Articles on newborn babies

Jaundice: Why It Happens in Newborn Babies?

Dr. Rahul Varma, Pediatrician
Over the years, we all have seen lots of newborn baby diagnosed with jaundice on 3rd or 4thday of life, which turn out to be of great concern for most parents. First thing that comes to mind (esp. of grand parents ) that in old days jaundice was not so high, why is it now? Are doctors over diagnosing it ? Is our baby kept unnecessarily in nursery?I will try to answer these question in this article and will not go into too much technical details.Facts: Jaundice is universal phenomenon i.e. it occurs in every baby who is born.Normal trend is that Jaundice starts from day 2 or 3 and rises till 7th day and decreases gradually by 14th day of life. If its goes beyond a certain level then we need to treat , otherwise it will decrease on its own with time.Sunlight can not decrease jaundice. Enough scientific data is there, as it requires particular wavelength of light to be given from close range in order to decrease it. Still some of the doctors might suggest sunlight exposure, which is incorrect. However, giving sunlight exposure to your baby has various other advantage most important being Vitamin D3, hence it is advisable to give sunlight but not for jaundice.Important points for parents:Do not panic , it is very normal for babies to have jaundice  and it is easily treatable by giving Photo therapy in most cases.But if there is significant delay in starting photo therapy and bilirubin level is very high it can cause brain damage which cannot be reversed.It cannot be predicted at birth how high jaundice will go i.e.most likely  you will be told about jaundice by your child doctor on day 3 or 4 of life (that unfortunately, usually coincide with the timing of your discharge from hospital) .There is no way that it can be prevented as it is a normal (or physiological) phenomenon.As the treatment is so simple and risk if not treated is so high, its always better to be cautious and over treat rather then under treat.Sunlight do not have any effect on jaundice as the distance is too far away and particular wavelength of light is required to decrease it.Have faith in your doctor, not everyone is there to make money, most of the child specialist are honest and have soft corner for children. Further details  regarding Jaundice (if you wish to know in details,  otherwise you can skip it):We as a doctor  has various cut off values for bilirubin level . (Bilirubin levels is tested in blood which helps in assessing the severity of jaundice). These cut off  level guides us to decide whether your child need treatment or the level of bilirubin is with in normal limits and baby can be sent home. These cut off values varies as per, how old is your baby, what was birth weight, how mature your baby was i.e. born as per date or before that, blood group of baby and mother etc.In most of the babies who are born on time and are good size babies and whose blood group matches their mother, jaundice is less likely to go above danger level (however photo therapy may be needed).As the baby grows older, his liver starts functioning better and he can tolerate higher  level of jaundice. For eg, a bilirubin level of 12 at 36 hours of life is more alarming than level of 15 at 60 hours of life.Best thing which you as mother can do for your baby is breast feed, as feeding gets better child is able to metabolize and tolerated  bilirubin levels better.This jaundice is newborn babies (indirect bilirubin is high) technically different from what usually occurs in adults (direct bilirubin is high). And it is not very dangerous unless until levels become too high.  A very high level of indirect bilirubin can cause brain damage, and once that damage occurs, its difficult to treat and child`s brain functions are hampered for life.As medical science has evolved, we are able to diagnose more cases and start photo therapy early and actually prevent lots of cases of brain damage, which were there is past. (Enough scientific data is there to suggest decrease in incidence of bilirubin induced brain damage).Besides today most of us wants to have one baby or at the max 2, and do not want to take risk and want our children in best health.Treatment of Jaundice is Photo therapy and in rare cases of very bilirubin Exchange transfusion.Photo therapy:Special wavelength lights are given to babies from a particular distance. If level is high , we might give light from both side i.e.  one above the child hanging and one below the child. We give it continuously, interrupted only for feeding. We keep monitoring bilirubin levels and do repeat blood tests 12 to 24 hours usually but in some cases more frequently. It usually take around 48 hours to get jaundice in lower range but time taken to control jaundice is very variable. Exchange transfusion: In this we change the whole blood of baby gradually over few hours and replace it with blood from blood bank after cross matching. Its relatively serious process and is our last option when bilirubin levels are very high and neurological damage is suspected.Its virtually impossible to write everything here, so for any queries , feel free to contact us or your pediatrician. Its your right to discussion , the plan of care of your baby with treating pediatrician or Newborn specialist.Stay healthy!

My Baby Is Teething!

