Newborn Intensive & Special Care
Having a newborn is both a beautiful and terrifying thing. This is the point of your life where everything has to change and your child’s life has just begun. You need to do everything that you can during this stage of your child’s life to ensure that he will not have to fight infection, and to keep him in the best of health possible. This can seem very difficult to do, but here are some of the best steps to making this happen. If you follow these procedures and instructions, your baby will remain healthy and you will not have to worry too much about infections setting in.
One of the most important things that you can do is to wash your hands, both before and after touching your baby. Make sure that your hands are clean before you touch your baby—he will be much more prone to infection than you are. You can also keep everything around him very clean. Do the laundry often, sanitize your dishes before you let your child eat off of them, and keep all of his toys clean. You don’t have to go overboard and sterilize everything because the natural exposure to germs will help him from getting sick later on because he can start to develop the immunity to common illnesses.
Learn how to Take their Temperature
You will need to keep careful track of your baby’s temperature throughout the first few months of their life. So, of course, you will need to know how to take their temperature. One of the best and most accurate ways to take their temperature is to do it rectally. You can have your pediatrician show you how to do this, if you are not sure how to do it yourself.
To take your child’s temperature rectally, clean the thermometer thoroughly. Lubricate the tip of the thermometer with petroleum jelly. Lay your baby on his stomach at the changing table and spread his buttocks. Very gently, insert the thermometer into his anus. Never try to force the thermometer, and never insert the thermometer more than ¾ inches into your baby’s anus, otherwise you risk damaging his rectum.
If you are not comfortable doing this, or if you would rather wait until your pediatrician has shown you how to take a baby’s temperature rectally, take his temperature under his arm. Lay him on his back and place the tip of the thermometer between his body and his arm, in his armpit. Do not allow the ball of the thermometer to extend past your baby’s arm. Leave it there for 4 minutes or until you hear the beep from the digital thermometer.
You should always make sure to use a digital thermometer, because they are more accurate than glass thermometers, and glass thermometers will often contain mercury. Also, it is very important to clean and sanitize the thermometer before and after each use. This will help to prevent the spread of germs and illness.
Holding Your Baby
There are several different ways that you can safely and comfortably hold your baby. These will prevent him from having neck injuries.
Many mothers prefer to hold their baby in a cradle position. Place your baby’s head in the crook of your elbow, where it will be completely supported. Hold him like a football, along the length of your forearm, and cradle him there. He will be safe and secure, and you will still be able to use your other arm if necessary or you can use the other arm to hold and support your baby as well.
If you would rather, you can hold your baby in an upright position. This position is often used when burping your baby. Place his head against your shoulder and hold him upright. Keep him close to your body. Use one hand to hold his body to yours, and use the other hand to either burp him or to support his head against you.
These two positions will keep him safe and secure so that you don’t have to worry about neck injuries. Your baby’s head will take up about a quarter of his weight at birth and he does not have the neck muscles needed to support his head. That is what makes it necessary for you to support his head in this way, and to keep him close to you. These are also the most comfortable and convenient ways to hold him.
Caring for the Umbilical Cord
Another one of the most important things for every newborn is the umbilical cord. This is the cord that keeps the baby connected to you while you are pregnant with him. When the baby is born, the umbilical cord is cut close to your baby’s body, and there will still be an umbilical cord stump attached. Here are a few things that you need to know about the umbilical cord stump on your baby.
- Normally, the umbilical cord will start to dry up and turn black within two to three days after birth.
- After about fourteen days, the stump should fall off.
- In order to prevent infection, you need to keep it clean, dry, and uncovered.
In order to ensure that your baby’s umbilical cord stump is healthy and safe, you need to check on it every day. Make sure that it is not red, swollen, oozing puss, producing an unpleasant odor, or causing your baby any pain to touch it. If any of these symptoms develop, you should call your pediatrician. Keep it dry—fold down your baby’s diaper to keep it urine from coming in contact with it. You should also clean it daily with rubbing alcohol on the tip of a cotton swab. This will not hurt your baby, and will only help to prevent it from becoming infected.
Following these steps will help to keep your newborn child healthy and prevent any injury or infection from happening while your baby is so fragile. Be prepared and know when to call your pediatrician. This is a crucial stage of your baby’s life; make it as easy as possible for both your infant and you.