By Dr Ruchi Golash
The winter season is tough for newborn babies as well as mothers. As the temperature dips, germs in the air make infants easily succumb to diseases. Keeping their entire well-being in mind, mothers must give holistic care to their babies in terms of providing them with proper nutrition, hydration, skin-care and beyond. As their immunity system is still building up, mothers ought to put in an extra effort for their little ones so that they can sail through the ‘sick season’ in good health. Here is some expert advice on baby-care during winter season.
Bath and massage
1. Bathing is a fun activity for both the mother and baby! Soap should be used sparingly, only once or twice a week. For the rest of the days, just put a few drops of coconut oil in the water and give a quick bath, then dry with clean towels.
2. After the bath, put many layers of loose cotton clothing on the baby. Avoid a single piece of synthetic clothing which is not skin-friendly for babies as synthetic clothes often lead to allergic reactions.
3. Don’t over-wrap your child. Babies have high BMR which already makes them warm from within.
4. Oil massages are good for a baby’s skin. Use a suitable oil, but avoid aggressive massaging and instead, stick to short, gentle strokes.
Protect your baby from winter diseases
1. Newborn babies and even older children are often prone to fever, cough, cold and other minor ailments. To avoid respiratory diseases, don’t expose them to cold polluted air. Steer clear from night time travelling.
2. Stay away from animals and also pets, which often lead to allergy.
3. Use fresh and disinfected blankets, bedsheets and pillows, which should be kept under direct sunlight.
4. Keep babies away from nicotine degradation products. Passive smoking harms respiratory tracts of little children massively. It will really help if family members stop smoking around children.
Food and nutrition
1. An appropriate balance of nutrition and hydration must be maintained. Breast-fed babies below six months don’t need extra water. However, above six months, they must be given boiled cold water.
2. Every baby must urinate at least 6-8 times a day. Anything below that means the baby is de-hydrated. In that case, increase the number of times the child is breast-fed or boost water intake.
3. Don’t feed large portions of meals to your child. Give them small meals every 2-3 hours.
4. Give them lots of fresh juices preferably orange juice, soups, mashed fruits, pureed fruits which will keep them energetic and nourished.
5. Above six months of age, babies should start with solid food like rice-paste mixed with milk, spoonful of dal (lentil), blend riced khichuri, dal ka pani (lentil water), etc.
6. Once the child is accustomed to solid food, offer them suji (semolina), sabudana (tapioca), dalia (broken wheat), etc.
7. Along with solid food, don’t forget to give them at least 6-7 intakes of cooled boiled water.
Do’s and don’ts of using diapers
1. Diapers are indispensable for baby care now. However, parents should check the quality of diapers before buying them.
2. Use doctor’s prescribed rash cream in case of diaper rash. Apply them 2-3 times a day on the baby’s bottom.
3. Change the diaper every 4-5 hours as soon as they get soggy.
4. No baby should wear diaper 24×7 as that can cause a host of skin problems.
5. Babies must wear diaper while taking an afternoon nap or during overnight sleep.
6. Diapers let both babies and mother enjoy sound sleep. However, mothers must ensure that at least once in every few hours, babies must be kept diaper-free and their skin should be able to breathe.
(The writer is Consultant, Department of Pediatrics at CK Birla Hospitals-CMRI.)