Dr. Poonam.M. Sambhaji, Pediatrician
When will my baby start getting teeth?Its a overjoys moment when parents see the first tooth erupting in their babies little mouth. The vast majority of babies sprout their first teeth when they're between 4 and 7 months of age. An early developer may get his first white cap as early as 3 months, while a late bloomer may have to wait until he's a year old or more. (In rare cases, a baby's first tooth is already visible at birth. Whenever the first tooth makes its appearance, celebrate the milestone by taking pictures and noting the date in your child's baby book.Teeth actually start developing while your baby's in the womb, when tooth buds form in the gums. Teeth break through one at a time over a period of months, and often — but not always— in this order:First the bottom two middle teeth, then the top two middle ones, then the ones along the sides and back. They may not all come in straight, but don't worry — they usually straighten out over time.The last teeth to appear (the second molars, found in the very back of the mouth on the top and bottom) have usually begun coming into place by your baby's second birthday. By age 3,your child should have a full set of 20 baby teeth, which shouldn't fall out until his permanent teeth are ready to start coming in, around age 6. What teething symptoms will my baby experience?Experts disagree about whether teething actually causes symptoms — like fussiness,diarrhea, and fever — or whether these common symptoms are not related to teething at all and just coincidentally appear at the same time as emerging teeth. Regardless, many parents maintain that their teething babies do experience discomfort (though some babies get through the process with no problems at all. The symptoms most likely to trouble a teether include:• Drooling (which can lead to a facial rash)• Gum swelling and sensitivity• Irritability or fussiness• Biting behavior• Refusing food• Sleep problemsThough many parents report that their babies have loose stools, runny noses, or a fever just before a new tooth arrives, most experts don't think teething is to blame for these symptoms. One scientific possible reason may be that  Teething can cause diarrhea and a mild diaper rash because your baby's excessive saliva ends up in his gut and loosens his stools. Inflammation in the gums, may cause a low fever (under 101 degrees Fahrenheit).On the other hand, these may be signs of illness that should be checked out.  Symptoms may be due to an infection unrelated to teething, but that the stress associated with teething could make your child more vulnerable to infection right before a new tooth appears.  If your baby has loose stools — but not diarrhea — don't worry. The condition will clear up on its own.What can I do to ease my baby's discomfort?Give your child something to chew on, such as a firm rubber teething ring or a coldwash cloth. If your baby is old enough to eat solids, he may also get some relief from cold foods such as applesauce or yogurt. Giving him a hard, unsweetened teething cracker  to gnaw on is another time-honored trick. (Avoid carrots, as they can be a choking hazard.) Simply rubbing a clean finger gently but firmly over your baby's sore gums can ease the pain temporarily, too.Rubbing the gums with topical pain relief gel is also an option, but you may want to visit your baby's doctor before trying it. If you use too much, it can numb the back of your baby's throat and weaken his gag reflex (which helps prevent him from choking on his saliva). The gels are generally safe to use, but in rare cases can cause an allergic reaction.If drool causes a rash on your baby's face, wipe, but don't rub, the drool away with a soft cotton cloth. You can also smooth petroleum jelly on his chin before a nap or bedtime to protect the skin from further irritation.This are just few facts parents can try.Happy Parenting

Why Is My Newborn Baby Crying?

