Ask the Pediatrician

PMB - para mi bebé: Preguntas

Questions for the

With these advices Hofmann Marketing wishes to be your child best friend when it comes to the care and hygiene of your baby and will like to remind you that it is his/her doctor who must take care of the kid’s health.

The main ingredient of milk is water. This is why many babies do not need to drink in between feeds. In any case, whenever baby cries between feeding times, you can offer him a little warm, boiled water. It does not matter whether the water is tap water or bottled mineral water (non-effervescen Nevertheless, during the first three months always use the same type of water and do not add any sugar or saccharine if baby will take the water on its own.

All babies swallow air to a greater or lesser extent, and this gives rise to hiccoughs or “gripes”. Half-way through and at the end of feeding time, it is advisable to hold baby on your shoulder and pat him on the back, to try and get him to bring up the air.

At around three months, baby will begin to salivate a great deal. This is quite normal and you should not use any product on his gums.

Do not start bathing baby until about 2 or 3 days after the umbilical cord has come away and the wound is absolutely dry The temperature of the water should be approximately 99’5° F. Before the cord has quite come away you may wash baby with a soft sponge and warm water. Use a gentle soap. Always bathe him before his feed, not after.

PMB - para mi bebé: Bottle

Use heat-resistant, unbreakable feeding bottles with no sharp edges to them. Wide-mouthed bottles are best as they are easier to clean. They are widely available.

A strict timetable is not necessary and each baby usually has his own, varying between 3 and 4 hours. Try and graduall lengthen the interval between feeds at night, in order to get baby used to sleeping, which will also be an advantage for you. Some babies are given to sleeping a lot anyway but when they grow a little their feeling of hunger becomes more acute and they wake up more often.

The purpose of the umbilical cord is to provide the baby with the necessary food and nourishment during pregnancy. At birth this cord is cut and a clamp applied to stop it from bleeding. It normally comes away of its own accord in about one week.
To dress the wound simply keep it clean and disinfected with clean gauzes twice a day. After the cord has come away, continue dressing the navel for another 2 or .3 days until the wound is completely dry and does not weep. You can then remove the gauzes and belt.
It may, on occasions, bleed a little.

PMB - para mi bebé: Pacifier

Baby should not be given the pacifier regularly. Nevertheless, it is always useful to keep a sterile one handy, in case baby cries a lot.

PMB - para mi bebé: Doo-doo

The rhythm of baby’s bowel movements and colour of his stools is usually a matter of constant consultation. The whole family is concerned about this aspect of him. However, it should not, in principle, be given so much importance.

After the birth the stools are black, then they turn greenish or quite green and later yellow. The frequency of evacuation may vary from once every two days to once after every meal. If feeding is natural, evacuation is usually more frequent and the stools less solid than if baby is being bottle-fed.

During the first three months it frequently happens, not to say constantly, that baby has “intestinal troubles”. These are generally denoted by frequent hiccoughing, crying after feeds, slight vomiting and “gripes”. In spite of these symptoms being quite spectacular at times, they are of no importance.

It is absolutely normal when baby is passing stools, for him to sometimes strain, for his face to turn red or for him to cry.

If baby has difficulty in passing stools, you can help him by gently inserting a thermometer coated with Vaseline or a glycerine suppository a short way into the rectum. Do not give him laxatives.

A child can be considered to have diarrhoea when he starts passing stools more frequently and they are thinner in con­sistency than is normal for him. If this happens, proceed as follows:
a) if baby is breast-feeding, give him carrot soup in between feeds.
b) if baby is being bottle-fed, replace the water by carrot soup. In the event of intense diarrhoea, suspend the bottle-feeding and give him nothing but carrot soup for a few hours, while you locate your paediatrician.

How to prepare the carrot soup:

Boil two litres of water with half a kilo of washed, peeled and chopped carrots until you have one litre of stock. Put this through the liquidiser. Do not keep the carrot water for more than 12 hours or store it in a metal container.

PMB - para mi bebé: sleeping

Do not give baby a pillow. He should never sleep on his back because if he vomits he could take part of the vomit into his lungs. The best thing to do is to lie him on one side and especially on his tummy. The latter position is very good for baby because it helps to strengthen his back muscles when he tries to raise his head. Many parents, however, are worried that in this position the baby may suffocate against the sheet, although this is quite impossible since he is strong enough to turn his head to both sides.

If your baby does not want to eat, do not force him. Do not give him what you want him to eat, but what he wants. If he does not fancy anything, wait until the next mealtime. If he did not want to eat because he was not feeling well, this short diet will have been good for him,and if he was only pulling your leg he will feel less like doing so another time. He must learn that food is not just something to be taken for granted.

On the newborn baby slight skin rashes may appear that change from one day to the next. No treatment is required.

This is perhaps the most frequent symptom of illness in children but a high temperature does not always mean it is serious. 100’04 to 101’3° F. can be interpreted as febricula or a light fever, 101’3 to 103’1° F. as a moderate fever and anything over the latter figure as a high fever.

When your baby has a fever remove his clothing in a room which is not cold. The more you clothe him or cover him up the more his temperature will rise.

Nearly all newborn babies have phimosis and this is quite normal.

Baby should sleep in a quiet room where the temperature is between 68 and 75º F. Do not use stoves (butane) for heating the room. In principle, it is advisable for the baby to sleep with the parents or in a nearby room, although the latter will mean the mother has to get up more often.

