Baby Feeding – From Months 1 to 12

 

Breastfeeding is the best way to feed and nurture your infant as breast milk contains all the nutrients required for your baby to develop in a healthy manner. Breast milk gets digested easily and helps in protecting your baby from infections and diarrhoea. Moreover, breastfeeding helps in burning the extra kilos you gained during pregnancy.  It also creates a special bond between you and your baby.

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Signs of your baby feeling hungry

Being a mother for the first time, it is very hard to know when your baby is hungry. You should spend as much time as possible with your baby so that you get to know how your baby reacts at different times. If your baby is hungry he/she will do the following things:

  • Sucks fist
  • Cries
  • Makes faces as if getting irritated

Signs of your baby being full

It is very important that you don’t overfeed your baby. If your baby does the following things, it is a sign that he/she is full:

  • Stops sucking
  • Closes lip
  • Turns the head away

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Month-wise summary of baby feeding:

As your baby starts growing, apart from breastfeeding you can give your baby different types of food. You can consult your doctor, if you have any doubt. Below is a month-wise summary:

Birth to Month 6 – Exclusive breastfeeding

From the time of birth till your baby becomes six months old, your baby should be breastfed. As the digestive system is still developing, it can digest only milk. Mothers who cannot breastfeed may go for formula milk.

Month 6

It is better that during this period you continue breastfeeding or bottle feeding your baby. You should not be in a rush to start solid foods as your baby is still not ready for this. But you can go for pureed vegetables, pureed fruits or semi-liquid cereals.

Months 7 to 9

By the time your baby becomes seven months, teeth will start appearing. This varies from baby to baby and in some cases, teeth may appear even before. Some babies may have no teeth till the end of a year. Whatever the case, you can start giving your baby semi-solid foods. So, instead of pureed foods you can give mashed food.

Months 10 to 12

By the time your baby is around ten months, you can give it finely chopped foods while continuing to give mashed foods till your baby becomes a year old. When you change the texture of the food, remember to watch your baby carefully and see whether he/she is adapting to the change or not.

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Tips for baby feeding:

  • While feeding pureed, semi-solid or solid foods, you should always start with small amounts. At each feeding, your baby will let you know if he/she requires more or not.
  • In order to prevent your baby from choking or tooth decay, avoid putting your baby to bed with a milk bottle in the mouth.
  • Support your baby’s head till the time he/she can hold the head on its own.

Images Courtesy:

https://similac.com/baby-development/nutrition

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_food

 

Common Problems in Babies

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Why do babies cry?

Most parents nowadays expect babies to behave like adults from the time they are born! They think every cry has a medical reason, and most of them want a medicine to help the baby to stop crying!

Babies require timely attention and constant contact with their mothers. They try to convey their feelings through the only language they know. Crying is not always a call for food.

What can make a baby cry?

  • When it is hungry
  • If it is uncomfortable
  • If it is feeling hot or cold
  • If it is ill
  • The baby may just want to go out, as it is bored with the same environment
  • If the baby has colic – this problem is so exaggerated that most babies are on anti-colic medications nowadays
  • Evening colic is very common between 6 pm and 11 pm

Your exclusively breastfed baby will not require medicine for the following during the neonatal period (first 6 months)

  1. Breast engorgement in newborns – Don’t squeeze it
  2. Bleeding per vagina – It will stop in 4 days
  3. Constipation – Common to pass stool even once in 3-5 days
  4. Frequent passage of stools – Stool of babies who are breastfed are sticky golden yellow
  5. Indigestion and vomiting – Requires only proper positioning and burping
  6. Crying before and after passing urine and stool


Jaundice in Newborns

Jaundice in newborn babies is normal and often not very serious. Majority of babies can have Jaundice at birth. When your baby’s skin turns yellow it’s called Jaundice. The whites of your baby’s eyes may also turn yellow. This is due to excess amount of a pigment called bilirubin. The bilirubin comes from the breakdown of old red blood cells.

