What Is Newborn Care? 

Neonatal care refers to the care given to a newborn infant from the time of delivery through the first month of life. The term “neonate” is used for a newborn infant during a 28-30 day period.


When should neonatal care be carried out?

Strict attention should be given to your baby immediately after birth. The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that such attention is an integral part of care in normal birth. Some of these immediate care involves:


Drying the baby with warm towels or cloths while placed on the mother’s abdomen or in her arms. This mother-child skin-to-skin contact is important to maintain the baby’s temperature, encourage bonding and expose the baby to the mother’s skin bacteria.


Ensuring the airway is clear, removing mucus and other material from the mouth, nose and throat with a suction pump.


Maintaining body temperature ensures no metabolic problems associated with exposure to a cold rise.


Clamping and cutting the umbilical cord with sterile instruments, thoroughly decontaminated by sterilisation. This is of utmost importance for the prevention of infections.


A few drops of silver nitrate solution or an antibiotic are usually placed into the eyes to prevent infection from any harmful organisms that the baby may have had contact with during delivery (e.g. maternal STDs ).


Vitamin K is also administered to prevent haemorrhagic disease in the newborn.


The baby’s overall condition is recorded at 1 minute and at 5 minutes after birth using the Apgar Scale.


Putting the baby to your breast as early as possible. Early suckling/breastfeeding should be encouraged within the first hour after birth, and nipple stimulation by your baby may influence uterine contractions and postpartum blood loss. Still, according to the WHO, this should be investigated.


About 6 hours or so after birth, your baby is bathed, but the vernix caseosa (whitish greasy material that covers most of your newborn’s skin) is tried to be preserved, as it helps protect against infection.


Be gentle with your baby as they adapt to their new environment. Stay safe, mama!

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