gradually removing supports such as pillows they will soon gain enough strength to sit upright, alone. Some useful exercises such as such as standing them on your lap and bouncing, pull to a sitting position and pull to standing using your fingers all help with your baby's physical development.

A natural routine
When your baby first comes home you will be inundated with advise from family and friends. Although most of this will be good advise don't worry too much about what your baby should and should not be doing at certain times of the day. You're baby, if allowed, will develop his/her own routine all in good time. It takes time for a new born to settle down and realize themselves when they want to sleep and eat. You don't have to force a routine

Diaper Changing
If you're using a changing table, strap your baby in for safety. Never leave your baby unattended or out of your reach.
After unfastening the diaper, use it to wipe away most of a bowel movement, from front to back. Then clean away any urine and remaining feces with a wet cotton ball or diaper wipe. Pat your baby dry with a towel if you've used a cotton ball. If you're changing a boy's diaper, keep a fresh diaper over his penis as much as you can and aim the penis downward when putting on a new diaper to keep wetness from drenching his clothing.
Put on the clean diaper. If you're using cloth diapers, they're probably pre-folded and ready to use, but you may need to fold them further until your baby gets bigger. (The extra fabric goes in the front for boys and the back for girls.) Slide the diaper under your baby so his waist aligns with the top edge.
Bring the front up between his legs, and hold it in place while you fold the sides in toward the center and fasten, by using either a Velcro diaper cover or a diaper pin.
Then, if you're not using a diaper cover, put a pair of waterproof pants over the diaper. Waterproof pants should fit snugly -- but not so snugly that they irritate your baby's skin.
If you're using disposable diapers: lay the diaper flat, with the tabs at the back. Slide the diaper under your baby so that the top aligns with his waist. Bring the front up between his legs and tuck it around his stomach. Unpeel the tabs, pull them firmly over the front flap and fasten the diaper. (Be sure not to fasten the tape to your baby's skin.) The diaper should fit snugly, but it shouldn't be tight.
When you're finished, undo the changing table straps and gently pick up your baby.

Dressing Your Baby
Don't overdress your infant. Although well-meaning people may tell you otherwise, use your own comfort level as a barometer—dress your baby as lightly or heavily as you dress yourself.
Observe the condition of your baby's skin and her degree of fussiness. Her skin condition and her cries will let you know when she is uncomfortable.
Dress your baby in soft, loose-fitting clothing to minimize friction against the skin. Avoid rough, course or tight fabrics, bands or straps, especially if it’s hot.
After baby's bath, pat dry her skin thoroughly before dressing her, paying special attention to the folds and creases in her skin.
Apply lotion or cream to the skin to seal in moisture and use powder to reduce friction before dressing your baby to create a smooth layer between your baby's skin and her clothing.
Before going out into the sun, dress your baby in protective, light colored clothing and a hat with a brim.

Calming a Crying Baby

Bathing Your Baby
This is a great opportunity for a "fun time" with your baby!
Be sure the room is warm (but not a sauna) and without drafts.
Have all the articles you will need for the bath and for dressing after the bath.
A sponge bath is given until the cord has fallen off and the circumcision is healed.
A full bath is given only 2-3 times a week. This is a change from daily full bath. However, it is a good idea to wash the face and behind the ears, neck, hands and bottom on a daily basis.
Don't use soap on baby's face.

Cord Care
The umbilical cord connects the placenta and your growing baby at the navel (belly button) area. The cord is closed with clamps and is cut shortly after birth.
To help the cord dry up so it can fall off (in one to three weeks) and prevent infection, cord care must be done.
Gently move a cotton ball or cotton swab, dipped in alcohol, around the bottom of the cord where it attaches to the navel. Be sure to get the alcohol on both the cord and the skin.
Cord care should be done each time you change a diaper & after bath time.
Keep the diaper from touching the cord.
Contact your physician if any of the following are noticed: pus coming from the cord area, a foul smell coming from the cord area, area around the navel is more red than usual or red streaks on the tummy around the navel, or if the skin on the stomach around the navel is extra warm to the touch.



Disclaimer: The Baby Care Tips / Information presented and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Tips And Treats . com and/or its partners.

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