This type of Jaundice starts when the baby is 2 to 3 days old. It goes away by the time your baby is 2 to 3 weeks old. Jaundice progresses from head to toes; and it regresses from below upwards. White part of eyes may remain yellow for a longer period of up to 2 to 3 weeks.

 Rh or ABO problems

Jaundice can happen if the mother and baby have different blood group types. There are two different types of blood group incompatibility that can cause Jaundice. When the mother’s blood group is O positive and the baby’s group is A, B or AB positive; or when the mother’s blood type is negative and the baby’s blood type is positive. This type of Jaundice more often starts from the first day of the baby’s life. Please ask your Pediatrician for further information. Your baby can also get Jaundice by being born too early, or from infection and diseases like neonatal hepatitis syndrome.

Breast Milk Jaundice (BMJ)

It is normal for breastfeeding babies to have Jaundice. It usually occurs at 10 to 21 days of age, and can last for 2 to 3 months. As long as the baby is gaining weight, passing lots of clear yellow urine and yellow or green stools, and having bowel movements, there is no need to be worried. It is not harmful, therefore do not stop breastfeeding.

Diarrhoea

  • Thirst is the earliest indicator of dehydration. Look for it.
  • Sunken eyeballs and fontanelle indicate dehydration.
  • Replace the amount of water lost in diarrhoea.
  • Like flowers, children also droop without water.
  • A child suffering from diarrhoea loses lot of fluid from the body. Hence, it is important for the child to be hydrated enough at regular intervals to compensate the loss of fluid.
  • A child who dies from diarrhea, dies from dehydration.
  • Use salt sugar solution (SSS) to prevent dehydration. A glass of water mixed with a pinch of salt and a spoon of sugar in small quantity should be given to the baby suffering from diarrhoea.
  • A right way of administering salt, sugar solution is 5 teaspoon every 10 minutes.
  • Too much salt and sugar in the rehydration fluid is dangerous.
  • Let the parents make oral rehydration solution (ORS) and feed the baby before they leave from home – 50 to 100cc/kg every 4 hours.
  • Use medicines for diarrhoea only on doctor’s advice (Zinc is needed).
  • Other drugs for diarrhea may do more harm than good.
  • Continue breastfeeding during diarrhoea.
  • Diarrhoea is not worsened by giving food.
  • The worst treatment for diarrhoea is to stop food and fluids.
  • Give one extra feed for one week after diarrhoea.
  • Wet mopping of floor twice a day prevents diarrhoea.
  • Everything that goes in his mouth, must be clean.
  • Malnutrition can also be a cause for diarrhoea, so avoid malnutrition. Diarrhoea, in turn, leads to malnutrition.
  • To prevent diarrhoea: continue breastfeeds, give measles vaccine, use proper sanitation, keep food and water clean, wash hands before touching food, control houseflies, give vitamin A.

Common respiratory infections and wheezing

There are different reasons why your child may cough or wheeze. Possible causes include:

  • Colds or other viruses – this is a very common cause of coughing.
  • Choking – the coughing is sudden and the child has not been unwell.
  • Croup – this tends to cause a barking, hoarse cough.
  • Bronchiolitis – this is a chest infection, which can cause coughing and wheezing.
  • Smoke – smoking around babies can cause them to cough and should be avoided.
  • Allergy – this can cause coughing after exposure to specific substances.
  • Asthma – coughing tends to be worse at night or after exercise. The child may also wheeze.
  • Whooping cough – a contagious infection, which can be prevented by immunization.
  • Pneumonia – this causes a sudden onset of cough, high fever and fast breathing; it can be prevented by immunization.

 When to seek immediate medical help

Children can stop breathing during a severe respiratory attack. If the coughing and wheezing don’t settle, or if your baby becomes more distressed or unwell, take the baby to your doctor or children’s hospital straight away.