Dr. Poonam.M. Sambhaji, Pediatrician
Why do babies cry?All babies cry sometimes. It's perfectly normal. Most small babies cry for between 1 hour to 3 hours each day. Babies can't do anything for themselves and rely on you to provide them with the food, warmth and comfort that they need. Crying is the baby's way to communicating his/her needs and ensuring a response from you. It's sometimes hard to work out what your baby is telling you. But in time you will learn to recognize what your baby needs. And as babies grow they'll learn other ways of communicating with you. They'll get better at eye contact, making noises and smiling, all of which reduce their need to cry for attention.In the meantime, if your baby is difficult to soothe, he/she may be trying to say:I'm hungry. Hunger is one of the most common reasons that your newborn baby will cry. The younger your baby is, the more likely it is that she's hungry.Your baby's small stomach can't hold very much, so if she cries, try offering her some milk.She may be hungry, even if her last feed doesn't seem very long ago. It's likely that you will be feeding often and regularly in the first day or so to help your breast milk to come in anyway.If you are formula feeding your baby she may not be hungry if she has been fed within the last  2 hours.I need my nappy changing.Your baby may protest if her clothes are too tight or if a wet or soiled nappy is bothering her.Or she may not mind if her nappy is full and may actually enjoy the warm and comfortable feeling. But if your baby's tender skin is being irritated she will most likely cry.I'm too cold or too hot Your baby may hate having her nappy changed or being bathed. She may not be used to the feeling of cold air on her skin and would rather be bundled up and warm. But you will soon learn how to perform a quick nappy change if this is the case.Take care not to overdress your baby, or she may become too hot. She will generally need to wear one more layer of clothing than you to be comfortable.Use sheets and cellular blankets as bedding in your baby's cot. You can check whether your baby is too hot or too cold by feeling her tummy. If her tummy feels too hot, remove a blanket, and if it feels cold, add one.Don't be guided by your baby's hands or feet, as they usually feel cool. Keep your baby's room at a temperature of between 22 and 25 degrees C depending on the weather.If your baby is co-sleeping with you, contact with your body will elevate her skin temperature so she's likely to be warm.I need to be held : Your baby will need lots of cuddling, physical contact and reassurance to comfort her. So it may be that she just wants to be held. Try a baby sling to keep her close to you, perhaps swaying and singing to her while you hold her.You may be worried about spoiling your baby if you hold her too much. But during the first few months of her life that's not possible. Small babies need lots of physical comfort. If you hold your baby close she may be soothed by hearing your heartbeat.I'm tired and need a rest Often, babies find it hard to get to sleep, particularly if they are over-tired. You will soon become aware of your baby's sleep cues. Whining and crying at the slightest thing, staring blankly into space, and going quiet and still are just three examples.If your baby has received a lot of attention and cuddles from doting visitors, she may become over-stimulated. Then, when it comes to sleeping, she'll find it hard to switch off and settle.Take your baby somewhere calm and quiet to help her to settle down.I need something to make me feel better .Be aware of changes in your baby. If she's unwell, she'll probably cry in a different tone to her usual cry. It may be weaker, more urgent, continuous, or high-pitched. And if your baby usually cries a lot but has become unusually quiet, it may be a sign that she's not well.Nobody knows your baby as well as you do. If you feel that there may be something wrong with her, visit your baby's doctor and discuss your concerns. Visit your babies doctor if your baby has difficulty breathing through the crying, or if the crying is accompanied by a fever,vomiting, diarrhea or constipation.I need something... but I don't know what, Sometimes you might not be able to figure out what's wrong when your baby cries. Many newborns go through patches of fretfulness and are not easily comforted. The unhappiness can range from a few minutes of hard-to-console crying to several hours at a stretch, an almost constant state of crying that is sometimes called colic. Colic is defined as inconsolable crying for at least three hours a day, for at least three days a week.Many parents find it very difficult to cope with a baby who has colic, and it can put a strain on the whole family. There is no magic cure for colic, but it rarely lasts for more than three months. If you can hold on to the fact that your baby will grow out of it, that may help.My baby's still crying. What can I do? As you gradually get to know your baby's personality you'll learn which techniques work best for her. If a cuddle doesn't do the job, these suggestions may help:Wrap her up and hold her tight. Newborns show a definite preference for feeling snug and secure, just as they were in the womb, so you might like to try swaddling your baby in a blanket to see if she likes that. Many parents also find that holding their baby close, especially when she can hear their heartbeat,or putting her in a baby sling is soothing. Other babies find swaddling too restrictive and respond better to other forms of reassurance such as being rocked or sung to.Find a constant sound. In the uterus (womb), your baby could hear the beat of your heart, which is why she likes to be held close to you now. There are other repetitive noises that may also have a calming effect.Many parents find that if their baby can hear the steady rhythm of a ticking clock that will soon lull her off to sleep. You could try playing gentle music or singing a lullaby or even the garbhasanskar music you listened to during pregnancy.You can also download white-noise sounds or a white-noise app for your phone, or buy a white-noise CD created for babies. These mimic the sounds in the uterus and may soothe your crying baby.Rock-a-bye baby  Babies usually love to be gently rocked. You could: Walk around while rocking them.Sit with them in a rocking chair. If they are old enough, put them securely in a baby swing. Take them out for a ride in your car. Take them out for a walk in their pram or stroller.Try a massage or a tummy rub Using massage oils or cream and gently rubbing her back or tummy can help to soothe your baby. It may also make you feel better, as it's a practical way of reducing your baby's distress.Try a different feeding position. Some babies cry during or after feeds. If you are breastfeeding, you may find that improving the way your baby latches on helps her to feed calmly without crying.If she seems to have painful gas during feeds, you could try feeding her in a more upright position. Burp your baby after a feed by holding her against your shoulder. If your baby cries straight after a feed, he/she may still be hungry. Let him/her suck on something. In some newborns, the need to suck is very strong. Sucking at your breast while feeding, a clean finger can bring great comfort. Comfort sucking can steady a baby's heart rate, relax her tummy, and help her to settle.Give them a warm bath. A warm bath may soothe your baby and help him/her to calm down. Check the water temperature before placing them in there. But bear in mind that this may also make them cry more if they hate baths. In time, you will get to know your baby's likes and dislikes.Don't demand too much of yourself If your newborn cries almost constantly, she won't do herself lasting harm. But it's likely to cause you and your husband a great deal of stress and worry. If she's unhappy and resists every effort to calm her down, you may feel rejected and frustrated. But you are not the cause of her crying, so don't blame yourself.If you've met your baby's immediate needs and tried everything you can to calm her, but nothing's worked, it's time to take care of yourself:If you are in post-delivery confinement or live in a joint family, make the most of all the help and support you will get. Put on some quiet music and let yourself relax for a moment or two.Put your baby in her cot and let her cry for a short spell out of your range of hearing. Take deep breaths. If you and your baby are both upset and you've tried everything, Give yourself a break and let your husband or a close family member take over.Talk to your friends or parent-and-baby groups about coping strategies. Remind yourself that nothing is wrong with your baby and that crying won't hurt her. Sometimes simply accepting that you have a baby who cries a lot can help. You then won't wear yourself out looking for reasons for the crying, blaming yourself for it, or trying out endless potential remedies.This crying is a phase and it will pass. Newborn babies are hard work. Being the parent of a newborn who cries a lot is even harder work. But try to get help and support when you need it,rather than letting things build up.Be reassured that as your baby grows, she will learn new ways of communicating her needs to you. And when this happens, the crying will stop.HAPPY BABY CARE!DR. POONAM M SAMBHAJI CHILD AND NEWBORN SPECIALIST( Ref : Baby center website http://www.babycenter.com/ )

