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After waiting for around nine months, you will be delighted to see your baby. This section is designed for new mom’s and includes all the information on how to look after a newborn baby. Taking proper care of the baby plays a significant part in ensuring that your baby is healthy. Most of the first-time mom’s find it extremely difficult to handle the baby as the babies are very delicate. Yes, baby care is a tough challenge for most parents and by knowing how to handle things, you’ll be able to make it a memorable experience.
After delivery, you may be overwhelmed with a sense of wonder and pride at the same time you may also feel exhausted. As you spend more time with your baby, you will get over your emotions and will start developing a strong bond with your baby. The very first question that arises in the minds of most mothers is “Is my baby fine?” Your baby will go through a thorough checkup within the first 24 hrs to ensure that everything is fine.
After experiencing an emotional roller coaster during your pregnancy, you will finally be able to hold your baby as soon it’s born. However, if you had a cesarean, it might be a couple of hours before you see your baby. From now on, you will be spending many hours delighting in your newborn.
Healthy newborns come in different sizes but they all share a few common characteristics. Your baby’s head may look slightly out of shape if your baby was delivered by venous or forceps. This is because the soft bones are made such that they can pass through the birth canal. The first few days with your baby will be an emotional time for both you and your partner. Knowing your baby’s nutritional needs, feeding schedules, sleep time, handling your baby and understanding the signs makes it easier for you to take care of your baby. This comprehensive section will deal with most of the common worries and things to do in order to make baby care simple.
Newborn Tests and Checkups
Soon after birth, your baby will undergo various tests and checkups in order to ensure everything is fine. Your baby will be taken away from you for these preliminary examinations. It usually takes few minutes for these tests and checkups to be conducted. However, in case your baby was prematurely born (before 37 weeks), it will be placed under special care baby unit (SCBU). Though it may be a cause of concern for the parents, it’s essential for the baby’s health. During this period, information on your baby’s progress will be communicated to you on a regular basis and you will also be able to spend time with your baby in the special care unit. After back to home from care unit, it is important to monitor baby health every day. You can do a simple home task like measurement of temperature using a baby thermometer and you can check baby stool whether it is normal or abnormal.
Ok, this section contains information on various tests and checkups that are conducted soon after birth and also information regarding vaccinations and general checkups as your baby grows.
Which Ones Your Baby Needs and Why
Screening tests are done in order to find out if the newborn has any potentially harmful disorder which might hinder their normal development. These tests, done in the first few days of the newborn’s life, mainly detect any such metabolic or hormonal disorders which are generally not apparent at birth. Following are some of the disorders which are usually included in the newborn screening program and their importance:-
Phenylketonuria (PKU) – This is an inherited metabolic disorder where the body is unable to break down protein phenylalanine thereby leading to a buildup of phenylalanine in the body cells which causes brain and nervous system damage thereby leading to the delayed development or mental retardation. This test is important because kids who are found to be born with this disorder are right away put on a special diet which can help them to avoid this condition and lead normal lives.
Congenital Hypothyroidism – This condition leads to retard growth and mind development due to the absence of enough thyroid hormones in the baby. If identified and treated with an oral dose of thyroid hormone the child can have a normal growth.
Galactosemia – Babies with this disorder do not have the enzyme which converts galactose to glucose. A buildup of galactose in the body damages the organs and cells thereby leading to seizures, mental retardation, liver problems, blindness and even death. If identified, the baby is put on a milk free diet which helps them to lead a normal life.
Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia – This consists of a set of disorder which includes the lack of certain hormones formed by the adrenalin gland. If undetected, this leads to the lack of proper growth of the genitals and may also cause mortality due to the loss of salt from kidneys. Newborns detected with this disorder are put on a lifelong treatment for supplementation of the absent hormones.
Sickle Cell Disease – This is an inherited blood disorder in which the red blood cells become sickle-shaped which causes bouts of extreme pain, damage to the vital organs and even death. Young children with this disorder are vulnerable to bacterial infections like meningitis or pneumonia. If detected, the doctors can start antibiotic treatments before the infections occur and can also prevent any disorder in hemoglobin.
Tyrosinemia – This is an amino acid metabolism disorder which hinders the processing of amino acid tyrosine. Accumulation of tyrosine in the body leads to language skill difficulties, liver problems, mild retardation and even death from liver failure.
Early detection and treatment (through diet supplements or liver transplant) of this disorder helps to offset any long-term problem.
Biotinidase Deficiency – This disorder occurs due to deficiency of biotin in the baby which leads to poor muscle control, seizures, hearing loss and even coma. If detected, the baby is given extra biotin to prevent the problems.
Cystic Fibrosis – It is a genetic disorder. It makes the baby vulnerable to lung infections. Though there is no known cure if detected the doctors try to prevent these infections with antibiotics and sufficient nutrition.
Maple Syrup Urine Disease (MSUD) – Babies with MSUD lack the enzyme required to process the three amino acids essential for normal growth of the body. If not detected or treated early MSUD can lead to physical disability, mental retardation and even death.
Apart from the above, other common screening tests are for muscular dystrophy, auditory and vision ability, HIV, neuroblastoma etc. One can also request for additional tests if there is a family history of a certain disorder