Seek immediate medical help in these situations

  • Breathing problems – if your child is having difficulty breathing or its breathing becomes rapid or irregular.
  • Breathing is noisy – if your baby’s breathing is noisy when they are not crying.
  • Skin colour changes – if the skin turns blue or the baby becomes very pale.
  • Tired – if baby seem unusually tired.
  • Choking – if your baby suddenly starts to cough and has not been unwell, they may be choking. They may have breathed something into their airways. Choking requires immediate emergency treatment.
  • Something stuck in the nose – a child with a one sided runny or blocked nose may have something stuck in their nose and should be seen by a doctor.
  • Refuses food or drink — this should always be a cause for concern.
  • Fever – if baby has a temperature over 37°C

Umbilical Stump

What is an umbilical stump?

During pregnancy, babies receive nutrients and oxygen through the help of the placenta. The placenta is attached to the inner wall of the uterus and is connected to the unborn baby with the help of the umbilical cord. After the birth of the baby, the umbilical cord is cut in a painless manner as it is not needed after birth. Due to the absence of any nerve, neither the mom nor the baby will feel pain while the cord is cut. And this results in a short stump on the navel of the baby.

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How long does the umbilical stump remain on the baby’s navel?

Normally, it takes around five to fifteen days for the stump to dry up and fall. If it is kept dry, the average time taken is seven days. So, you should keep the stump dry and free from infections.

When the umbilical stump starts drying, it shrivels up and the colour changes from yellowish-green to black or brown. And after the stump dries off totally, it drops naturally. So, it is advisable not to pull the stump; let it fall by itself. You may notice blood stains on the diaper when the stump falls off; it is quite normal. So, it may take some days for the wound to heal. Sometimes, you may see some fluid drainage and bits of lumpy flesh may remain on the baby’s navel. If these fluids and fleshy lumps don’t disappear on their own, consult your child’s doctor.

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How to take care of your newborn baby’s umbilical cord stump?

Parents should take proper care of the baby’s umbilical cord so that it dries up quickly and falls off on its own. And in order to keep the umbilical cord stump uninfected, there are various measures which you should follow.

  • You should keep the umbilical stump clean. If the umbilical stump gets sticky or dirty, you should clean it using plain water. But don’t forget to dry it with a clean and absorbent piece of cloth or fan it with paper.
  • Parents should take proper care to keep the stump dry. So, keep the umbilical stump exposed to air as much as you can which will help the base to get dry. To avoid the stump from getting covered, fold the front of the baby’s diaper. Or you can cut out some portion of the diaper in the front so that it doesn’t touch the umbilical cord. It also prevents the contents of the diaper from disturbing the umbilical stump.
  • During summer, you can dress your child in a T-shirt and diaper which will help the stump receive better air circulation. And during winter, dress your baby in loose clothes and take proper care to make the stump remain dry.
  • Till the time the stump falls off, it is advisable to give sponge bath to your baby. It will help the stump from getting wet. And after the stump falls off, you may give your child a bath in a tub of water.
  • Even if the umbilical cord looks like it is hanging by a thread, don’t try to pull it off. Let it dry and fall off naturally.
  • Till the umbilical stump of your newborn baby falls off and has healed totally, you should avoid dressing your child by covering the whole body.
  • Avoid using antiseptic without your doctor’s advice and let the umbilical stump fall off naturally.

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Signs of infection:

During the process of healing, if your baby’s stump looks a little mucky, it is quite normal. But if the following symptoms occur, it is advisable to consult your child’s doctor.

  • The umbilical stump becomes swollen, smells foul or discharges yellowish fluid.
  • The navel or the surrounding area becomes red and swollen.
  • The umbilical cord stump continuously bleeds.
  • Baby has fever or remains unwell.
  • Baby shows lack of interest while breastfeeding.

So, if you have a newborn baby, take proper care of the umbilical cord so that the stump gets dried up easily and drop off normally.