7 Common Reasons Babies Cry — and How to Soothe Them

Dr. Adil Hingora, Homeopath
Obviously, you know that baby’s going to cry, but that doesn’t make it easy to hear. The key to calming those cries is to get to the bottom of what’s causing them. And since babies don’t come out of the womb with a full vocabulary, you’re going to have to use the process of elimination .HungerProbably the first thing that runs through your mind when baby’s crying is, “Could he be hungry again?” They call it hangry for a reason, and babies seem to go from zero to screaming pretty quickly if they haven’t eaten for a while. The key isn’t to watch the clock with feedings — it’s to respond to baby’s cues. “Crying is a late sign of hunger,” says Paul Horowitz, MD, of Discovery Pediatrics in Valencia, California. To avoid crying completely, look for early signs of hunger: lip-smacking, sucking on his hands and rooting — turning his head to find the boob or bottle. When you see those, start the feeding. If baby’s already crying, you might recognize the “feed me” cry as rhythmic and repetitive and (usually) short and low-pitched. All you’ve got to do here is feed baby.Tummy troublesIs your fussy baby’s also wriggling, arching his back or pumping his legs? Classic case of gas, says Preeti Parikh, MD, pediatrician at Pediatrics of New York in New York City. And yes it sounds gross, but you can help him pass it. “Hold baby on the left side or on his or her stomach to help with digestion,” she says. “If baby is gassy, bicycle his legs and push them up to his chest to help relieve the gas.”Dirty diaper Some babies can sit in a wet or dirty diaper for hours without a care in the world. Others go nuts if they’re sitting in it for more then a second. (Can you blame them really?) It doesn’t take much effort to open up the diaper and make a quick check, but there are also some diaper brands with a “wetness indicator” that changes color when they’re wet, so you don’t have to go through the whole undressing process every time you wonder.TeethingBaby can start teething as early as four months old, around which point you may notice more fussiness. Other telltale signs of teething are excess drool and gnawing on anything within reach. “Sucking either on a pacifier or on your thumb or finger can help soothe baby,” Parikh says. You may even want to give her gums a massage. “Massage them frequently until you make a squeaky sound,” Horowitz says. Chewing on frozen or refrigerated teethers, washcloths or even cotton bibs may also give baby some relief.SleepinessYou may be able to fall asleep the minute you hit the mattress, but it’s not the same for baby. In fact the more tired baby is, the harder it might be for him to wind down. Do some trial and error to see what calms your tired baby. Swaddling, for starters, may make baby feel cozy and comfy. Some babies respond to rocking motion or the sound of a lullaby or even a hum of the vacuum. Set a bedtime routine that signals to baby that it’s time for sleep. “Mine is the three Bs: bath, bottle, then bedtime,” says BumpieMammaMoon9. “Baby doesn’t always fall asleep immediately, but the bath does calm him quite a bit.” Resist the urge to limit daytime naps thinking it will help baby sleep at night — it won’t. And even if it’s not his usual naptime, and he seems tired, go ahead and put him down. “Sleepy babies should be allowed to sleep,” Horowitz says.Need to burp“Everyone remembers to burp baby after a feeding, but many babies may need to be burped after sucking a pacifier, having the hiccups or crying,” says Horowitz. “All these activities can result in swallowing air.” So, when baby’s crying and you’re not sure why, it doesn’t hurt to give her a pat on the back. “I hold baby over my left shoulder, making sure his left arm is hanging over my shoulder,” Bumpie KatieDahlia says. “Then I rub in circles on his left side and back, starting down by his hip and working up. Usually after two or three tries, we get a massive burp out of him.”OverstimulationWe all get sensory overload now and again. For baby, it might be after getting passed around by aunts and uncles at a family party, or toted along to the grocery store. Remember: Baby’s still getting used to all that commotion, so it might not take much to get him upset. It’s a good idea to take baby home and relax when he seems overstimulated. Or go for a walk together, suggests Parikh. Some fresh air, quiet and/or familiar surroundings will probably do him some good. But don’t go too crazy trying to keep him away from stimulation completely. “Stimulation is a good thing,” Horowitz explains. “But the best form of it for baby is one-on-one stimulation with a loved one.”

