Having a newborn baby, especially if it’s your first, could cause parents a lot of stress if they don’t know what’s medically normal. Which vaccination should my baby have? Is my baby growing at a normal rate? How does one avoid diaper rash? Dr. Suresh Chandran will tell you what to look out for in your newborn, and when it’s necessary to see a doctor.
In terms of vaccination, the first vaccination starts at birth with BCG, which protects against Tuberculosis and HBV, as well as against Hepatitis B.
A baby’s growth and development is very important. Every parent should note that their baby’s weight should double after 5 months, and should by triple its original weight after 1 year. For example, if your baby was born at 3kg, then he or she should be at least 9kg after 12 months. For the first year of your child’s life, be sure to visit a pediatrician regularly to monitor weight and head circumference, which help in detecting problems early. You should also monitor mental and motor milestones, which help to diagnose condition early on.
Although an uncomfortable topic, checking your baby’s urine and stool is very important. To put it briefly, keep an eye out for reddish urine, which is an uncommon complaint, due to the type of breast milk the baby receives in the first few days. This should clear up within five days, but if it doesn’t, it is important to consult a doctor. Frequency is another indicator, whereby the normal rate is six to ten times a day. Make sure to change your baby’s diaper as often, in order to avoid skin rash.
In terms of stool, always remember frequency and color. Babies will pass stool after every breast feed. Pale stool is a sign of serious liver disease, while blood is literally the red sign to seek medical attention. Blood could be due to bleeding from the gut or a deficiency.
The most important thing to remember is to never be embarrassed or afraid to ‘bother’ your doctor with questions about your baby. A watchful parent is better than a neglectful parent, especially within the first few years of a baby’s life.
This concludes Dr. Suresh’s series on newborn health. Dr. Suresh Chandran [MD, MRCP, MRCPCH (UK), DCH, FRCPCH (Lond), CCST] is the Consultant Neonatologist available exclusively at Royal Bahrain Hospital from September 10th until September 17th. Call 1724 6800 to book your appointment now.