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Caring for Your Newborn Baby

Caring for Your Newborn Baby - What it is

Breastfeeding
Refer to the booklet on “Breastfeeding – Give Your Child a Headstart” for information on feeding, techniques of breastfeeding and storage of breast milk.

Bowel Movement
In the first two to three days, babies have blackish stools. The color transitions to golden yellow/yellowish brown stools over the first week of life.  

  • Normal stooling pattern is variable from eight to 10 motions per day to even one in every three to four days. Reddening of the face and straining sounds are normal while passing stools.
  • Iron supplements may change the stool color to brown or black. Seek medical attention if your baby has any of the following: − Bloated tummy − Frequent large, watery stools − Pale or clay colour stools − Fresh blood on the diaper − Stools are hard, dry and difficult to pass no matter how frequent

Home environment and sleep

  • Maintain the room temperature at about 25°C and place baby’s cot away from any draught.
  • Babies should sleep in their own cot on their back and never on the tummy, because of the increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

General hygiene

  • Always wash your hands with soap before you prepare milk feeds, before latching on your baby, and after handling soiled diapers.
  • If you have a flu or cough, wear a mask. If you are breastfeeding, you can continue to do so. Family members or visitors with flu symptoms or cough should not go near the baby.
Care of the umbilical cord
  • The umbilical cord must be kept clean and dry at all times.
  • Use cotton wool with cooled boiled water to clean the cord.
  • Fold your baby’s diaper below the cord and dress the baby in a shirt to let air circulate and dry the cord. Avoid bodysuit-style shirts until the cord has fallen off.
  • The umbilical cord will fall off on its own in seven to 10 days.
  • After the cord falls off, you may see a little blood on the stump, which is normal.
  • Seek medical advice if you see watery discharge from the umbilicus, or redness of the skin around the umbilicus.

Body temperature for newborn
Normal body temperature ranges from 36.5°C to 37.5°C when taken under the armpit (axilla). When you feel your baby’s body is warm to touch, always check his temperature.

  • If your baby has a fever, he may look flushed and be fretful. You should: − Remove excess clothing or blanket. − Keep the room temperature cool and well ventilated. − Measure his temperature and if it is more than 37.5°C, see a doctor.
  • Some babies, especially preterm babies, may have low temperature when they are unwell. If your baby’s temperature is below 36.5°C, check again one hour later. See a doctor if the temperature remains low.

Signs if baby is unwell
Seek medical attention at the polyclinic/Children’s Emergency if your baby displays any of the following signs:

  • Fever more than 37.5°C
  • Unusually fussy/crying inconsolably
  • Breathes in a different way (slower, faster, with more effort or noisier)
  • Vomiting (not just spitting up), especially if it is green or projectile
  • Refusing feeds several times in a row
  • Lethargic
  • Loose, runny stools with mucus, blood or both
  • Unusual rash
  • Unusual movements

Car seat
If you are travelling with your baby in a car, your baby should be secured in a rear-facing car seat placed at the back seat, up to two years of age. Carrying him in your arms or baby carrier is unsafe. For a child two years old and above, ensure that your child travels in an age-appropriate car seat or booster seat.

Follow-up
- For routine vaccination, jaundice and well-baby checks, you may visit the polyclinic nearest to your home following your hospital discharge. Your baby may be given follow-up appointments at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), if deemed necessary by the doctor. - Your baby’s health booklet contains essential information such as birth details, results of routine tests, and information about vaccination, growth, development and child safety. You should complete the developmental and safety checklists, and bring along the health booklet at every doctor’s visit.

Caring for Your Newborn Baby - Symptoms

Caring for Your Newborn Baby - How to prevent?

Caring for Your Newborn Baby - Causes and Risk Factors

Caring for Your Newborn Baby - Diagnosis

Caring for Your Newborn Baby - Treatments

Caring for Your Newborn Baby - Preparing for surgery

Caring for Your Newborn Baby - Post-surgery care

Caring for Your Newborn Baby - Other Information

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