During my pregnancy, I used to read books and attended pre-natal classes. This certainly helped with giving me some necessary knowledge about newborn care. But it was mainly after my consultation with the paediatrician, during a routine checkup in the hospital, that I understood the reality of baby care, as opposed to the many prevailing myths.
Basis my discussion with the doctor, I am sharing some of the common mistakes many of us new parents end up making. These mistakes can become dangerous for the baby in the long run, and we MUST stay away from them!
#1: Removing Excess Hair From The Baby's Body
When my daughter was born, she had excessive hair on her forehead, ears and arms. I was a bit surprised to see that since I had never encountered such a thing in my life. The moment the elders at home saw this, they start giving all kind of advice to remove the hair.
One of the common suggestions was to scrub it with whole wheat mixture. Initially, I agreed with them and my baby went through that process of hair removal. But something told me it was not safe...
I checked this with my paediatrician and what she said truly opened my eyes. As per the paediatrician, it is very much normal to have hair on a newborn baby's body. The fine hairs covering the infant are known as Lanugo. They tend to shed before birth, but sometimes may be present even later, especially in premature babies. There is no cause of any concern since they tend to shed by themselves over a period of time.
This turned out to very true in my daughter's case. Within the period of 3-6 months, my daughter’s body hair shed on its own. I would recommend that parents never ever try such scrubbers at home because it is very harmful for the baby's delicate skin and can trigger skin allergies too. In certain cases, it can even damage the skin of a newborn permanently.
#2: Pinching The Baby's Nose
I often see my elders pinching the nose of my newborn, leaving her nose red. I used to ask them, "Why do you do this?" This was the answer I got:
"Pinching the nose bridge of the baby will give a good and attractive shape to the baby's nose."
I found it very funny and was amazed! But the thing which was bothering me was that a baby's nose bridge is very delicate. Harsh or wrong pressing can break it and damage the baby's nose forever! Plus, the nose structure of your baby depends on your genes. If it can corrected by elders or malishwalis then plastic surgeon should stop practising!
Your baby's nose may look flat or pushed because their nose bridge is yet to be developed. Over the passage of time, the infant's nose will come in its normal shape. So parents, please never let anyone pinch your baby's tiny nose.
#3: Scrubbing The Baby's Skin With Besan or Ubtan
Skin care is one of the most important aspects of newborn care. Many of us moms are asked to scrub the baby's skin with besan or ubtan. In our society, many of us have a secret wish to have a fair baby. It is for this reason we tend to give babies ubtan scrub or milky cream bath. Please moms, it is not recommended to use such scrubbers on the baby's delicate skin. It can damage the newborn skin and even block the skin pores.
I personally feel (and science has proved) that a child's skin colour solely depends on the
parents' skin colour; it come from their genes. Scrubbing their delicate
skin will only cause damage and in certain cases even trigger skin
#4: Giving Milk or Curd Bath
I have come across a common practice of giving milk cream or curd bath to baby. This again is intended to make the babies fair. But we must make sure that the baby should not swallow it. Since milk cream and curd contain bacteria, it can trigger diarrhoea in the baby. Their digestion is not yet developed.
Instead, it is advisable to simply give a gentle message with oil before bath
and apply baby lotion post bath so that moisture remains intact.
#5: Incorrect Layering of Baby Clothes
I am a finicky mom and used to cover my baby with lots of layers of cloths. But it was only later that I realized something was making my daughter very uncomfortable. She used to sweat a lot in A/C too. My doctor told me that an infant's body cannot regulate the body temperature like an adult, at least for the first few months. So, it is necessary to make them wear lesser layers in summer, preferably cotton clothes. If we cover them fully there may be chances of excessive sweating.
During winters it is advisable to keep the infant's head covered since they lose a lot of heat from their heads. Try to keep the room warm but not hot. My doctor gave me a simple tip for layering. She directed me that whatever an adult is wearing in winters, a newborn needs just an extra layer of clothing to it. If I’m wearing just a sweater then my new born needs one more layer of woolen clothes to keep the cold at bay.
#6: Making These Diapering Mistakes
Most diapers come with 12hrs long protection. As a result, many of us leave our babies in diapers for a prolonged period. However, this is a bad idea. It is important to change the diaper every 2-3 hrs. The prolonged use of wet diapers is a major cause of rash in babies.
Also, it is advisable to wash the potty area with plain water and apply a layer of moisturizing cream or coconut oil to prevent diaper rash. Skipping moisturizer post cleaning can further lead to redness and rash in babies. My rule is that as parents, we should diligently change the baby's diaper every 2-3 hrs depending upon the wetness of diaper. Also, we must take care of cleaning keeping in mind skin moisture.
Parenting is all about learning in every way; each day you are learning new things and identifying your parenting mistakes. I would recommend moms to not fall for old wives tales but consult the paediatrician for any doubts.
Do share any mistakes you may have made with other parents so that they don’t repeat what we have done.
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