What To Expect With Your New Born Baby

DIAPER RASH
 
 A diaper rash is an uncomfortable skin irritation that can have a variety of causes and may cause your baby to complain during diaper changes, and sometimes in between them.

Baby bottoms can be very sensitive, and you will want to start eliminating some of the possible causes to determine what’s irritating him or her.

Most diaper rashes are caused by IRRITANTS such as sitting too long in a wet or poopy diaper, the fragrance or chemicals used in the particular brand of baby wipes or disposable diapers you are using, or the laundry detergent used to wash your baby’s cloth diapers.  Some diaper rashes are caused by chafing or rubbing.

Some diaper rashes are caused by INFECTIONS from either yeast or bacteria.

A yeast infection in the diaper area does not appear white like the symptoms of thrush in the mouth.  Instead the skin is red, with a shiny appearance, and it really stings with a diaper change.

Symptoms of a bacterial infection include fiery, red skin, sometimes oozing white pus or yellow liquid.  The area may scab over.  The skin will be warm to the touch and cause very painful diaper changes.

Baby wipes can be great for cleaning off some of the solids in the diaper area.  But once that is done, use a thin baby wash cloth and some warm water (in a dedicated bowl) to wash baby’s bottom.  This ensures baby is nice and clean and leaves no chemical residue on baby’s skin.  Alternatively, you can use cotton balls.

Change the baby’s diaper frequently so they are not in contact with wet or soiled diapers for any length of time.

As part of prevention, a little petroleum jelly applied to the skin after each diaper change, will provide a barrier between the skin and the wetness.  If the skin is already in a rash state, a little cornstarch on the area will help stop an early stage rash.   (Please tell Grandma:  We don’t use talc baby powder any more, it’s harmful if inhaled.)

The most effective treatment for baby rash is AIR.  Give your baby’s bottom some fresh air, that is, some diaper free time.  This trick is very effective but be prepared, your baby may poop with no diaper on.  For a more serious rash, or if the rash persists, try a diaper cream containing zinc oxide, and failing that, call the paediatrician. 

 

More than anything, your baby will require extra TLC when he is feeling ill or teething.

COLDS AND CONGESTION
 
 How it seems like life could end when young babies get a cold!  All that sleep training flies out the window and you can be up half the night comforting your baby.  There are a few things you can do to help your baby and perhaps get a little sleep yourself.

Send your spouse out during the day to buy a COOL mist humidifier.  Keep it running at around 50% in baby’s bedroom or wherever they are sleeping.  Also, have your shopper buy a waterless plug-in vaporizer that releases soothing menthol vapours to help breathing.  They require a pad insert that lasts for 8 hours and then will need replacing.  Refill packs are available.  You can find these at your local drugstore or discount store.   Set these up in baby’s room at least 30 minutes before bedtime.

When you are getting baby changed for bed, apply a eucalyptus based soothing vapor ointment to baby’s back and chest.  Be sure to purchase and use the kind that is baby safe, meant for babies and children, not adults.  Also, apply this ointment to the soles of baby’s feet and then put a pair of thin cotton socks on your baby.

If baby’s nose if visibly clogged, using a nasal aspirator may provide some relief.  Depending on your baby’s personality, this treatment may be helpful, or it might cause more stress to the baby than the cold itself.

Propping up can be helpful to relieve post nasal drip, but this has to be done in a baby safe manner.  Some suggestions are:  let baby sleep on your chest while you sit awake in a chair or on the couch.   Let baby sleep in his bouncy chair or car seat for the night.  You could even set the car seat in his crib if you want to (but not the bouncy chair in case it tips.)  If you baby doesn’t move around too much, you could prop up one end of his mattress, so the entire mattress is at an angle with his head in the higher position.  Insert a phonebook or something similar under one end of baby’s mattress.

During the daytime, having baby spend 15-20 minutes in a steamy bathroom is very helpful.  This may help start the nose running so you can use the nasal aspirator.

 

CROUP

Croup is an inflammation of the vocal cords and windpipe.  It is usually caused by a virus, passed on from someone who is infected.

Symptoms of croup begin with the usual symptoms of a common cold, usually for 1-2 days.  Then, its most distinguishing symptoms will appear, which include a barking cough and a high pitched wheezing sound on inhalation.  The cough is worse at night.

The concern with croup is that your child’s airway could continue to swell with excessive coughing to the point that breathing could become very difficult.  Your child may tire very quickly from the coughing and refuse to eat or drink, leading to dehydration.

Treatment of symptoms does not include antibiotics, as this will not stop the virus.  Cough syrups do not help either and should not be given to children under the age of 6.

Take your baby or young child into a steamy bathroom for 15-20 minutes.  Stay with her and inhale the warm, humid air.  Run a cool mist humidifier in her room at night or in the room in which she plays during the day.  Stay close by and monitor her breathing.
If your child seems to have real difficulty breathing, can’t speak due to lack of air, turns blue, or becomes extremely lethargic, please take her to the emergency room without delay.

 

THRUSH

Thrush is a yeast infection in the mouth, which can also spread to the nipples of the breastfeeding mother.

Symptoms of thrush include white patches which coat inside baby’s mouth and tongue.  These white patches do not wipe off easily like milk, but rather remain intact when scraped with a fingernail or tongue depressor.  Some babies will fuss with feeding and have a diminished appetite.  If the breastfeeding mother feels itching or burning on the nipple, this means the yeast has spread to the breast as well.

You’ll need to contact your doctor right away so you can get started with antifungal liquid.  This will need to be applied to the white patches in baby’s mouth, and on the mother’s nipples if affected.  Often, the medication makes the baby’s mouth appear blue or purple, like he’s eaten a purple popsicle.

 

TEETHING

Teething can start as early as 4 months of age.

Teething is most common between 6 and 12 months, but parents should be ready and watching for symptoms starting around 4 months of age.  Many children cut their first tooth at 4 months.

Symptoms of teething include pain, inflammation of gums, excessive drooling, and irritability.

Teething rings of various shapes and sizes have long been used to ease baby’s pain.  However, please tell Grandma, no more putting teething rings in the freezer!  This old school thinking can cause injury or frostbite to your baby’s mouth.  If your baby likes things cold, then simply store these teethers in the refrigerator.  You may be surprised to hear that a lot of babies don’t like their teethers cold and favor them being room temperature only.  Something else to try is simply a cool wet facecloth.

Pain relievers can be given in the form of acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen (such as Motrin, Advil).  Aspirin or baby aspirin should never be given to children!  My doctor advised me that both are equally effective, however, my dentist actually recommended that ibuprofen is better for dental pain as it also controls inflammation.  Feel free to do your own research, just be sure to follow the dosage instructions on the box very carefully.

There are also topical ointments available over the counter.  Please ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.