By Dr Rita Bakshi
Giving birth to a child is nothing short of a blessing but it definitely comes with responsibility. And first-time parents usually grapple up with what is good or bad for their child. Unconditional love and care starts from delivery and it’s important that parents give full attention to their little ones and never leave them unattended. Newborns are very delicate, sensitive and essentially require extra care and nourishment.
Here are some do’s and don’ts for neonatal care for first time parents-to-be:
Neonatal Care Do’s
It is very important to give skin-to-skin contact to your baby. This can be done by either of the parents for at least fours in the day for the first 7-10 days. This enhances the bond between the baby and the parents and even normalises the body temperature of the little one.
Always go for breastfeeding instead of any other form of nourishment for your baby. There is nothing as beneficial and healthy as the milk of the mother for your baby. The feed of the mother is instilled with all the vital nutrients. For the first three months, the baby should only go for breastfeeding and thereafter go for a combination of cerelac and breastfeed or as your doctor suggests.
The posture of the baby is something you must take care of. The bones and tissues of the baby are very soft when they are born. It is important that they do not develop any deformities. Hold the baby properly and support the newborn’s head and neck because their muscles are not strong enough yet.
For the first few months always ensure that you sanitise your hands before touching the baby. Also, guests or people coming from outside must sanitise their hands as the baby has a vulnerable immune system.
It is very essential that you calm your baby when he or she cries. Take proper care and never leave them unwatched. Your baby deserves all your time and attention at this time.
Another important thing is that you ensure that your baby burps after the feed. Burping ensures that the feed has been digested. The baby can even vomit out the feed if he or she doesn’t burp.
Wrap or swaddle your baby as it shall keep them warm. It shall also give them a sense of security and safety. Also, these small gestures enhance the bond of the baby and the parents.
Wash the baby’s clothes separately to avoid any kind of communication of infections.
Neonatal Care Don’ts
Refrain people who are unwell from touching your baby as they are likely to catch the infection. The baby’s immune system is very weak and it is therefore essential to take precautionary measures.
It is advised to never heat baby’s bottles in a microwave, since it emits radiations that are very harmful for its health.
Babies have a different sleeping cycle and might sleep for 15-16 hours a day. Don’t try and make them adjust and compromise on their sleep cycle as per your routine.
(The writer is Senior Gynaecologist and IVF Specialist, International Fertility Centre.)