CARE OF THE NEWBORN
Care of baby at time of delivery: - As soon as the baby is born and is breathing effectively, the baby should be dried and covered in pre-warmed clothes and placed in a warmer. The eyes should be cleaned with sterile saline (use fresh cotton swab for each eye) and if required eye drops can be put in the eyes to prevent conjunctivitis. The umbilical cord should be tied by a disposable umbilical clamp with the clamp applied at least 2 to 3 cm away from the base of the cord. The base and tip of the cut umbilical cord should be cleaned with spirit or alcohol. Vitamin K injection is to be given intramuscularly to all babies. Breast-feeding should be commenced with half an hour in babies born vaginally and within 4 hours of a caesarean section.
Maintenance of body temperature: - Newborn babies are prone to getting low body temperature and hence bath is usually given after a day or 2 after delivery to prevent hypothermia. The room in which the baby is to be kept should be warm and baby should be effectively covered with caps and socks to prevent hypothermia. Oil massage provides insulation against heat loss and is useful in maintaining body temperature. Exposure of the baby to direct sunlight during hot summer months should be avoided.
Skin care & cord care: - Bath should be given with lukewarm water and unmedicated soap. Dip baths should be avoided till the cord has fallen. Scalp, neck, armpits and diaper area should be cleaned properly.
The umbilical cord should be checked after 2 to 4 hours of clamping. Ethyl Alcohol should be applied at the tip and around the base of the umbilical stump everyday to prevent colonization. The cord should be kept dry. The cord usually falls off in 5 to 10 days. If the cord has not fallen off even after 14 days, then consult your doctor. Any discharge or redness from the cord may suggest infection and a doctor should be consulted.
Last created on 1-7-2006
Last updated on 18-11-2006