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Category Archives: FAQ NEONATOLOGY

Are babies sensitive to light? Should exposure be controlled?

Your baby’s eyes are not very sensitive to light in the first month of life. In fact, the amount of light required for a 1-month-old infant to be aware that light is present (called the light detection threshold) is 50 times higher than that of an adult. So, normal lights can be kept on during the day, but lights should be switched off at night to facilitate biological/circadian rhythm, which promote baby’s growth.

Can babies be given over the counter drugs for cough and cold?

It is advised to consult the baby’s doctor/paediatrician before giving over the counter drugs to the baby as the doses of these drugs depend on the body weight, and hence cannot be generalized to all babies. Too small doses will be ineffective, and higher doses can cause harmful side effects, and possibility of drug toxicity. Most governing bodies in Paediatrics including American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) advises against giving OTC cough and cold medicines which includes decongestants and cough suppressants to children younger than 6 years old.

How to prevent my new born from pneumonia?

Pneumonia is one of the leading causes of morbidity in both western world and developing countries including India. It kills one child every 15 seconds. Despite these sobering statistics, there is good news: solutions exist to prevent and treat pneumonia, and ultimately save young lives and significantly reduce the burden of families and society

Preventive strategies for pneumonia in children include:

Immunization:

  •  It’s the most effective way to prevent pneumonia
  • Vaccinate your baby against Hemophilus influenza(Hib)
  • Pneumococcus, Measles and Whooping cough (pertussis)

Adequate nutrition: It’s a key to improve baby’s natural defences, Research studies suggest exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life is effective in preventing pneumonia and also reduces the duration of illness and hospital stay.

Healthy environment:  Addressing indoor and outdoor air pollution and encouraging good hygiene in crowded places goes a long way in promoting health in general and pneumonia in particular.

What is SIDS? How can the same be prevented?

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), also known as cot death or crib death, is defined as the sudden death of an infant younger than 1 year of age that remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation, including performance of a complete autopsy, thorough examination of the death scene, and review of the infant’s and family’s clinical histories

Prevention: –

  • Baby to sleep on his back; on a firm mattress
  • Room-sharing without bed-sharing is recommended
  • Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of the crib
  • Pregnant women should receive regular prenatal care
  • Avoid smoke exposure during pregnancy and after birth
  • Avoid alcohol and illicit drug use during pregnancy and after birth
  • Breastfeeding is recommended
  • Consider offering a pacifier at nap time and bedtime
  • Avoid overheating
  • Infants should be immunized as per schedule.
  • Avoid commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS

Should we avoid travel with new born babies?

Your baby can travel soon after birth. Most airlines prefer babies to be at least two days old, but after that, it’s up to you. Young babies generally make good travellers if they feel cuddled and secure and are fed regularly. The movement and activity often helps them sleep, too! By three months, the baby is more likely to be ready to travel. If you are flying, a front carrier or baby sling is an ideal way to transport your baby. Being carried close to the mother or father will make baby feel safe.

Baby carriers also make travelling much easier on trains and buses. If your baby is very young, a travel system with a car seat that fits on to the push chair chassis may be the best option. In this situation, a lightweight, umbrella-folding pushchair is a useful alternative.

What should be the sound level around new born infants?

Infants especially newborns are susceptible to hearing damage from loud noises because their skulls are thinner. Exposure to excessive noise during pregnancy may result in high-frequency hearing loss in newborns, and may be associated with prematurity and intrauterine growth retardation. Loud noises can cause hearing loss by damaging parts of the inner ear; the area responsible for hearing.

Safe Levels: Safe levels can vary according to the duration of the exposure and the loudness level. Noises less than 80 decibels should not cause hearing damage. This is the equivalent to noise in a restaurant or in city street traffic. A normal conversation is about 60 decibels.

Is follow up care required for new born babies?

Follow-up is needed for most babies, with varied aims. Babies with an uneventful hospital stay have to be watched for jaundice 24-48 hours after discharge, if discharged within first 3 days of delivery.

Babies who have been sick due to any reason, will be followed up for assessment of their brain functions, hearing and visual assessment. Biggest risk factors among them are probably gestational age and birth weight. Such conditions include, but are not limited to prematurity, low birth weight, Asphyxia, shock, need for ventilation, infections, jaundice, heart diseases and congenital malformations.

How to take care of babies at home?

Care of a normal baby at home is of utmost importance especially during first few weeks and includes:

  • Exclusive breastfeedingfor the first 6 months of life.
  • Keep umblical cord open and dry.
  • Eyes of the baby must be cleaned with a sterile swab soaked in sterile water.
  • Baby to be bathed once in 3-4 days with lukewarm water during early weeks of life.
  • Watch for jaundice for first few days of life.
  • Vaccinations advised by paediatrician should be followed.
  • Babies should preferably be placed down for sleep on their back.
  • Oil massage with coconut oil/olive oil can be a daily routine.
  • DO NOT apply kajal/surma in eyes or put oil in ear or boric acid in nostrils.

Can relatives spend time with the new born baby?

Welcoming a newly born baby is so exciting! But there are some newborn etiquette which have to be ensured.

  • Avoid too many guests. This allows mother- baby dyad to bond and learn breastfeeding techniques.
  • Guests with flu like symptoms should avoid visiting the newly born till they are symptom free.
  • Handling of the baby by the guests should be reduced to minimum.
  • Proper hand washing/disinfectants to be used before touching the baby and his/her surroundings.
  • Hands of the care giver should be warm and the baby should be well-clothed and covered.
  • Firm and steady grip should be maintained over the baby’s trunk.
  • Avoid kissing the baby to prevent droplet infection.
  • Stay of the guests should not be more than 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Use soft, gentle voices and try to be as calm as possible.
  • Don’t wear perfume.
  • Put your cell on silent.

What is Kangaroo Mother Care?

Kangaroo mother care (KMC) is a simple and safe method of caring for low birth weight babies. It includes early, prolonged and continuous skin- to -skin contact with the mother/father or any care giver and exclusive breast feeding. KMC is initiated in the hospital and continued at home as long as the baby needs and likes it. During KMC babies are held naked between the breasts of the mother (mimicking a kangaroo’s pouch) and should be covered with a blanket to avoid heat loss. KMC should be given for atleast 6-8 hours a day; gradually increased upto 24 hours a day. KMC benefits the baby with more stable sleep patterns, temperature stability, better weight gain, better maternal-baby bonding, along with reduction in early mortality and morbidity. Kangaroo care integrates the family into the neonatal intensive care team.

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