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Taking Care Of Your Baby And Their Health

May 21, 2008
To begin with, bathing your newborn baby for the first time is one of the sweetest and, for some, one of the most anxiety-provoking milestones of parenthood.

Although you may be nervous at first, you will soon grow confident and competent as you learn what works best for you and your baby.

Until your baby starts crawling on the floor, a daily bath is not necessary. As long as adequate cleansing is done during diaper changes and after feedings, a bath 2 or 3 times a week in the precrawling months will keep your baby fresh smelling and presentable.

Some parents feel bathing just before bedtime helps create a more relaxed state conducive to sleep. It is best to avoid baths just after or just before a meal, because so much handling on a full tummy could result in spitting up, and baby may not be cooperative on an empty stomach.

Give your baby time for the bath, so it need not be hurried, and you won't be tempted to leave baby unattended even for a second to take care of something else. Turn on the telephone answering machine or simply plan on not answering the phone during the bath time. If you must leave the room, take the baby with you.

We suggest you give your baby a sponge bath until the umbilical cord and circumcision, if one was performed, are healed (a couple of weeks, more or less), baby should not be submerged in water because it increases the risk of infection. Instead, use a wash cloth or sponge to keep your baby clean.

Your baby is ready for a tub bath as soon as both the umbilical cord stump has dried up and fallen off and the circumcision, if any, are healed.

Here are some tips for you to remember, young infants lose heat quickly, so make sure the room is warm (around 75F, 24C) before you undress your baby. Check the temperature of the water before putting your baby in the tub. Use the inside of your wrist or your elbow to test the water, which should be warm, but not hot.

If you are unsure about a safe temperature, you can buy an inexpensive bath thermometer at a local baby store or drug store. These simple devices change color to indicate safe and unsafe heat levels. Hot tap water accounts for 24% of scald burns requiring hospital admission of kids younger than 4 years. If you haven't already done so, you need to turn down your hot water heater to no higher than 120F.

Lowering the setting prolongs the time to burn and reduces serious scald injuries. Lastly, NEVER, EVER leave a baby alone in the bath, even for a minute. A baby can drown in 2 inches of water.

Secondly, if you choose to breastfeed, it will be helpful if you are in a supportive environment and have resources to assist you with questions you may have or problems that may develop. Consider attending a series of La Leche League meetings or reading La Leche League's book on breastfeeding (The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding) before the birth of your baby.

It may also be useful if you ask other breastfeeding mothers for advice. If you are undecided at birth time, consider a one-month trial. It is easy to go from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding. Finally, The first month of breastfeeding is the most difficult, so if you get through that period, the rest will be easier.

Next, let us tell you now that your baby will get a cold. However, its nothing to panic about as long as you seek medical help. The cold is the most commonly occurring illness in the entire world, with more than 1 billion colds per year reported in the United States alone. The common cold is a self-limiting illness caused by any 1 of more than 200 viruses.

The common cold produces mild symptoms usually lasting only 5-10 days. In contrast, the "flu" (influenza), which is caused by a different class of virus, can have severe symptoms.

Moving on, we bet you have heard of babies getting colic, and you might still not know what it really is. Doctors have yet to discover the causes of infant colic, described as excessive crying in an otherwise healthy baby. A fussy, crying, colicky baby is inconsolable, and the crying is not due to hunger or pain.

Medical experts define colic as crying lasting more than 3 hours a day, 3 times a week. A baby may establish a daily pattern of crying, such as early morning or evening. For new parents, this situation can be extremely frustrating. The condition affects up to 20% of newborns.

Another condition your child might get is called croup. Croup is an infection that often comes after a child experiences an acute viral infection of the upper respiratory tract.

The infection may extend from the vocal cords (larynx) to the trachea and bronchi. This infection results in inflammation and increased mucus production. Although croup usually goes away on its own, between 5-10% of children with croup will require admission to the hospital.

Children between the ages of 6 months and 3 years are most likely to get croup. This common viral illness is estimated to occur in 5% of children between the ages of 1-2 years and is the most common cause of stridor (upper airway wheezing when a breath is taken in) in this age group.

Croup is rarely seen in adults because their larger breathing passages (trachea and larynx) can accommodate the inflammation without producing symptoms. Some children appear to be particularly prone to croup and have a number of infections. Boys are more prone than girls, with peak seasonal outbreaks in late fall and winter.

Now how about the diaper rash? Well let us tell that you that almost every baby will get diaper rash at least once during the first 3 years of life, with the majority of these babies 9-12 months old. This is the time when the baby is still sitting most of the time and is also eating solid foods, which may change the acidity of the bowel movements.

Diaper rash appears on the skin under a diaper. Diaper rash typically occurs in infants and children younger than 2 years, but the rash can also be seen in people who are incontinent or paralyzed.

Furthermore, your baby is also likely to get hiccups. Hiccups are sudden, involuntary contractions of the diaphragm muscle. As the muscle contracts repeatedly, the opening between your vocal cords snaps shut to check the inflow of air and makes the hiccup sound. Irritation of the nerves that extend from the neck to the chest can cause hiccups.

Although associated with a variety of ailments (some can be serious such as pneumonia or when harmful substances build up in the blood for example from kidney failure), hiccups are not serious and have no clear reason for occurring.

Finally, your baby will truly be the new sunshine of your left. We wish you and your baby long joyful life.
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