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Kids' Corner: In with the new

Becoming a first-time parent to a newborn baby throws up all manner of worries. Here’s a quick look at what to expect...

BEING pregnant with your first born is one of the most daunting times of a woman’s life. Even more daunting, though, is when the little one has arrived and you are holding him or her in your arms. Don’t worry if panic sets in regarding how you are going to care for your delicate little bundle; many parents feel exactly the same anxiety. What is right and what is wrong? There are so many questions you want the answers to and just as many things to worry about. So, here I’ve collated some key information and tips to help put new mamas and papas at ease.

Spotty skin
Many new parents may become concerned about small spots that appear on their newborn bubba. The spots are usually small and white and appear on the baby’s face.

They are called Milia and usually materialise within the first few weeks of your baby’s life. Don’t worry – Milia spots are harmless and cause no discomfort to the baby. They are quite common and clear up on their own by the time the baby is around six weeks old.

Some babies will also develop red spots and, again, this is nothing to worry about. They should also clear up within about six weeks. Most spots on your baby’s face will go away after a few months at most, although if red spots appear on your baby’s body along with a fever you should consult your doctor immediately.

Changing eye colour
African and Asian babies that are born with brown eyes will usually retain that brown colour. Caucasian babies that are born with grey or dark blue eyes often change to green, hazel or brown. This is completely normal, just as some babies’ eyes may remain the same colour and not change at all. These changes will normally have taken place by the time the baby is nine months old.

Baby vision
A newborn can make out light, shape and movement but can only see eight to 15 inches away. Babies can just about make out the face of the person that is holding them, so ensure that face-to-face time is plentiful.

At one to two months old a baby can focus and should follow an object as it moves from left to right. Try moving a rattle from side to side in front of your baby and you will be delighted to see them fix their eyes on to it.
 
At two to four months things become clearer, especially colours, so try switching the rattle for a more brightly coloured object.

At about five months babies should be able to distinguish the difference between objects such as a book and a bottle.

By eight months, babys’ vision has strengthened to the extent that he or she can recognise people and objects quite clearly.

Cradle cap
Your baby is suffering from cradle cap if he or she has a dry flaky scalp which is sometimes yellowish and crusty. This is very common, so if your baby does display these symptoms there is certainly no need to worry. Cradle cap is harmless, it doesn’t usually bother baby and it normally clears up between the ages of six to 12 months. There is no definitive treatment for cradle cap but if it is severe, try rubbing olive or almond natural oil on to the baby’s scalp and leave it on for 15 minutes. This will help loosen the flakes. Then use a baby soft brush to gently brush them out. Always wash baby’s scalp afterwards with a mild baby shampoo as olive oil in particular can clog up pores.

Bathing
Many parents assume it is good practice to bathe their newborn every day but the American Academy of Paediatrics recommends bathing babies just two or three times a week for the first year. They add that frequent baths can dry out a baby’s skin, especially during winter. It seems obvious but you should also stick to using mild products (creams, soaps, shampoos, etc.) specifically designed for babies.

Colic
Your otherwise healthy baby has started to cry uncontrollably on three or more occasions a week, yet you can’t see anything obviously wrong. There is a chance your baby has one of infancy’s most dreaded conditions: colic. Luckily, colic is relatively short-term and usually targets the little one during his or her first month. Baby should be over it by the age of five months. This can be a tiring and difficult time for both parents and the infant as babies with colic tend to cry inconsolably for up to three hours. Telltale signs of colic are that some babies may have an enlarged tummy, they may pull their legs up or extend them, and they may also pass wind as they cry. There are methods to help soothe and comfort a baby with colic but no single treatment. Again, this is very common and keep in mind that it will stop in time. Here are some ways to help your baby with colic:

Massage: Try laying your baby across your knees, face down, and then rubbing their back and shoulders.

Teats: Anti-colic teats are available for you to buy from good pharmacies.

Movement: Try comforting your baby by hugging them while standing and then moving back and forth.

Gripe water: Ask your pharmacist or doctor for their advice on this first. Many of them will recommend gripe water or herbal medicine.

Gemma Jones has been working in childcare for nine years. She holds an NNEB diploma in nursery nursing and a BA in Early Childhood Studies and has worked as a nursery manager, nanny and childcare college lecturer. She currently works as a kindergarten teacher. If you have any questions relating to childcare or development that you would like Gemma to answer, please email them to: kidscorner@live.com

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