Newborn care

warm & cosy

Newborn care

Wrapped in the softest blanket, she holds your finger tight as she sleeps in your arms. You’ve just brought your little bundle of joy home and you cannot wait to watch her grow under your protective eye. But winter is here and it is essential for you to be armed with all the information you need on how best to take care of your little darling.

Winter is the season when viruses and bacteria rise from their hiding and pounce on the vulnerable. Considering your baby’s fragile immunity, you need to ensure that he or she is protected at all times. Wash your hands as frequently as possible and try to get visitors and family members to do the same.

Breastfeeding is a natural immunity booster. Your infant should be exclusively breast-fed till six months of age; this keeps the common cold and other infections at bay. Breastfeeding should be continued with other complementary food after six months upto 1-2 years of age. It is best to schedule a pre-winter health check-up with your trusted paediatrician so you are equipped with preventive measures and emergency relief solutions in case your child falls ill. It will also help you keep track of vaccination schedules for the little one as these shots can go a long way towards protecting your child from sicknesses.

Here are some tips you can follow to ensure that the child remains cosy and comfortable through the cold months.

n Cosy nursery: Maintain comfortably warm temperatures in the child’s room. Using humidifiers not only maintains ideal humidity levels but also ensures that the child’s soft skin is not robbed of its natural moisture. However, do not use any devices or heaters that can cause fire or burn your child upon contact. Open the windows at night just enough to ensure ideal ventilation while keeping out the chilly wind.

n Toasty clothing: Soft sweaters, mittens, socks and caps will keep your baby feeling cosy and warm. But remember not to bundle him or her up in too many layers. Using blankets and pillows in the crib must be avoided as they can result in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

n Warm massages: Mothers frequently worry about massaging their children in winters because of the direct exposure of the child to the cold outside. However, massaging the child in a warm room is beneficial for the baby. Warm up your hands before you massage your tot and make sure that the oil isn’t too hot or cold. Almond, coconut and olive oils are frequently used for massages.

Moisturise your baby’s skin with infant cream, lotions or natural milk cream to keep it soft and prevent rashes. Sometimes, soap can be avoided as a plain water bath is sufficient.

Prevention is better than cure. However, your child can fall sick in spite of all precautions. Do not worry, this is perfectly normal. Identify the sickness at the earliest and consult a paediatrician. Never self medicate!

(The author is consultant, Obstetrics & gynaecologist, Fortis Hospital, Bengaluru)

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