Most babies are born healthy and within their due date. However, the care they receive in the first few days, weeks, and months of life can affect their health. A baby’s survival and well-being depend on basic care. The term essential newborn care (ENC) describes this basic level of care beginning at birth, continuing for 28 days, and going into the first month after birth.
It is normal for a newborn to breathe and cry on its own at birth. It is important to remember that a baby just emerged from the mother’s uterus, a quiet, warm, and smooth place filled with amniotic fluid. So, try to keep your baby warm by being gentle. To keep a newborn warm, the mother must maintain skin-to-skin contact with them.
After birth, giving the baby some simple yet important care is important. The following steps will help you learn about the immediate care steps that must be given to all babies after birth.
Risk factors for newborns
The majority of babies will have a healthy birth and will be able to breathe easily and start feeding soon after birth. However, if you sense any complications, seek immediate medical assistance. The pediatrician can carefully inspect your child for complications or problems by performing a complete physical examination.
As a parent, you must check for the danger signs like red, swollen eyelids and pus discharge from the eyes, convulsion or fits, and jaundice. Your actions are crucial for ensuring that the newborn receives prompt and safe care.
Sometimes, negligence on the part of doctors or nurses can also lead to birth injuries like cerebral palsy and brachial plexus, which (in some cases) can cause permanent disability to your child. While there is no way to recover from the emotional loss, you can seek financial assistance. Contact the birth injury justice center to receive professional information and guidance regarding the legal matter.
Washing and bathing
It is not necessary to bathe your baby every day. Instead, you may prefer to wash their faces, necks, hands, and bottoms. A common term for this is “topping and tailing.”
Choose a time when your baby will be awake and content to bathe. Ensure that the room is warm. Prepare everything beforehand. You’ll only need a bowl filled with warm water, a towel, some cotton wool, a new diaper, and clothes to wear. Clean your baby’s face while holding them on your knee. After washing their hair with plain water, support them over the bowl while they wash their hair. After gently drying their hair, you can remove their nappies and wipe away any messes. Complete the bath by gently applying water to the body and using mild baby soap.
Changing a baby’s nappy as soon as they wet or poop themselves is important to prevent sores and redness. An older baby may need to be changed around 6 to 8 times a day, while a newborn may need to be changed 10 to 12 times daily.
Both disposable and cloth nappies are available in various sizes and shapes. It might seem confusing initially, but with trial and error, you’ll find out what suits your baby best. There are pros and cons to disposable and cloth nappies, so consider factors such as cost, convenience, and the environment when deciding where to buy them.
Your baby’s sleeping patterns will differ from that of other babies. And it is highly unlikely that your baby will sleep at your sleep times. So, to make things easier, try to sleep when your baby sleeps.
Additionally, during the first six months, you should sleep with your baby in the same room every night and day. It can lower the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
In the early weeks of breastfeeding, your baby is likely to fall asleep during a feed for short periods. Feed your baby until you think they’re finished or until they are fully asleep. It may be a good idea to try to get a bit of sleep yourself. In the early weeks, your baby might only fall asleep in your arms or when you’re standing near the cot.
In the first few days after birth, your breasts produce colostrum. It is usually yellow and has a thick texture. Due to the concentrated nature of the food, your baby will only need a tiny amount, about a teaspoonful, with each feeding.
Ideally, you should breastfeed your newborn within the first hour of their birth. Then it is recommended to feed quite frequently, perhaps every hour. After a few days, your breasts will produce more “mature” milk, leading to fewer but longer feeds.
Feel free to talk to your midwife or health visitor if you have concerns about breastfeeding or think your baby isn’t receiving enough milk. In this case, they may recommend you give your baby some expressed breast milk.
Postnatal follow-up visits for newborns
The postnatal period (the first six weeks after birth) plays an essential role in the health and survival of a mother and her newborn. Inadequate care during this period may lead to premature death or disabilities and missed opportunities to promote healthy behavior, affecting women, newborns, and children.
Three home visits are required at critical times to provide the best postnatal care for normal-weight babies, and the mother should come to the health clinic at six weeks for her fourth visit. If the baby is low birth weight, you will have to make an additional home visit.
During these visits, your health extension practitioner will ensure your and the baby’s health and assist you with care for your new baby.
Being a parent to a newborn requires constant monitoring and frequent feeding. Initially, it may be difficult to keep up with the baby’s schedule, but gradually you will get used to it. Your baby’s health depends on your care. It is essential to follow these steps to minimize risk and maximize growth.