First Time Parenting

Part 1

Dear Parents

Finally the wait is over!!!!! Nine months of endless anxious wait leading to the final rush to the maternity and here you are with a bundle of joy handed over to you by your midwife.

Hey you just had a little panic attack: how to deal with this little tiny creature which fits into your palm, cries incessantly and do not talk or tell you what he/she wants.

The pain of labor isn’t over/the hospital and home is full of guests with often contrasting and confusing suggestions regarding your baby’s care. Everyone has their own “do or don’t list”.

So here I am a proud father of two and a senior pediatrician with over 2 decades of experience in dealing with young children and neonates with some of my acquired wisdom over two decades both as a parent and a pediatric practitioner.

Handling your Newborn

If you have never handled a newborn before it can be overwhelming. Some things to remember:

  1. Newborns do not like being tossed from one to another person. They also can recognize smell of their mom and feel assured in her proximity. They need a warm close hug and prefers a quiet and not very bright room. The sudden sound and loud music can horrify them and all sudden change in posture can incite a startle response in them. No mobiles in their room please. Try and avoid all sudden noises.
  2. Your baby has very little neck control meaning the head and neck has to be supported when you are carrying the baby around. Your baby is not ready for rough play and avoid all vigorous shakes and acrobatics which can cause serious bodily damage and even brain bleed.
  3. Bathing: Do not bath your baby till the cord is intact. Do sponge baths instead keeping the cord clean and dry. Once the cord has separated you can give proper baths to your baby.
  4. Use some mild soap preferably having a Ph 5.5 (soap like Tedibar etc).Do not apply milk, ghee or Butter as they give rise to milk protein allergy later.(Also the baby doesn’t smell nice!!!!)
  5. Massaging is a great Indian Ritual.

The prevalent myths are:

  1. Massage with herbal oils makes bones strong.
  2. Massage helps in body pain as baby is in lot of pain as he/she is always wincing and twisting
  3. Massaging the head/scalp helps in brain growth.The soft spot in head will absorb the massage oil or ghee and provide nourishment to the brain for healthy growth.
  4. Massage makes the body flexible

Massage definitely can be quite soothing to the baby and is great bonding time. The comforting touch by the mom or caregiver does provide stimuli for baby’s development but it does nothing to baby’s bone strength or brain growth,

Also the wining and twisting with yawns are normal in babies and does not suggest that they are in awful lot of pain or cramps.

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