The navel is where the umbilical cord used to be. Underneath the skin at this point an opening sometimes remains and a small bump appears when baby cries. It does not hurt and it is not necessary to try and stop it from coming up, except in some cases. Where necessary, consult your pediatrician.

PMB - para mi bebé: play

You should reserve some time to be with your baby every day, besides the time you spend bathing him, feeding him, etc. Remember that he too gets bored lying in bed all day. Pick him up and play with him for a short while in the afternoon. This will make him more tired and he will sleep better at night. Try to avoid too much excitement, either direct or indirect (in the general atmosphere – noises, television, etc.).

Due to the constant sucking, the middle part of baby’s lips sometimes gets dry during the first few weeks. This dryness disappears in time and needs no treatment.

PMB - para mi bebé: Cry

There are many reasons why a baby cries and these can all be summarised into one: Adaptation. During pregnancy baby was protected against knocks, temperature changes and light, and received all his nourishment through the umbilical cord. At birth, however, all this changes and he has to adapt to his new life. During this period, that generally lasts a few weeks, crying is his most frequent means of expression, even though he is perfectly healthy.

The duration of the crying varies according to each child and lessens as he gets older, as does the frequency. On average, a baby cries about 80 minutes a day. Most of this crying occurs in short periods before and after feeds or during bathing. Quite a lot of babies get restless usually at the end of the evening or in the morning.

What to do when a baby cries? Well, first of all have a look and see if anything is bothering him: whether he is wet, dirty, thirsty, etc. You may pick him up in your arms and rock him for a few minutes to quieten him. Then put him back into his cot and, if he continues to cry, do not pick him up again until after about 15 or 20 minutes, when you can repeat the process of quietening him.

Do not let your baby cry for hours and hours without giving him any attention, yet do not, on the other hand, be so anxious as to give him too much. If you adopt a reasonable attitude and act calmly without overdoing things, this period of adaptation will be over in a few weeks without any problem and will avoid abnormal conduct later.

The same hormone that is responsible for the swelling of the breast causes a sort of menstruation in some baby girls after birth. This is of no importance whatsoever. Baby girls also have a completely normal mucous secretion.

Many children are born with red marks on the back of the neck, eyelids and top lip. These disappear of their own accord in time.

After birth the baby’s eyelids are usually swollen, but this effect subsequently disappears. Sometimes there is slight conjunctival haemorrhaging, which is unimportant. Nor is it unusual to see a watery discharge (rheums), occasionally purulent, from one or both eyes. This almost always disappears when the eyes are bathed with chamomile water.

Baby’s sight and hearing are still undeveloped and are difficult to evaluate until after a few weeks. Because of this immaturity, baby may frequently seem “cross-eyed”, but this is quite normal.

PMB - para mi bebé: Diaper Parents are always surprised by the amount of nappies a baby gets through. Always keep a good stock of them handy in case of emergency.

Change baby’s nappy after each passing of stools or urine, to avoid as far as possible any skin irritation.

The newborn baby can be taken from one house to another, provided they are well conditioned, without any problem. Outings can commence when baby is about three weeks old, depending on how cold the weather is, and may last from half an hour to two hours daily.

On many newborn babies, boys as well as girls, the breasts swell and sometimes the nipples even secrete milk. However, the breasts must never be sqeezed in this case, nor is any medication necessary as the swelling goes down of its own accord.

All newborn babies lose weight after birth and sometimes take up to two weeks to recuperate their initial weight. Unless instructed otherwise, the best thing is to weigh baby once a week, on the same day, before the same feed and naked. He should put on at least 150 grs. per week.

It is better to weigh him at home rather than at the chemist`s since if he is breast-feeding it is sometimes useful to weigh him before and after feeding, to check how much he has taken.

After birth, all babies make noises with their noses and sneeze to eliminate the secretions. This should not be considered a cold.

If the obstruction of the nose seems to bother the baby, particularly at feeding time, you can relieve it by putting one drop of physiological serum (available at any chemist’s) into each nostril a quarter of an hour before feeds.

Keep people with colds or a sore throat away from baby. If you yourself have a cold, wear a mask over your mouth and nose. Wash your hands before touching baby.

It is difficult to give a hard-and-fast rule as to how a child should be dressed. Dress him in more or less the same amount of clothes as you yourself need, making sure that he is warm all over but bearing in mind that he shoul not perspire. See that his clothes are roomy and soft. Rough clothing, whether sheets, nappies or jumpers, etc., can hurt his skin because of the friction. In the event of this happening, change the garment responsible.

During the first few months, some babies tremble when they are excited or when they are being undressed. This trembling is particularly frequent at the tip of the chin.

Babies frequently have cold, bluish hands and feet. While his body is warm the baby is all right.

Baby’s temperature may be taken in the armpit, groin or rectum. In the latter, if taken carefully, the reading is usually more accurate. Up to 100’04° F, not “discounting” anything, is considered normal. It is not necessary to take baby’s temperature regularly, nor is it advisable to use skin thermometers which change colour.

Manicure your baby’s nails and toenails once a week.

The newborn baby needs no vaccination until he is three months old. Your paediatrician will advise you in this respect and will see to administering the vaccination.

Nearly all babies bring up some milk after feeding. As long as your baby is putting on weight this should not worry you.

Dear Mummy:

We wanted to try and help you over the first few days after baby's arrival, when certain doubts and hesitations always arise. If we have succeeded in being of any use to you we shall feel very pleased.

Hofmann Marketing, S.L.