How to Get Your Life Ready for a Baby

Dr. Rushabh Mehta, Gynecologist/Obstetrician
What should we think about before we start trying?Before you take the plunge, you and your partner may find it helpful to ask yourselves these questions:Are you both equally committed to becoming parents?Have you thought through how you'll handle childcare responsibilities and balancing work and family?Are you ready to give up sleeping in on Sundays or line up a babysitter every time you want to go out without your baby?Have you thought about how becoming parents may change you, and your relationships with those closest to you?Are you prepared for the possibility that your child may have special needs?If you have religious differences, have you discussed how they will affect your child?Having a baby won't just have a small impact on your life, it's going to shift the centre of your universe. Some new parents find this a shock. Think about how you'll feel, how you usually cope with change, and how you can prepare yourself for the highs (and lows) of parenthood.When should we stop using contraception?For some people, stopping contraception is as easy as shoving the condoms or diaphragm to the back of a drawer. If you're on the pill and want to get pregnant, you can stop taking it and start trying straight away if you're ready to. Or you may want to wait until you've had at least one post-pill period. Knowing the date of your last period can help your midwife or doctor to estimate your due date when you do get pregnant. It can also give you time to make other changes to your lifestyle before you conceive. You may find it takes up to six months for your menstrual cycle to get back on track. If you do get pregnant while you're still on the pill, stop taking it and see your doctor. There's no evidence of an increased risk of miscarriage or abnormalities for women who conceive while taking the pill. But you may want to reassure yourself by talking it through with your doctor. If you've been using the contraceptive injection, it may take up to a year for you to return to your usual fertility.Do I need to change what I eat if I'm trying for a baby?Eating well is essential if you're intent on baby-making. Aim for a balanced diet of three meals a day, including at least five daily portions of fruit and vegetables. Four of the most important nutrients for a healthy start to pregnancy are:folic acidcalciumironvitamin DTo ensure you have these important nutrients, include the following in your meals:dairy producefruit and vegetableswhole grains and cerealsprotein in the form of lean meat, fish, eggs, pulses or nutsYou can take multivitamins designed for women who are trying to conceive or an antenatal supplement. These will contain 400mcg of folic acid. This is a B vitamin that helps to prevent neural tube defects, such as spina bifida in developing babies. Some women need to take more folic acid and have a 5mg dose prescribed by their doctor. However, apart from folic acid, supplements shouldn't be a substitute for a healthy, balanced diet. You shouldn't take high-dose supplements to build up your reserves.Some studies have suggested that having a lot of caffeine may affect your fertility. Although the evidence isn't conclusive, if you're trying for a baby it makes sense to keep your caffeine intake below 200mg a day. Caffeine levels in drinks vary, but two cups of instant coffee contain about 200mg of caffeine.Will my weight affect my fertility?Being either underweight or overweight can cause hormone imbalances. This can affect your fertility by making you less likely to ovulate. It can also increase the risk of complications in pregnancy. If you can, try to achieve a healthy weight, with a body mass index (BMI) of between about 19 and 25, before you conceive. This will increase your chances of conception and of having a healthy pregnancy. You can calculate your body mass index (BMI) with our BMI calculator. If you have irregular periods and your BMI is 30 or higher, try to bring down your BMI. Losing between 10 per cent and 20 per cent of your body weight can help to regulate your menstrual cycle. This, in turn, will improve your chances of conceiving. It's best not to crash diet, though, as this can deplete your body's nutritional stores. Aim to lose between 0.5kg and 1kg (between 1lb and 2lb) a week, which is a safe rate of weight loss. For best results, stick to a healthy, balanced diet of low-fat and low-sugar foods, combined with an exercise programme. If you're underweight, try to put on a few pounds. Being underweight can affect ovulation. And when you do conceive, your risk of miscarriage increases if you're underweight. Just as it's best not to crash diet if you're overweight, it's best not to gorge on sugary, fatty foods to put on weight fast. These types of foods won't give you the important vitamins and minerals you need. Try to get your extra calories from healthy food choices.Should I start exercising more before I conceive?Getting fit before you conceive lays the foundations for a healthy pregnancy. Building your stamina, strength and flexibility can help you to:maintain an active lifestyle during pregnancy and enjoy those nine monthsimprove your mood and energy levelsachieve a healthy pre-pregnancy weightcope with the hormonal shifts of pregnancycope with the rigours of labour, when the time comesBeing active and taking regular exercise that strengthens your back muscles may help to stave off lower back pain later. If you can, build exercise into your everyday life. Try walking or cycling to work instead of taking the bus, or using the stairs instead of the lift. Running and jogging are other good ways to get in shape before pregnancy. If you're not already a runner or a jogger, you may like to start now. Running and jogging shouldn't be started for the first time during pregnancy. Reaching a level of fitness now means you can either continue or tailor your routine once you are pregnant. Start slowly and don't push yourself too hard. If you have a conceptual check-up at your local surgery, you could have a chat with your doctor or nurse about starting an exercise programme.Is smoking, drinking and taking drugs harmful when you're trying?Yes, these can all be harmful when you're trying for a baby. There are many good reasons to stop smoking, stop taking drugs and drink little or no alcohol. Making these changes to your lifestyle is good for your own health and, once you're conceived, for your baby's health and development. Smoking is likely to reduce your fertility and recreational drugs, such as marijuana and cocaine, can affect your ovulatory and tubal function. This can make it harder for you to conceive. Even drugs that are available over-the-counter or by prescription can harm your fertility. It is, therefore, important to discuss your medication with a doctor before you start trying for a baby. Alcohol can also affect your ability to conceive. While trying for a baby, it is best to reduce the amount you drink to no more than one or two units per day. Try not to get drunk during this time. This will help reduce any risk of harm to your baby if your attempts are successful. During pregnancy, smoking, taking illegal drugs and drinking alcohol are connected to an increased risk of miscarriage. Further into your pregnancy, you're more at risk having a low-birth-weight baby and premature birth. Too much alcohol during pregnancy can seriously affect your baby's development. Because experts can't be sure about a safe level of alcohol for an unborn baby, it is best to stick to no more than one or two units, once or twice a week, and don't get drunk.What if my job could be harmful once I get pregnant?Some jobs can be hazardous to you and your unborn baby. If you are exposed to chemicals or radiation often, you may need to consider making changes before you conceive. Likewise, if you fly a lot or stand all day, think about how you might cope if you became pregnant. If possible, tell your employer that you're planning a pregnancy and ask about ways to avoid or eliminate hazards in your workplace. If you don't want to let your employer know that you're trying for a baby, the Health and Safety Executive has information about how to make your work environment safer.

