Parenthood is a role with huge responsibilities. Your little one depends on you to feed them, look after them, and keep them alive. And you’re doing a great job!
You’ve sanitized the nursery, stocked up on diapers and clothes, and read every parenting book you can get your hands on.
But some preventive measures, the more serious ones, must have gone amiss. From staying updated on their vaccinations to observing their behavior to detect early signs of sickness, these steps are crucial to keeping your newborn safe and healthy.
So, for the sake of lifelong cuddles, let’s look at these measures you must be aware of.
Educate Yourself about Childbirth Injuries
No parent likes to even think about childbirth injuries. But medical negligence, like wrong-site surgeries and improper medications, do happen.
For this reason, 7 in every 1000 babies suffer from a childbirth injury. Fractures and brachial plexus injuries are common. These can cause lifelong complications if not identified and treated in time. But knowing the signs of a broken bone or nerve damage can help you act quickly. So, learn.
While some injuries appear within the first few hours of delivery, others, like hematoma, can take a few days to manifest. The cephalohematoma newborn condition may appear when there is a localized blood collection between the scalp and the skull. It may affect one or both sides of the head and can be caused by different circumstances during labor and delivery. You may contact the Birth Injury Justice Center if you suspect your child may have suffered a birth injury and seek legal advice.
Don’t Let Injuries near Them
Sadly, injuries are the most common cause of death for children over one year old and account for a significant portion of pediatric medical visits. But they aren’t bad luck or fate. They’re predictable and avoidable.
For a newborn, the most common injuries are falls, suffocation, and burns. To ensure your baby’s safety at all times:
- Install window guards and secure furniture to the wall
- Keep a watchful eye when you feed your baby, and never leave them alone with loose items on their bed
- Be mindful of cords, heat sources, and liquid temperatures when handling your baby
- Don’t forget to baby-proof the house and car
- Place your baby on their back when they sleep, even during the day
Be Aware of Early Signs of Illness
Your newborn’s immune system is still developing, and they’re prone to getting sick. That’s why it’s essential to be aware of the signs and take them seriously.
Weak sucking ability is one of the first signs that something is off. It could be due to dehydration or something more serious, like sepsis. A decrease in appetite can also be a sign of infection.
Among other serious issues are sleeping too much to be fed, being overly floppy, and crying uncontrollably.
Then there are the more obvious symptoms, like fever, rashes, and diarrhea.
If you notice any of these, don’t delay; take your baby to a doctor as soon as possible. The doctor will do the necessary tests and recommend the appropriate treatment.
Follow Good Hygiene Practices
Your environment matters, too. It’s essential to keep your baby’s living space clean and healthy. It means keeping their cribs germ-free and away from animals or smoke. So, wash your hands often and keep an eye out for dust mites.
The same goes for their clothes, blankets, and pillows – always ensure they’re clean when putting them on your baby.
Always sterilize their feeding bottles and wash their toys with soap and hot water regularly.
Most importantly, please avoid visitors for the first few weeks after childbirth. Your newborn is still adjusting to life outside the womb, and the extra noise and germs can be too much for them.
Don’t Miss Out on Vaccinations
Vaccines are an integral part of your newborn’s health. They protect them from dangerous illnesses like measles, mumps, and rubella, just to name a few. Thus, make sure you’re up-to-date on the recommended immunization schedule.
The vaccination course runs from birth to 6 years old, and some vaccinations require 2 or 3 doses. So, talk to your doctor and make sure your baby follows the planned schedule.
If you opt out of vaccination, know that your little one is at risk of contracting several diseases that can cause long-term health problems.
Here are a few tips to help soothe your baby during the process:
- Breastfeed your baby just before and after vaccination
- Try to keep them warm and swaddle them in a blanket
- Distract your baby with toys or music
- Give them something to suck on, like a pacifier or your finger
Always Read the Label
From medicines to creams and lotions, you should always read the label. Newborns have delicate skin, so it’s essential to ensure the products you’re using are suitable for their age and doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals that may cause skin irritation.
The same is true for the food you give them.
It’s not recommended to feed your baby solid foods until they reach six months, as their digestive system is not ready for it yet. But whenever you do, know what you’re giving them. So, if there’s any allergic reaction, you quickly identify the cause.
As for the formula, always make sure you choose one that’s designed specifically for newborns. Plus, it should be free of added sugars and artificial coloring.
Finally, checking with your doctor before introducing any new food or supplement into your baby’s diet is best.
Always Dress Them Appropriately
Your child’s first winter is a critical time. The sudden temperature changes can cause them to catch a cold quickly and, even worse, pneumonia.
That’s why you should dress them according to the weather conditions. Make sure there are enough layers of clothing to keep them warm and cozy. As a general rule of thumb, add one extra layer more than what you would normally wear.
Also, keep their head and hands covered and tuck their feet in the bedding.
In summer, make sure you use light, breathable fabrics and avoid direct sunlight exposure as much as possible.
The fabric choice and the room’s temperature are essential factors that can help your baby stay comfortable.
Caring for a newborn is no small feat. It’s a journey of ups and downs, which can be both difficult and rewarding. Of course, you want what’s best for your baby, so take the necessary precautions to keep them safe and healthy. If you ever feel it’s too much for you to handle, seek help. Your spouse, family, or even your pediatrician can be of great help. Remember, you’re not alone in this, and taking proper care of your baby is the best thing you can do.