Tips on caring for the newborn infant

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Sometimes we unintentionally cause harm to the newborn. This can be avoided if we are just a little careful.

Maternity care is also essential to keep the baby well. It must be remembered that if the mother is healthy, the child will be healthy as well. Check out these tips on neonatal care:

· Guests should not overcrowd the newborn’s room. Newborns can easily contract different ailments from respiratory or skin infections of others. No one should touch the newborn without washing or sanitising their hands. Kissing the babies isn’t good either.

· Breastfeeding the newborn right after birth is most crucial. The baby should be given to the mother breast as soon as possible after birth, even before the placenta is removed. Breast milk does not flow well for a day or two after the baby is born. The thick yellowish milk called colostrum that comes out then is high quality in terms of nutrition and immunity.  

· It’s better to wrap the baby with several layers of soft cotton fabric instead of a heavy towel for warmth. Instead of putting clothes on the baby right after buying them, the clothes should be first washed and sun-dried.

· Right after delivery, the physician or trained nurse will severe the navel with a sterile blade and tie it with a pair of sterile clamps or thread. Then they will apply thick spirit on the navel once. No type of heat therapy can be applied on the navel after bringing the newborn home. The navel has to be kept dry and clean.

Danger signs

The new born should be taken to a physician if certain symptom, danger signs, appear.

For example, the body temperature rising above 100 degrees or dropping below 97 degrees, the baby being unable or uninterested in breastfeeding, heavy breathing, ribcage falling inwards, lethargy, remaining still and not moving much, having seizures or suffering from jaundice.

In these cases, the newborn should immediately be taken to the physician.

Professor Dr Shaheen Akhter, neonatal, child and adolescent department, Aalok Hospital Ltd, Mirpur, Dhaka.  

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