Shaken Baby Syndrome

A large number of child deaths are reported in South Africa each year. A lot of deaths relate to neglect, abuse or murder. Despite this, there's a knowledge gap in relation to understanding the issue....

Amniotic fluid problems

The importance of amniotic fluid Amniotic fluid is essential for pregnancy and foetal development. Amniotic fluid is a watery substances residing inside a casing called the amniotic membrane or sac. ...

Choosing a pre-school

Becoming a parent is a momentous; life-changing event filled with hopes, expectations and naturally some fears. Parents often learn and grow alongside their children, as they face the challenges of pa...

Newborn reflexes

Although newborn babies are physically helpless and vulnerable at birth, they have a number of amazing innate abilities or reflexes. Reflexes are involuntary movements or actions, designed to protect ...

Mastitis

Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast that can lead to infection. The word “mastitis” is derived from the Greek word “mastos” meaning “breasts”, while the suffix “-itis” denotes “inflammation”. Ma...

Pelvic floor exercises

Although your new baby will probably bring you immense emotional satisfaction, physically you may feel uncomfortable and strange in your own skin. After 9 months of pregnancy and hormonal changes, you...

Colic

Babies cry because they need to communicate something and most parents, especially new moms, find it distressing to see or hear an unhappy baby. In time, you will learn to recognize the various causes...

Antenatal Classes

Antenatal classes are informative sessions provided to prepare expecting parents for the birth of their child and the early days of being a parent.Most antenatal classes are run by Midwives and occasi...

Strap-in-the-Future

The Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 was launched on the 11 May 2011. It is a global declaration of war against road crashes and fatalities. According to Mr Sibusiso Ndebele, MP Minister of ...

  • Shaken Baby Syndrome

    Tuesday, 21 July 2015 16:28
  • Amniotic fluid problems

    Thursday, 14 May 2015 12:54
  • Choosing a pre-school

    Friday, 10 April 2015 17:50
  • Newborn reflexes

    Tuesday, 03 March 2015 15:49
  • Mastitis

    Tuesday, 03 March 2015 15:41
  • Pelvic floor exercises

    Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:20
  • Colic

    Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:11
  • Antenatal Classes

    Monday, 03 June 2013 09:34
  • Strap-in-the-Future

    Thursday, 30 June 2011 13:52

Basic Baby Care

Bonding basics

Your baby may not be able to move around much or babble yet, but he's bonding with you through every touch, coo, and loving look you give him. Don’t worry if at first you don’t feel that the two of you are really bonding. The process takes time. Just relax, and try:

  • Holding him skin to skin 
  •  Looking into his eyes  
  • Talking to him
  • Cuddling with him

 

How to hold your newborn

Always:

  • Support his head by placing your hand or arm behind his neck.
  • Use a position that your baby enjoys. Some need a little space, while others feel secure only when held close.
  • Bend at the knees – not the waist – when picking up something while holding your infant.
  • Hold your baby close to you when handing him to someone else. Let that person slide his arms underneath him before you remove yours.

Never:

  • Handle your infant with jerky movements, which could jostle his still-growing and delicate brain.
  • Wear your baby in a carrier while you’re cooking, slicing vegetables, or engaging in other potentially risky activities.
  • Hold your baby in the car; always buckle him into a rear-facing infant car seat that’s safely secured in the back seat.
  • Shake a baby – even in play. Infants under 6 months are susceptible to ‘shaken baby syndrome’ – bruising and bleeding of the brain, spinal cord injury, eye damage, and even death – as a result of having their heads shaken.

 

Crying and fussiness

Babies cry somewhere between 1 and 5 hours out of 24. Crying is your baby’s first way of communicating and an important way to release tension. The amount of time spent crying usually peaks at about 6 weeks and then gradually decreases.

 

By getting to know your baby’s different cries, you will soon be able to tell when he needs to be picked up, consoled and tended to and when he is better off left alone to release tension.

The best way to handle crying during the first few weeks is to respond promptly. You cannot spoil a young baby by giving him attention; and if you respond to his call for help, he’ll cry less overall.

 

It’s normal to be frustrated by a crying baby. All new parents have been in this situation. Consider arranging for needed breaks with understanding family and friends. Even an hour’s break can renew your coping strength.

 

Feeding and nutrition

Breast milk or formula should be your baby’s basic source of nutrition for the first 6 months. Establishing a feeding pattern will take a few weeks. Be guided by listening to your baby’s signals and work around his needs. Babies have growth spurts where their feeding needs change for a short period, making them hungrier than usual. Even if you don’t notice any outward growth, your baby’s body is changing in important ways and needs extra calories during these times. If formula feeding, please get guidance from your paediatrician or clinic nurse. They will advise you on the appropriate formula, quantity and frequency that is needed by your baby. See Breastfeeding for more details.

 

Meconium and bowel movements

For the first few days after birth, your baby’s bowel movement will be sticky and greenish-black. This substance, called meconium, is perfectly normal. It’s what filled your baby’s intestines while in the womb, and is eliminated before normal digestion can take place. Once the meconium is passed, the stools will turn yellowish-green, with seed like particles.

After about a week (and for about the next 6 months), the consistency and frequency of your baby’s bowel movements will depend on whether he’s breastfed or formula-fed. Breast-fed baby’s stools may be thin, even slightly runny with little bulk. A formula-fed baby has stools that are tan or yellow in colour and slightly firmer than a breast-fed baby, but no firmer than peanut butter.

 

Occasional variations in colour and consistency are normal and the nurse at your baby clinic will guide you. However if your child has any of the following symptoms, call your paediatrician or clinic nurse. They could indicate an infection or food allergy (either to formula or what’s in your breast milk):

  • You see mucus or blood in his stool.
  • He has offensive diarrhoea.
  • He hasn’t passed a stool during his first week.
  • His stools remain black and sticky after the first week.

 Urination

 

Your baby may urinate as often as every 1 to 3 hours, or as infrequently as 4 times a day. If baby is ill or feverish urine output may drop by as much as half; this is still normal. Urination should never be painful. If you notice any signs of distress while your baby is urinating, notify your paediatrician or clinic nurse. This could be a sign of infection or some other problem with the urinary tract.

 

In healthy babies, urine is a light to deep yellow (the darker the colour, the more concentrated the urine); there can also be a pinkish stain due to highly concentrated urine. The actual presence of blood is never normal, it may be caused by a sore from a nappy rash, but it could also be more serious – notify your doctor. (Keep the stained nappy to show the doctor!)