How to Take Care of Your Baby

Dr. Rushabh Mehta, Gynecologist/Obstetrician
Here are a few guidelines:SwaddlingSwaddling your baby helps your baby feel warm and secure like in the womb. Lay the blanket in a diamond shape. Fold the top point inwards. Lay your baby down on its back on the blanket with his head just a bit above the folded point. Take one of the side points across the baby’s chest and tuck it under his thighs. Bring the bottom point over the baby’s feet. And follow through with the last point of the blanket across the baby’s chest and tuck it also under the opposite thigh.Dressing your babyAvoid disposable diapers as much as possible. Use them only for outings. Use cloth diapers at home to the greatest extent possible. Wash all clothes, blankets and linens before using them the first time. And always use a mild detergent to protect your child from skin-allergies and rashes.When selecting clothes for your baby, realize that they will be repeatedly soiled and have to undergo many washes. Check for sturdy zippers and well-stitched seams. The inside seams should be soft and not rough and itchy.Bunch up shirts before pulling them over your baby’s head. Look for shirts with side or front openings, shoulder buttons and stretchable necklines.Clothes should be comfortable and loose. Purchase a few inexpensive and durable clothes for sizes 0—3 months as babies will outgrow them very quickly.Infants lose heat rapidly from their uncovered heads. It is important to cover the head with a cap and also feet with socks when outside, and also on chilly days.Dress your baby as you would yourself. With just one extra layer when your baby is younger. Avoid exposing them to cold or chill or humidity or heat for long periods. Do not overdress them as this would dehydrate or give heat rashes.Dental HygieneAfter the first tooth erupts, pay extra care to dental hygiene. Family history of gum problems and cavities should be always kept in mind. Schedule a visit for the baby between 6—12 months of age and then follow up regularly. Do not allow the child to go to bed with a bottle containing anything other than water. The baby should be removed from your breast when done feeding. Check with dentist on what toothpastes can be usedCryingCrying is your baby’s way to communicate a whole range of needs and responses. It is also a way to relieve tension and stress. Sometimes going to a quiet place really helps.Hunger, in the early days and weeks of life is the most prominent reasons for crying. Wet diapers are another big cause as they make your baby very uncomfortable. Disposable diapers feel heavy and warm when wet. Illness can be another reason for crying. If a baby is crying too much, contact your pediatrician. Gas can be yet another reason. Newborns need to be burped often.Rub your baby’s back gently or move your baby’s legs back and forth towards the chest in a cyclic motion to relieve gas pains.It might get frustrating or anger you trying to constantly comfort your baby if he is fussy or not responding to your efforts. It is completely alright to be frustrated or angry and you needn’t be hard on yourself. Get someone to help if possible.Never shake a baby or throw them up into the air. The rapid movement causes severe whiplashes around the spinal column, neck or head. The younger the child, the more serious the danger. Avoid raising your hand on children of any age in any way and learn to control your temper and stress and release it in a more mature way.ColicBabies with colic cry frequently and may twist their face in pain, and draw their knees up to the abdomen and pass gas. They usually feed well and gain weight normally, but soothing colicky babies is difficult. Check with the pediatrician to rule out any issues. Cuddle your baby, gently rock or place your baby on your knees to try and soothe. Warm water bottles on the abdomen also help to an extent. After feeding your baby, carry him around on your shoulder and gently rub his back to relieve any gas.Bathing your BabyBabies needn’t be bathed every day; every alternate day works just fine. Use a sponge to gently bathe the face, hands and genitals every day.Never leave your baby alone while bathing him. Use a mild soap always and that the bathwater is lukewarm and never too hot. A way of testing is to dip your little finger to check the heat.Diapering your BabyA major decision parents face is deciding which diaper to use. Cloth and disposable diapers both have their advantages and disadvantages. Availability of time, concerns about environment and costs determine choices. A combination of cloth and disposables has been found viable by several parents. Change diapers after every bowel movement or if the diapers are wet to prevent rashes.Use plain water to clean your baby’s bottom. Use disposable or commercial diapers only for long outings because they usually contain chemicals and alcohol. The elastic around the legs and waist also irritates your baby’s skin. From time to time let your baby