12 Tips For Keeping Your Newborn Healthy
Bringing a newborn baby home is one of the most exciting times for new parents. However, trying to keep your precious little one healthy and safe can also be difficult. Newborns have very weak immune systems that are still developing, resulting in a higher risk of infection.
The good news is that there are many effective ways you can help boost your newborn’s immune system and reduce the chances of them getting sick. This article will provide some tips to keep your newborn healthy during the first few months.
Table of Contents
- 1 1. Breastfeed When Possible
- 2 2. Lookout for Rare Birth Defects
- 3 3. Wash Hands Frequently
- 4 4. Change Diapers Every 2 to 3 Hours
- 5 5. Limit Visitors
- 6 6. Sterilize Bottles and Pacifiers
- 7 7. Keep Your Home Clean
- 8 8. Avoid Crowds
- 9 9. Monitor Room Temperature
- 10 10. Ensure Adequate Hydration
- 11 11. Keep Up With Vaccines
- 12 12. Utilize Safety Precautions
- 13 Conclusion
1. Breastfeed When Possible
Breastfeeding provides unmatched health benefits for babies as it contains antibodies passed down from the mother that can help protect newborns from infections and diseases. The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life when possible.
Breastfed babies have been shown to have lower rates of respiratory illnesses, ear infections, diarrhea, and other health problems. It also promotes bonding between mother and child.
However, it is understandable that breastfeeding is not feasible for all mothers. Speak to your pediatrician about the best feeding options for your baby if you are unable to breastfeed.
2. Lookout for Rare Birth Defects
It’s an incredible experience to welcome the newborn, but you should also consider the possibility that childbirth could come with some potential risks and defects. If your baby always seems to be restless and crying, you should immediately seek medical advice.
Sometimes, a child’s distress may also result from medical negligence during childbirth, leading to conditions such as cerebral palsy. In such cases, pursuing a cerebral palsy settlement can help secure the necessary funds for treatment and long-term care. Although it’s not common, it’s better to get your baby evaluated by an expert pediatrician to rule out such anomalies.
3. Wash Hands Frequently
As a new parent, keeping your hands clean is not only beneficial for you but also for your baby. It is the simplest yet effective way to prevent the spread of germs that can be hazardous for your newborn. Hand sanitizer can be used for convenience when soap and water are unavailable.
Get in the habit of washing your hands after diaper changes, feedings, contact with bodily fluids, and playtime. Also, make sure that anyone who handles the newborn washes their hands first with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
4. Change Diapers Every 2 to 3 Hours
Disposable or reusable, whatever diaper your baby uses, do not wait until it feels heavy or wet. A baby pees many times in one day, so make sure to change their diaper every two to three hours.
Leaving a dirty diaper on for more than this time can cause skin irritation and rash. Remember, a baby’s skin is also more sensitive than an average adult’s.
5. Limit Visitors
While it’s exciting to show off your new arrival, restrict visitors in the first couple of months when your baby’s immune system is most vulnerable. This will reduce their exposure to outside germs and illnesses. Avoid large groups of guests at first and allow only close family to meet the baby. Remind visitors to wash their hands before holding the infant.
6. Sterilize Bottles and Pacifiers
Since babies put everything in their mouths, it’s vital to sterilize items like bottles, pacifiers, and teething toys. This eliminates harmful microbes that could make your little one sick.
Bottles and pacifiers should be sterilized after each use. There are several sterilization methods, such as using steam, boiling, or chemical disinfectants. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific products.
7. Keep Your Home Clean
Maintaining cleanliness in your home is key for a newborn’s health. Target high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, countertops, and electronics with disinfectant. Vacuum and mop floors regularly to control dust and allergens. Wash bed sheets, blankets, and towels frequently in hot water.
Check that any cleaning products used are safe for infants. Proper ventilation is also important to allow fresh air to circulate.
8. Avoid Crowds
Steer clear of crowded indoor places like malls and airplanes with your newborn. Populated enclosed spaces harbor more germs and increase the chances of coming into contact with sick individuals.
Of course, you’ll have to leave the house sometimes for essential errands and doctor visits. When you do, try going during less busy times of the day or week and keep your baby covered. Also, don’t allow strangers to get too close or touch your baby.
9. Monitor Room Temperature
Newborns have difficulty regulating their body temperature. They lose heat rapidly but can also overheat. Aim to keep their room around 68-72° Fahrenheit. Dress them appropriately for the environment, not too hot or cold.
Signs of overheating include flushed skin, sweating, and rapid breathing. Provide shade from the sun and never leave babies in warm vehicles.
10. Ensure Adequate Hydration
Hydration is vital for newborns, especially if nursing or formula-fed. Consult your pediatrician on the daily recommended intake of breast milk or formula.
Signs of dehydration include fewer than six wet diapers per day, dark urine, dry mouth, and sunken eyes or fontanelle. Offer additional fluids like pediatric electrolyte drinks if your baby seems dehydrated.
11. Keep Up With Vaccines
Since a newborn’s immune system is not fully developed, there is a higher likelihood of them getting seriously ill. Vaccines can help aid the immune system to resist these disease-causing germs.
The CDC immunization schedule recommends the Hepatitis B vaccine at birth, then a series of vaccines starting at two months old. Make sure to keep all scheduled well-child visits to stay current on vaccines. Also, ensure anyone who cares for your baby is up to date on their shots.
12. Utilize Safety Precautions
While illness prevention is crucial, also watch out for safety hazards around your home. Install cabinet locks, cover outlets, mount TVs securely, and use gates at stairs. Keep small objects out of reach that could pose a choking risk. Never leave the baby unattended on elevated surfaces, and take measures to “baby-proof” your home.
As a new parent, your first few months are filled with joy but also with constant health and safety precautions. Taking small steps such as washing hands, sterilizing items, and keeping up with medical care can help your baby’s immune system stay strong. Always stay alert to any signs of illness and contact your pediatrician immediately if you have concerns.