Your adorable bundle of joy could catch one of the common ailments that affect babies all the time. Of course, as a first-time parent you are only bound to be anxious. But remember that you can help baby cope up once you see symptoms of illness, faint as they are.
What are some common ailments that most newborns experience, that you can manage easily with a little help.
Did you know that there are over 200 viruses that cause colds? Even healthy children get at least six colds during the course of a year. Everybody gets colds and it’s best to avoid medicines and antibiotics. Keep away from oral decongestants as they can make your child jittery and prevent him from sleeping at night. And NEVER use leftover antibiotics. They have no effect on viruses and may even be harmful.
But it isn’t as if there’s no help at all. You can still relieve the symptoms associated with a cold.
- Runny Nose: Use a soft rubber suction bulb to gently remove the secretions from baby. You might have to do this for a day or two
- Dry or Stuffy Nose: Use warm water nasal drops or saline nasal drops, then suction or blow out the fluid in the nose. Repeat at least four times a day
- Fever: Use acetaminophen or ibuprofen prescribed by the Doctor for aches or mild fever
- Sore Throat: Give warm chicken broth to children over one year. Give hard candies only to children over four years. (But don’t let them come to the conclusion that a cold equals candies, god forbid!)
- Cough: Give 1/2 a teaspoon of corn syrup to children over one. Give cough drops to children over four years. Place a humidifier in the bedroom to make the air less dry
- Red Eyes: Rinse often with wet cotton balls
- Poor Appetite: Let baby be fed drinks, no matter what the liquid is. You must only look to prevent dehydration here, so all fluid helps
If your child has more serious problems, such as difficulty breathing even after clearing the nose or if he starts acting very sick, contact your doctor immediately.
If your baby shows signs of hives, runny nose, sneezing, cough, upset stomach, cramps, bloating or diarrhea, itchy ears, red and itchy eyes or headache it could probably be an allergy. Medication, allergy shots or avoidance or elimination of allergic substance from the child’s environment is what will make baby smiling again.
Between six months and two years of age, babies are most susceptible to ear infections. Look out for symptoms like ear pain, irritability and interrupted sleeping patterns. Often, the infection is the result of a cold.
Here’s how you can reduce ear infections:
- Reduce exposure to colds: Because most ear infections begin with a cold, try to decrease your child’s exposure to colds during his or her first year. Avoid others who have a cold and request family members and visitors to wash their hands before touching your baby
- Keep off second-hand smoke: Insist that no one smoke around your child, as second-hand smoke increases the frequency and severity of infections
- Breast-feed your baby: Antibodies in breast milk have a major impact on the rate of ear infections. Studies show that children who are breast-fed for the first six to twelve months suffer fewer ear infections than those fed by bottle
- Apply cold or heat: To reduce swelling and pressure, apply ice wrapped in a wet washcloth or a heating pad to the ear for no longer than 20 minutes to avoid frostbite or burn
Dealing With Colic
Colic is harmless for babies. But (oh yes…) it can be traumatic for parents. You need to first understand it is a condition that results in an unexplained attack of crying that usually last one to two hours at a time.
The exact cause of colic is not known, however, we do know that excessive gas or abdominal pain or even bad parenting does not cause it. Colic usually begins before your little baby is two weeks old and normally lasts up to three months of age. Although it is impossible to stop the crying of a baby with colic, certain treatments can greatly reduce the duration of crying per day.
- Soothe your baby: Cuddle in a rocking chair, rock him in a cradle, place her in a front pack or pouch, go for a stroller ride
- Let your baby cry to sleep: If after 30 minutes, none of these measures quiet your baby, and he has been fed recently, he is probably trying to go to sleep. Minimize outside stimuli. Wrap him in a light blanket and place him on his side or back in his crib. Leave the room. If he cries for over fifteen minutes, pick him up and sooth him again
- Encourage nighttime sleep: Try to keep your baby from sleeping long periods during the day. If she has slept for three hours, gently awaken her. This will help shorten the length of time she is awake at night
- Don’t feed your baby every time he cries: It takes more than two hours for the stomach to empty. Wait at least that long between feedings or your baby may experience cramps from bloating. Also, avoid caffeine products and other stimulants if you are nursing
- Avoid fatigue and exhaustion: Constant crying can drive any person to desperation. Nap when your baby naps. Ask someone else – your spouse, friend or relative, for help with other children and chores. Hire a baby sitter so you can get away to clear your mind. Talk to other mothers about your feelings.
- Talking to your baby’s physician about your concerns can help ease the stresses caused by colic. If your baby cries constantly for more than two hours, is less than one month old and acts sick, or you are afraid your might hurt your baby, be sure to call your pediatrician right away.