Dr Lini Balakrishnan, Consultant Paediatrician, Motherhood Hospitals, Sarjapur, Bangalore
Newborns need immense care and love until they learn to sit, eat and walk on their own. Winters can be worrisome for parents as their babies require continued care and support to avoid seasonal colds flu and infections. Parents spend most of the time trying to keep their babies warm and protected but often ignore other aspects that needs attention too!
Here are a few ways you can protect your new-born from the decreasing temperature:
Your baby’s skin is too sensitive to handle decreasing temperature which causes the skin to become too dry. Make sure you use a good moisturizer for your baby, specially made for the baby’s skin. It will also maintain the texture of your baby’s skin.
Note that using too many baby products can also lead to dryness. Therefore, avoid using shampoos and soaps too frequently.
Protection against seasonal coughs and colds
Breast milk is the only source for babies from which they gain nutrition as well as antibodies. Your baby will stay healthy if you continue to breastfeed, even after you feed them solids. This way your infant’s body will fight off germs and infections. Also, make sure you wash your hands before touching the baby and ask others to do the same before they hold the baby. Take care of your baby’s hand hygiene too.
Keep in mind that you get your baby vaccinated against seasonal flu, six months after birth.
Choose and use baby clothes wisely
Use several layers of clothes to keep your baby warm and protected from winters. Using multiple layers is easy as you can remove or add layers if the baby is feeling too hot or too cold.
You can also tell if your baby is feeling hot or cold. If you can see signs of sweating on the baby’s neck, this means that the baby is feeling hot. Also, look for redness on the cheeks.
Your baby might need another layer of clothes if the neck feels cold to the touch. Also, choose soft fabrics for your baby as their skin is more sensitive.
Keep your baby warm at night
You can keep your baby warm at night by checking the room temperature. Make sure that your baby is not too warm while sleeping as overheating can lead to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Keep heaters and radiators away from the baby while sleeping. Also, do not make your baby sleep with heavy blankets as your baby would be unable to move their arms freely. It can put your baby at risk of SIDS as they can pull the blanket above their head while doing so. You can use thick cotton or fleece blankets.
Spend some time under the sun
As sunlight is a good source of Vitamin D, you can spend some time with your baby in the sun. The warmth of the sun will keep the baby comfortable and kill germs.
Give them a massage
Give your baby a proper massage regularly to keep them warm and comfortable. Massage will also help to stimulate blood flow. The room must stay warm while massaging the baby. You should use a good massage oil like mustard oil which is considered to have good heating properties.
What if your baby falls sick?
If your baby is suffering from a common cold, there is nothing to worry about. You can give nasal drops to relieve the blockage in the nose and keep the child hydrated. A few symptoms can indicate a visit to the doctor. These are:
- If your baby has a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or more
- Wheezing in baby
- Trouble in breathing
- If the baby is crying due to pain and pulls ear (signs of an ear infection)
If you notice any of these symptoms, you must seek medical advice.
The best way to keep your baby away from seasonal flu is to get them vaccinated. Do not skip or miss any scheduled vaccines as during the winter season, your baby will be more prone to infections due to a weaker immune system. Vaccinations can protect them from diseases and keep them healthy at the same time.