Caring for your bundle of joy

Very few things in life can compare to the joy of becoming a new mother. The nine months’ wait, severe labour pains, all find expression in the joy of mother when she hears the baby cry at birth .

However, this joy transforms into sleepless nights, when the parents return home from hospital. If the baby cries too much, it is disturbing. If the baby cries too little, it is worrisome. The absence of a senior person (read mother or mother in law), compounds the situation in a nuclear family.

Our professional experience is interspersed with frantic calls, from mothers not able to feed the baby even after two months. Often the anxiety levels increase with excess information downloaded from internet. If you worry too much, you are treated as an hypochondriac. If you do not worry, the doctors chide you for not caring. A detailed account of managing a newborn or infant is not feasible due to constraints of space. However, a list of few signs which suggest that child be taken to a doctor, include but are not limited to the following.

  • If you find the baby is disinterested in surroundings in first seven days

  • Does not look at mother in first seven days, especially when being breastfed.

  • Even after 3-4 months is not able to hold her head up

  • Persistently cries for more than three hours every day . More so, if baby is more than 3-4 months old

  • Does not move both arms and /or both legs right after birth, it may suggest some injury during delivery. At a later age it may be best to check to rule out infection like Polio.

  • Unable to grasp fingers or objects – from the time of birth to one month of age

  • Running fever

  • Not gaining weight – The weight gain should correspond to milestones. Normally a baby should double his birth weight by six months and triple by one year.

  • Does not feed well

  • Most importantly, any thing which makes a mother feel her baby is not doing well.

To know whether your baby is growing normally or not, it is worth checking the milestones. These refer to certain activities which the baby is supposed to do at different ages. A good table of milestones can be procured from your paediatrician or downloaded from internet. A good news is that there are organisations that provide a professional programmes for new mother and baby that address all these issues and make raising newborn babies a pleasant experience.

Most importantly, when taking care of baby it is vital that you keep a cool head on your shoulders.

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About Mukul Saxena 34 Articles
Col (Retd) Dr Mukul Saxena has over 30 years of cross-functional expertise in healthcare, both in public and private sectors.