Common Questions – New Mummy Survival Guide

Q: Is it safe to put a few drops of oil on your newborn’s ears and naval?

A: Unless your doctor advises you, it is not advisable to do so especially for the naval as it is supposed to be kept clean and dry. Newborn’s ears have earwax for protection.

Q: How often should you cut your baby’s nails?

A: You can cut your baby’s nails after a few weeks old, once their nails harden and grow out of their skin. After that, every few weeks is sufficient.

Q: Will pinching your baby’s nose make it sharper/pointed?

A: No, it will not. Baby’s bone structure has already been formed, and no scientific evidence to support that pinching your baby’s nose will make it sharper or pointed. You may hurt your baby if you pinch his nose continuously or too hard.

Q: How to treat baby’s prickly heat rash? What does nappy rash look like and how do you treat it?

A: Singapore is humid and warm. Prickly heat rash is due to dressing baby or double wrapping baby too warmly. To treat this condition, make sure baby’s room is well-ventilated, dress baby in lighter clothing and do not overwrap the baby.

Nappy rash is red and sore looking, formed from chemical changes in your baby’s urine when soiled diapers are left for too long without changing. To treat, take off the nappy and air the buttocks as much as possible. Some parents may even ‘indirect sun’ baby a little. A cream with zinc oxide may help as well.

Q: How to care for baby’s genitals?

A: Your baby’s diapers should regularly be changed to avoid infection of the urethra. Unwrap the baby and remove the nappy. Clean genital area with wet cotton wool or wet wipes from front to back if necessary, for both boys and girls.

Q: How much formula does a newborn need?

A: Breastfeeding mums should avoid using formula unless you have a medical condition that do not allow for total breastfeeding. How much formula a newborn needs depends on the age and size of the baby.

Q: Is it safe for baby to sleep in the same bed with you?

A: This is not encouraged in the first year of age. There have been instances whereby tired mummies have fallen asleep, laid over the baby and even suffocated the baby.

The adult bed is not equipped with barriers at the edge. Hence, baby can roll off the bed and fall to the floor. Besides, some adult mattresses are too soft. The baby’s nose can be buried in a soft mattress and can suffocate should baby roll over.

Mummies and caregivers are encouraged to sleep in separate beds. The baby cot should be near to you so that you can reach out, touch as well as feed the baby. You can also observe the baby. The baby cot should have barriers at the edge to prevent the baby from rolling off the bed.

The mattress should be firm and not too soft to prevent the baby’s nose from being buried and suffocated should the baby roll over. The baby cot should not have any soft pillows for the same reason.

Q: When can you leave your baby unattended?

A: Never leave your baby unattended at all times, especially during bath time.

Q: When can you give the baby a soother or pacifier?

A: Soother or pacifier is not a must for every baby, especially breastfeeding babies as it may interfere with latching if you have not established the breastfeeding techniques. Long-term use may interfere with jaw alignment.

Most parents offer the pacifier at two to four weeks of birth when the baby is more demanding and fussy. Most babies have a strong sucking reflex. Giving a pacifier may help to satisfy a baby’s need for sucking. It is a non-nutritive sucking that helps to soothe a fussy baby, makes baby feel secure, comforted and it is a pleasurable activity. Sucking a pacifier helps some babies to soothe themselves to sleep. Pacifiers are used to comfort and calm babies during medical procedures and blood tests.

Wean baby off pacifier at 18 – 24 months when the child learns to talk and interact more. Distract the child by moving to other methods of comfort like giving him food or biscuits to chew. Replace the pacifier with favourite toys. Sing or read to him to comfort him.

Q: Is it safe to use baby talcum powder on your baby?

A: Do not apply talcum powder on the umbilical cord and genital area.

Q: Why is oral care so essential for your baby?

A: Some doctors advise that it is not necessary to clean baby’s mouth when they are only on milk feed. However, if you prefer, your baby’s oral hygiene can begin the first few days after birth. You can clean your baby’s gums daily with a piece of clean muslin cloth or gauze wet with boiled cool water.

Once your baby has teeth and starts on solids, the oral cavity has to be kept clean to prevent early decay of milk teeth. Brush your baby’s teeth with a soft bristled toothbrush without toothpaste as soon as they appear.

Q: Why is it important to burp your baby?

A: Breastfeeding babies do not require much burping. Burping baby before breastfeeding or before changing to the second breast may encourage baby to receive more breastmilk. It is important to burp formula fed babies in between and at the end of feeding to remove excess swallowed air.

Q: Is it safe to give sugar water or honey to newborns?

A: No, it is not.

Article is extracted from Mother & Child guidebook. 

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