Newborn Care Guide
- Table Of Contents
- Feeding Your Baby
- Bottle Feeding
- Common Breastfeeding Issues
- Is Something Wrong?
- Other Care Issues
- Recommended Immunization Schedule
Accidents are a leading cause of death and injury in children from 1 month through adolescence. Some helpful hints are:
- Never leave your baby unattended on any unguarded surface like a couch or bed.
- All electrical outlets should have covers, and cords should be out of sight and out of reach as much as possible.
- Choking and aspiration are other major causes of death in infancy. To prevent this, bottle propping should be avoided. It is also a good idea to place your baby on his side after feeding.
- Because your baby is capable of random hand-to-mouth movements, all objects small enough to fit into the mouth should be kept out of reach.
- Make sure that your baby's sleep environment is safe. Be aware that whatever type of crib you use, it should conform to the federal safety standards that require a spacing of not more than 2 3/8" between the crib slats. If the rails are wider than this, baby's head could get caught between them. The latches that raise and lower the sides of the crib should be placed so that an older baby cannot get to them and accidentally lower them. You should not be able to fit more than two fingers between the mattress and the crib. If the crib is painted, the paint should be nontoxic and lead free. There should be no jagged or sharp edges on the crib. Bumper pads are good but not essential. Pillows should not be used for infants because they can cause suffocation. Infants should NEVER sleep on adult waterbeds; there have been reports of suffocation when the baby rolled over on its abdomen.
- Begin to childproof your home before your baby is old enough to crawl and begin to explore. Cleaning solutions, medications, cosmetics, and other toxic substances should be placed in locked cabinets. Remember that many plants you may have in your house are poisonous. Your baby may not roll yet, but can "wiggle" off the changing table, bed, or sofa. The only safe place to leave your baby is in the crib with the rails up, in the playpen, or on the floor while being supervised by you or another adult. Never leave your baby unattended in a bath, even for a moment.
- Keep plastic bags, safety pins, and buttons out of the crib and out of the reach of the baby.
- Do not tie a pacifier on a string around the baby's neck - pin or clip it on the baby's shirt instead.
- Don't smoke or drink hot liquids while holding your baby. Smoking can cause a greater risk of chronic stuffy noses and upper respiratory infections, even ear infections. Spilt hot liquids and falling ashes may burn your baby.
- Learn the "hands on" rule: Always keep one hand on the baby when he/she is on a high place, like the changing table, sofa, bed, or whenever the baby is not restrained in a car seat, infant swing, etc. Babies wiggle from the time they are born, and can easily be hurt if they wiggle off a high place. When in public, never leave your baby alone, even for just a minute.
- Always keep your baby restrained in a safety seat while in a car. Texas State Law requires the use of a care seat. Your arms are not adequate protection.
- Never prop a bottle. Your baby could easily choke.
- For sleeping, remember the "Back to Sleep" rule. It is recommended that your baby sleep on his/her back. According to a recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics, this can reduce the risk of crib death. However, if the baby has a medical problem, such as repeated spitting up after feeding, he or she may need to sleep propped on one side.
The bulb syringe is used to suction secretions from your infant's mouth and nose. It is important that you keep it in your baby's crib or nearby at all times. If your baby spits up and has secretions in both the nose and mouth, you should use the bulb syringe in the mouth first and then the nose. If you were to try to suction the nose first, your baby could aspirate secretions from the mouth into the lungs if he/she cried or gasped.
If the infant needs suctioning because of excess mucus or spit ups, position the infant's head to the side or pick up the infant and hold with the head lower than the rest of the body. Compress the bulb before inserting it into the infant's mouth. Insert the bulb into the side of the mouth. Do not insert it straight to the back of the throat. This could cause the baby to gag. Release the bulb slowly while it is in the mouth. Remove the syringe and empty it by compressing it several times before using it again. Suction the nose carefully and gently if necessary after the mouth is cleared. Trauma to the nose could cause swelling of the delicate tissues and lead to obstruction of the infant's airway. After use, wash the bulb syringe with hot soapy water and rinse well.
All infants and children must be safely secured in a moving car. An adult cannot protect an infant they are holding in a collision. Generally, laws require that special seats be used for children under 4 years or 40 pounds. Many different car seats are manufactured, and the array may be confusing to parents. Some car seats are designed for infants weighing up to 20 pounds. Others can be adapted to meet the needs of both newborns and young children. Seats for newborns face the rear of the car and recline at a 45-degree angle, whereas those for older children face forward and may allow the child to sit up or recline. You should examine the harness restraint carefully before buying a car seat. Three-point and five-point harnesses are available. For very young infants, the five-point harness is safest. All car seats should be secured by the car seat belt.
Preterm or very small infants may need special car seat adaptations because of their size. Blankets placed at the head, along the sides, and between the legs may improve the fit.
Shaken-baby syndrome may result in permanent neurological injury, mental retardation, and death. Your baby's neck cannot provide stability for the neonatal head; because the neck muscles are not fully developed the head is proportionately large in relation to the body. Shaking causes an acceleration/deceleration type injury in the brain. Basically this means that the bran hits both the front and the back cranial bones and is injured. Even small shakes can result in bleeding in the bin. Blindness, hearing loss, behavior and seizure disorders, psychological disturbances, cerebral palsy, and spinal cord injuries have been reported as a result of shaking. It is estimated that 10% of mentally retarded children were shaken as infants.
Shaking injuries can occur during play. Boys are more likely to be injured by this than girls are because parents often engage in more rough play with boys. However, parents, older children, or other caregivers in response to crying behaviors shake the majority of infants experiencing shaken-baby syndrome.
If you find that your baby is crying and cannot be consoled, ask for help. If there is nobody to relieve you temporarily, take a short break. Check the diaper, feed your baby if he is hungry, try burping, and try rocking or using a swing (these can be lifesavers), and if your baby is very young, you might try wrapping him very snugly in his blankets. If nothing works, put your baby in his crib, close the door, and let him cry for a while - about 1/2 hour. If your baby is still crying, try the different methods to soothe him again.
page last modified on: 9/4/2013