go without diaperPostpartum AdjustmentsMothers need good amount of rest after delivery. And those who have undergone C-sections need even more recovery time. Parents need to go an extra mile to render support to each other in their new roles.The biggest change that comes over is the relationship between spouses.As parents you also need to spend time away from the baby and with each other to understand yourself and relax. Divide duties between yourself and don’t place the entire onus on just the mother. Take time out with your partner,enjoy an evening out for a few hours with friends, call relatives over etc.Sexuality and Gender RolesFor women, sexuality and gender places multiple roles and responsibilities according to the society as well as their own aspirations and dreams. Avoid roles dictated to you by the media and society and create a balance that benefits you as well your family. Do not try to be perfect or be hard on yourself. Small compromises here and there are completely fine. A father needs to present as much for his wife as for his baby. Parenting is a combined role. Never just a mother’s job.Sex and Post - partum changesMany couples get worried about their sexual relationship and whether it will ever be the same again after a baby’s birth. Rest assured that it will once a mother’s basic healing process is complete. Vaginal discharge stops usually three to four weeks after birth and stitches if any will usually dissolve in this time frame too. Sexual intercourse may be resumed after this period but do understand and grant yourself the leeway that sex might be uncomfortable the first few times. Use forms of birth control to prevent becoming pregnant right away. Your vagina will be dry and tender because of low estrogen levels, you will be fatigued and the baby might provide distraction often. Try using a water soluble lubricant, contraceptive cream for breastfeeding mothers to help any dryness of the vagina during intercourse. If you are still breastfeeding, your breasts may tend to leak during intercourse. You may get a special bra lined with breast pads.

Establishing Good Sleep Habits: Newborn to Three Months

Dr. Kalpesh Onkar Patil, Pediatric Surgeon
How should I encourage good sleep habits between birth and three months?Your baby can develop good sleep habits from as early as six weeks. This is the point at which he starts to develop his natural circadian rhythms or the process that helps regulate his sleep-wake cycle. Here are a few tactics you can use to help your baby to settle. Recognize the signs that mean he's tired For the first six weeks to eight weeks, your baby probably won't be able to stay up for more than two hours at a time. If you wait much longer than that to put him down, he'll be overtired and won't nod off easily.During your baby's first three months, learn the signs that he's sleepy, such as:rubbing his eyesflicking his ear with his handfaint, dark circles under his eyeswhining and cryingstaring blankly into spaceyawning and stretching a lotlosing interest in people and his toysbecoming quiet and stillHe may also turn his face away from moving objects or people, or bury his face in your chest.If you spot these or any other signs of sleepiness, try putting your baby down in his cot or Moses basket. Don’t worry, you'll soon come to recognise your baby's daily rhythms and patterns, and spot the cues that mean he's ready for a nap.Show your baby the difference between night and dayOnce your baby is about two weeks old, you can begin to show him the difference between night and day.In the daytime, when he's alert:Change his clothes when he wakes, to show him that it’s the start of a new day.Play, talk  and interact with him as much as you can.Make daytime feeds social. Chat and sing as you feed him.Keep the house and his room light and bright.Let him hear everyday noises, such as the radio or the washing machine.Wake him gently if he nods off during a feed.At night-time:Change him into his pyjamas to show him that it’s the end of the day.Try not to speak to him when you feed him.Keep lights and noises low.All this should help your baby to start to understand that night-time is for sleeping.Give your baby a chance to fall asleep on his own. When your baby's around three months old, he should be able to fall asleep on his own. Of course, this doesn't mean that he will! To encourage your baby to settle himself to sleep, put him down when he's sleepy but still awake. If you prefer, you can stay with him until he drifts off to sleep, but be prepared to do the same every time he wakes at night.How you settle your baby to sleep is important. If you feed or rock your baby to sleep every night for the first eight weeks, he may expect the same later on.Some experts advise against rocking or feeding your baby to sleep, but it's up to you to decide what sort of routine best suits you and your baby.If you want to establish a consistent bedtime routine, it's a good idea to adopt the same strategy every night

