Newborn Baby Care – Keeping your Baby Safe

No-one can give you an idea of the enormity of the responsibility of having a baby!!!

Keeping your newborn baby safe is the priority and if you are doing that, believe me, you are way ahead of the game.

I remember one day feeling so embarrassed when I saw that there was wax in my baby’s ear when I was at the Infant Health Clinic – I started thinking to myself, the nurse must think I’m a bad mother. (To be honest, it was a miracle I managed to get to the clinic as I was so exhausted and sleep-deprived – even if I was half an hour late) – I was even more devastated when after the baby had been weighed, I didn’t have a clean disposable with me, and the nurse had to try to find one for me – I had changed the nappy/diaper just before I left home and didn’t expect her to wet the nappy so soon. 

You don’t need to get caught up in thinking you, your baby, and your house need to be spotlessly clean, it is not the main priority – healthy and happy is what counts. This was one of the lessons we all learn as mothers – as I had always been such a spotlessly clean person, and such an efficient nurse, where babies were immediately cleaned up and lay in beautiful clean bassinets/ isolettes – and here I was not able to keep on top of the wax in my baby’s ears!!!!

Back to safety issues:

Always be sure to have adequate equipment for safe car travel – check with your local council for requirements.

Keeping your newborn baby safe includes making sure that your baby is not getting too hot or cold whether they are traveling in the car, or at home, etc.

Never leave your baby unattended in a car – not even for one minute – why take a chance that something could happen to you or your newborn baby while you are away?

Check and make sure your baby stroller/baby pram is safe – that it won’t overturn the first time it hits a bump – visit the baby shops and get the assistants to explain and show all of the important safety features – then make sure to use them, not just have them.

Protecting your baby from the elements, the sun, and wind is also important – most sunblocks are a bit too harsh for a newborn baby, so it’s best to make sure they are not exposed to the sun. (Early morning sunshine or late afternoon sun is used in some countries to help clear up jaundice (yellow discoloration of the skin) that happens to newborn babies. Make sure that your Health Professional has given you guidelines to ensure that your baby comes to no harm.

Make sure that all hot drinks or foods cannot come into contact with your newborn baby. Always supervise young children around your baby – some children like to prod as a means of discovery – which may not be in your baby’s best interests.

Supervise your visitors

Yes I’m sure you have pushy relatives, and be very particular that everyone washes their hands before touching your newborn baby, and that they do not come close to your baby if they are carrying a form of contagious disease. Be particularly careful about anyone with a “cold-sore”, including yourself and partner, making sure that the sore does not come in contact with your baby – this can be very dangerous to your newborn baby.

Keep animals away from your newborn

They are known to carry germs and diseases that can be harmful to your newborn baby.

This is particularly important for newborns under six months old, afterwards their immune systems should have developed enough to avoid any issues. You don’t need to be paranoid after your baby is six months old when it comes to the gradual exposure to normal household organisms. If anything, these normal household germs help a baby’s immune system to grow stronger, but just be cautious for the first six months.

Steralize All Items That Come Into Contact With The Mouth

Make sure that all items that come in contact with their mouths have been sterilized.It doesn’t matter what country you live in – there are always ways to sterilize pacifiers/dummies/teats/nipples/bottles, etc. Western countries usually make it a little easier than the usual sterilizing method of 3 minutes in boiling water or using steam sterilizing in a Microwave oven, or soaking in a chemical agent which will kill the germs such as Milton – (Milton is not used in hospitals anymore as some hospital germs aren’t destroyed by it). Check with a professional if you intend to use it – to ensure that your baby does not develop gastro-enteritis which can be dangerous to any baby, because they can “dehydrate” (lose fluid) so easily.

Be very careful where you place your newborn baby, especially when bathing or changing your baby.

Have A Safe Area – Safe From Rolling Off

It is a good idea to have a safe area with a little ledge to prevent your baby from rolling off the edge – if that is not possible, place a clean blanket or waterproof covering on the floor, and change your baby on the floor – at least that way – they’ve got nowhere to fall!!!! A lot of diaper bags come with a detachable padded waterproof working area – you’ll become an expert in no time. Of course, the best place to do the nappy change is at the changing table or the specially designated baby-care rooms, but this is not always possible.

A safe environment where your baby sleeps

Research has shown that the position the baby sleeps in is most important – your newborn baby should lie on his/her back to sleep. If you have a large cot or crib – “make-up” the bed with the blankets at the bottom of the cot.
Get rid of fluffy toys and “bumpers” and do not use “doonas” or eiderdown type covers (comforters) on your newborn baby – these may cause your baby to overheat or to suffocate.
Make sure there is good ventilation in the cot, and MOST IMPORTANTLY that you provide a SMOKE-FREE environment in which your newborn baby sleeps. Insist that smokers smoke outside the house – and if you are a smoker yourself – I know you will want the best for your baby – so you will do the same.
Also, make sure that the room is not too hot or cold – an even temperature is best.
The other time your newborn baby can be exposed to danger is during bath time. I deal with how to bathe your baby in a separate section, but in summary – make sure the water is not too hot or cold. Lukewarm is not warm enough, as it soon becomes cold after the baby has been in it for a few minutes. It must not be too hot either – or the baby will be scalded – it should feel warm on a sensitive part of your body.
Ensure that your newborn baby comes to no harm – that you keep your baby’s head above water at all times, and that you don’t scratch your baby with jewelry, or drop your baby – they can be slippery when they are wet and soapy.
Keep your baby safe, by ensuring that he is having enough to drink so that he/she can grow into a healthy infant.- I have a section on how to tell if your baby is getting enough to drink.
Some parents feel reassured by doing a First Aid Course – hopefully, you will never need to practice any of it, but it useful to know. Ask your Health Professional what is available in your area.
See what I mean about keeping your newborn baby safe – If you get that right – believe me, you are doing very well – so just let any raised eye-brows about wax in baby’s ear go straight over your head!!

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