Every baby enters the new world with open eyes. Their early experiences will form a large part of the way they think and adapt to life later on. Singing, talking and reading to babies and children helps them to grow and develop positively. Make their precious time count.
I'm no medical doctor but here is some information I have found, and a few suggestions that have worked for me!
Mild analgesics (such as paracetamol, asprin, ibuprofen) are commonly used during pregancy. There have been studies conducted to show that this may negatively impact on reproductive parameters in the baby. The condition of congenital cryptorchidism (undecended testes) in boys was much higher in women who had taken these medications according to a study by Kristensen et al. (2010). To read more about this, follow this link: http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/content/26/1/235.long
Care of the Pregnant & Newly Nursing Mother
Drying of skinI found that during pregancy, my hands and face had a tendancy toward very dry skin and my heels started cracking.
- For the hands and face, a homemade cream is really soothing. I will get you the recipe next time I visit the rellies.
- A perfect prevention and quick healer of badly cracked heels is to apply wheat germ oil (making sure the oil gets massaged into the cracks) to the clean heal once before bed every night. This works a charm.
- For the expanding belly, I gently rub cold-pressed coconut oil onto the skin once every day, and this seems to prevent stretch marks (and it smells mild and pleasant).
For a breast that isn't used to it, breastfeeding can leave the nipple very sore and chapped.
- Applying 'hydrogel' breast disc pads in between feeding was very soothing and assisted in healing the tissue. These disc pads contain glycerol in a gel matrix and I found them indespensible for the first few weeks.
- Bathing the affected area with strong camomile tea was also very helpful to promote healing.
For normal reproductive function, the scrotum in males is designed to keep the testis cooler then the rest of the body. A study by a research group (Partsch et al., 2000) has shown that disposable nappies increase the body temperature of the covered areas and this can have negative consequences on reproductive function in boys (male infertility and testicular cancer). To read more on their research follow this link: http://adc.bmj.com/content/83/4/364.full
and for a more (non-research) people friendly version check out this link:
This was also reported on the BBC news: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/941174.stm
While I find that using cloth nappies is certainly a lot more work and time then one source stated (7 minutes extra a day) in my experience they are great for the baby and the environment and heaps cheaper. Also, I have heard that cloth nappied babies learn toilet training faster because they can feel the uncomfortable wet nappy. My 2 and a bit year old is out of nappies during that day which I think is great for her age (even with a slight setback due to a new sibling).
Nail Care for Babies
The finger nails of newborns grow very rapidly and are very pliable and sharp. This can be a problem as they rub their faces and consequently leave red scratches. Carefully nipping the nails with your teeth while baby is sleeping is the best means to trim them until baby is a few months old. Nail scissors were the best to use when the hands and fingers had grown larger (but only when baby slept), or for any aged baby if you have the confidence. Now at over a year I can trim them while baby is awake if she is not too wriggly!
Problems with Sticky Eye
Sticky eye is a problem that occures when a tear duct of newborns get blocked. It makes the eye lids stick together with yellow discharge. A simple means to cure it is to very gently massage the inner eye to nose area of the affected side, and clean the eye with breastmilk (which is antibacterial and will not cause discomfort) or saline solution. After a week of care the condition should pass.
High fevers in babies - what I did
After refusing any fluids and vomiting up the baby panadol I was at a loss with a baby (around 1 year old) who was buring up with a high fever (over 40 degrees celcius). The hospital would tell me to give her some baby panadol and fluids. I rang my mum - it was the best thing I did.
Measure the fever with a thermometer and give the baby a warm bath (I bathed her at 38 degrees Celcius) every 2 hours even through the night. Since she loves drinking bathwater, I managed to get her fluids up a bit and cool her down at the same time. The next day she still had a fever but it was much lower and she recovered well thereafter.