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Newborn care; an overview

Dr. Reshmi Mohan A. Child Development Therapist SUT Hospital, Pattom

Congrats on your new arrival – As parents you may feel overwhelmed and ensure of what to expect or what role you are in. Essential newborn care includes immediate care at the time of birth and care during the entire newborn period. It should be practiced both in the health care sector and after discharge.

Care for ‘term’ newborn

  1. a.   Bathing
    • Daily sponging with lukewarm water.
    • Babies with born weight >2.5kg can be given daily bath.
    • Oil massage is good until it is a soft massage.
    • Duration of bath should not be more than 5 minutes.
  2. b.   Nappy rash
    • Clean the nappy area with wet cotton and plain water.
    • Always keep the area dry.
    • It is necessary to change diapers frequently.
  3. c.   Cord care
    • Keep the cord clean and dry.
    • After bathing cord should be wiped and make it dry with clean cotton / cloth.
    • It may take 7 – 10 days to shed umbilical cord.
    • Diapers should be wear below the umbilicus area

  4. d.   Temperature
    • Wrap the baby properly.
    • Avoid A/C and high speed fan.
    • Maintain same temperature for hands, feet and body.
    • Baby massage is effective for optimal growth of Newborn.

  5. e.   Vitamin D
    • Vitamin D is essential for bone growth.
    • Vitamin D deficiency can lead to Rickets, frequent respiratory infections, seizures and pure immunity.
    • Vitamin D drops should be given once a day.

  6. f.  Vaccination
    • BCG, OPV, Hep. B vaccinations have to be given at the time of birth.

  7. g.  After Discharge
    • Newborn should be examined by a pediatrician within a few days after discharge.
    • Exclusive breast feeding for first 6 months.
    • Care takers should ensure proper hand hygiene.

  8. h.   Danger signs
    • Not taking the feeding well.
    • Face and body looks yellow / yellow coloured urine.
    • Fast breathing.
    • Presence of blood in stool.
    • Pus discharge from umbilicus.

  9. i.   Special things to be noted
    • Baby will regain the birth weight by 7 – 10 days.
    • By the end of first week, baby will pass urine and stool several times.
    • A newborn is like the beginning of – wonder, hope, a dream etc.
  10. j.   Home care for newborn
    • Follow the above discussed instructions.
    • Your doubts regarding anything related to newborn should be shared and made clear with the Neonatologist.

Enjoy Parenting!