Baby's Health

Before the baby is born and his or her first years, taking care of his/her health is a huge responsibility.

 

Parents have to be alert, noticing every cry, cough, stool, breathing pattern and movements.  You need to know what is good for baby to eat and drink, make sure they are always comfortable and keep an eye on  injuries and bruises.

 

Here are some basic tips that might be helpful.  

 

Choosing a Paediatrician

A paediatrician is a doctor who specialised in the care of children and they are the ones that keep up to date on the various medical conditions that affect children.  They also have more experiences with children as they see more children than the regular doctors.   It is therefore advisable to choose a paediatrician for your baby.

 

Some parents prefer to use their family doctor who knows the health issues of the family as long as you feel comfortable and confident about the care that your child is getting.

 

Either type of doctor is fine, as long as you feel comfortable and confident about your child's care.

.Here is Some Basic Information for you about your Baby's Health.  

 

Asthma in babies

A baby's airways are so small that they can make a wheezing sound which isn't true asthma. Wheezing can be quite common in children under the age of three. Asthma is a long-term (chronic) inflammation of the small breathing tubes (bronchioles) in your baby's lungs. Your doctor will only make a firm diagnosis of asthma when they see a pattern of symptoms emerging over a period of time.

 

Symptoms of asthma are:

  • A persistent, dry cough, which is worse late at night, or early in the morning.

  • Shortness of breath and tightness in your baby's chest.

  • Asthma in most babies is a reaction to a trigger, often an allergen such as pet saliva, skin or urine, dust mites, or pollen. Airborne irritants such as cigarette smoke and mould spores can also be triggers. However, a respiratory infection, usually caused by virus such as a cold, may also cause an attack. How can I tell if my baby has colic?

  • If your baby is colicky, it can be overwhelming.  If your baby cries excessively, but is otherwise healthy and feeding well, it is likely that he has colic. Your baby may be diagnosed with colic or persistent crying if:

    • he has frequent bouts of intense and inconsolable crying

    • he pulls his legs up to his tummy and arches his back when crying

    • he cries most often in the late afternoon or evening

 

Colic

Colic would not hurt your baby in any way and most babies settle down by the time they are between three months and four months old. In truth, it may be more painful for you and your partner to endure your baby's constant crying. The best thing to do is to stay calm. 

Crying that goes on relentlessly, no matter what you do, can put the whole family on edge and lead to frustration, anger and desperation. Some parents and carers find the crying so unbearable that they go on to take actions that they regret. 

So, keep calm as you try to soothe your baby. If you feel exhaustion and frustration turning to anger, take a break. Put your baby down in a safe place and walk away for a few minutes and do something that you enjoy such as phone a friend, listen to some music or even check what is happening on Facebook.

 If your baby has other symptoms, such as a fever, vomiting or diarrhoea, It is best to take her to the doctor.

 

Constipation

Constipation in babies depends on what they eat and drink.

 

There is no normal baby's bowel movements, only what's normal for your baby. Your baby may pass a stool after every feeding, or wait a day or more between bowel movements. His/her  individual pattern depends on what she eats and drinks, how active she is, and how quickly she digests her food and then gets rid of waste. With practice, you'll be able to tune in to your baby's unique habits.

 

Breast fed babies hardly suffer with constipation but it is possible that something in formula can cause your baby to be constipated. Discuss this with your doctor.

 

The introduction of solid foods and the lack of enough fluids can also cause hard, dry bowel movements that are difficult to pass but if you think that your baby might be constipated look for these clues:

  • less frequent bowel movements than what is normal, especially if the baby did not have a movement in three or more days and is obviously uncomfortable when he has one.

  • If he has hard, dry stools that are difficult for her to pass — no matter how frequently — he may be constipated.

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By the way, if you notice very liquid stools in your child's diaper, don't assume it's diarrhea — in fact, it may be evidence of constipation. Liquid stools can slip past the blockage in the lower intestine and wind up in your child's diaper.

 

Diarrhea

An occasional stool that is looser than normal for your baby is nothing to worry about, but if your baby's bowel movements suddenly change -  that is, he stools  more than usual and passes looser, more watery stools than usual — then it is probably diarrhea.

 

  • If your baby has diarrhea, care must be taken to avoid dehydration, so you should be giving the baby enough fluids to stop him from becoming dehydrated.  

  • If your baby is not vomiting, continue to give him breast milk or formula.

  • If your baby can't keep breast milk or formula down, call his doctor, who may suggest that you start giving him a pediatric electrolyte solution. These solutions come in flavours that most babies will readily drink if they're dehydrated. They're generally easier to keep down than breast milk or formula, too.

  • Avoid sweetened fluids like sodas (including ginger ale), athletic drinks (like Gatorade), sugar water, and undiluted fruit juices. Also avoid Jell-O. All of these contain sugar that draws water into the intestine and makes the diarrhea worse.

  • If your baby temporarily refuses to eat, don't worry. As long as he stays hydrated his appetite should return in a day or two.

  • If your baby is uncomfortable during a bout of diarrhea, try to cuddle and comfort him as much as possible and keep him dry. Use care and tenderness and diaper cream at changing time, since it's easy for a baby's bottom to become red and irritated from the loose stools.

 

Do not give your baby any anti-diarrhea medicine unless his doctor prescribes it. These medicines can be dangerous for babies and children.

Call the doctor immediately if your baby is 3 months old or younger and he has diarrhea. If he's over 3 months, call the doctor if your baby has diarrhea and doesn't seem to be improving after 24 hours.  Also call if your baby has diarrhea and any of the following symptoms:

  • vomiting multiple times

  • signs of dehydration — such as dry mouth, not having had a wet diaper for six hours or more, and crying without tears

  • blood in his stool or black stool

  • a high fever — 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 degrees Celsius) or higher if he's 3 to 6 months old; 103 degrees F (39.4 degrees C) or higher if he's 6 months or older. (If your baby is less than 3 months old and his temperature reaches 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit — 38 degrees Celsius — or higher, call the doctor immediately; a baby this young needs to be checked for serious infection or disease.)

 

Ear Infections

The easiest way to tell if your baby might have an ear infection (or any other illness, for that matter) is by observing a change in his mood.

If your baby turns fussy, or starts crying more than usual, be on the lookout for a problem. If he develops a fever (whether slight or high) you have another big clue. Ear infections tend to strike after a common cold or sinus infection, so keep that in mind too. 

You may also notice the following symptoms:

  • Your baby pulls, grabs, or tugs at his ears. This could be a sign he's in pain. (Babies do pull on their ears for all kinds of reasons or for no reason at all. So if your baby seems otherwise fine, he probably doesn't have an ear infection.)

  • Diarrhea or vomiting. The bug that causes the ear infection can also affect the gastrointestinal tract.

  • Reduced appetite. Ear infections can cause gastrointestinal upset. They can also make it painful for your baby to swallow and chew. You may notice your baby pull away from the breast or bottle after he takes the first few sips.

  • A yellow or whitish fluid draining from the ear. This doesn't happen to most babies, but it's a sure sign of infection. It also signals that a small hole has developed in the eardrum. (Don't worry – this will heal once the infection is treated.)

  • Unpleasant smell. You may detect a foul odor coming from your child's ear.

  • Difficulty sleeping. Lying down can make an ear infection more painful.

© 2011 Barbados Children Directory

 

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