How Should I Manage Diaper Rash in My Baby?

Dr. Rahul Varma, Pediatrician
I think virtually every parent must have faced this problem once in their babies at some point of time. Diaper rash basically develops due to direct contact of skin with moist surface or soiled diaper. It develops mostly in genital area, perianal area, thigh folds and buttocks.Causes of Diaper Rash:If potty soiled diaper is left for too long.If wet diaper is kept for too long a period.Allergic reaction to diaper material, soaps or baby wipesToo much moistureToo much rubbing of skin while cleaning or too much friction from diaper if put very tightly on baby.Bacterial infection, yeast infectionsOnce the rash has started developing and skin is damaged, there are more chances of developing infections like bacterial, fungal or yeast.Babies who are breast fed have less chance of diaper rashes.More common when baby is having diarrhea, baby on antibiotics, recent change in dietary habits like starting with solid foods. If babies are not kept clean or dry for long periods.Steps to manage/ prevent Diaper rash:Keep area as clean and as dry as possible.Pat dry; the area rather than rubbing. Allow it dry fully before putting on diaper.Use oil based barrier like Vaseline petroleum jelly, coconut oil etc.Keep diaper area dry for as long as possible. Best is to avoid use of diaper during day keep it open to dry air.If temperature of room is ambient, try to keep baby in open without nappies, so that rashes can air dry.Change diaper more frequentlyAvoid wiping with alcohol based wipes, use soft cotton washcloth.Apply thick layer of any Zinc based ointment like Siloderm etc. Or any napirash cream available. Important is to put a thick layer and it is not necessary to completely remove the whole cream on next diaper change.Most important thing to remember is that heavy rubbing or scrubbing is only going to damage it more.Wrap the diaper as loose as possible (too tight diaper can prevent proper air circulation is there and wet or soiled parts do not rub against the skin too much).Avoid use of Steroid based creams as far as possible (unless until recommended by your child doctor, as they can harm your baby).When Consult your child doctor (Pediatrician) ifPus filled blister or sores appear near rashesRashes are not improvingThey are getting worse even after taking all the precautions.Baby has fever along with rashesRashes all over the body

Is Your Body Baby-Ready?

Dr. Swetha Thumula, Gynecologist/Obstetrician
Are you planning for a baby? Yes? Then you must know that your body has to undergo a lot of changes during the 9 months of pregnancy. It is important that you make your body ready to accept these changes easily. There are plenty of preparations that are needed to ensure that you have a healthy pregnancy and give birth to a healthy baby. Here are some important tips to make your body ready for the upcoming motherhood.Maintain a stable weightObesity is the biggest hindrance to pregnancy. Women who are overweight have problem in getting pregnant. Even if they do, they are more vulnerable to complexities like gestational diabetes or preeclamtia. Hence, before you plan motherhood, loose excess body weight. It doesn’t matter if you do down half of your present weight. Consult your dietitian and start a regular exercise regime.Pre-natal vitamins are importantMost women are not aware of their pregnancy until they miss a period. Missing a period signifies that the growth of the baby inside you has already started. Not taking enough vitamins and folic acid from the very advent of pregnancy can interfere with the proper development of your baby. Hence, it is advisable to consult your doctor and start taking regular doses of vitamins even before you have conceived.Beware of harmful chemicalsOver exposure to harmful chemicals, pesticides, radioactive elements not only harm your fertility but also adversely affect your baby’s health. Hence, it is mandatory to stay away from these while you are planning your pregnancy or after you have conceived.Get rid of bad habitsIf you are a chain smoker, regular drinker, addicted to drugs, then this is the time to get rid of your bad habits and get into a more organized and healthy lifestyle.See your doctor regularlyBefore you conceive, it is important that you get in touch with your OB/GYN. Your doctor will schedule your pre-natal diets, exercises, vaccines and medication. Regular checkups will reduce the chances of any health problems, before, during or even after pregnancy. Only a healthy mother can give birth to a healthy baby.Follow these small tips and you will have your body completely ready to welcome your baby. Give your baby a healthy life by having a healthy body. After all you’re a mother’s womb in the first and safest abode for the baby; make it healthy as well.