Baby

The first weeks with your baby

Jaundice

Jaundice usually affects full-term babies. It appears 2 to 3 days after the baby is born; the baby’s skin will become yellow and the color will intensify by the hour. Commonly called newborns jaundice, the neonatal jaundice or neonatal hyperbilirubinemia affects 60% of full-term healthy babies and 80% of premature babies. It reaches its peak after 3 or 4 days and disappears after a week. It can last more than a week in premature children.

Jaundice is caused by the elevation of the bilirubin concentration in their blood. Bilirubin is the yellow breakdown of heme, a component of the red blood cells and is usually eliminated in the stools. Sometimes a too large amount of bilirubin is reabsorbed in the intestines and it causes jaundice.

Usually declared before leaving the hospital, jaundice can be detected by a blood test that will confirm its gravity. If you notice that your child’s skin is yellow when you go back home, contact your doctor or take your baby to the clinic. A more notable jaundice is usually found in infants who drink less or whose intestines are not working as well.

Usually, there is no special treatment for jaundice although in some cases, doctors can recommend phototherapy.
Back in foetal position

During these first few weeks of life, you will see that when your baby sleeps, they go back to their foetal position. Their natural instinct is bringing them back to this reassuring position. A lot of infants keep this habit for a while, especially when they are all curled up with their loving mother!

The umbilical cord

We call umbilical cord the tube that feeds your baby and links them to the placenta. When it is cut at birth, it is white. It dries and darkens as the days go by. The nurse ties it up with a big plastic clip to ensure coagulation. In time, it will dry up and heal to finally fall by itself after 7 to 30 days.

How to take care and clean the belly button and the rest of the umbilical cord
Clean the contour of the belly button with cotton or a cotton swab soaked in warm water several times a day until it healed completely. To prevent moisture and irritation, the belly button must always be dry and free of gauze or bandages. The rest of the cord can detach partially on a period of 2 to 3 days with or without a few drops of blood. If it only slightly leaks, it is not dangerous because the cord will fall off and its healing will continue normally. On the other hand, if a smelly discharge comes out of the belly button, you should contact your doctor.

The shape of their head

Your baby’s head will seem, at first, bigger and heavier than the rest of their body. It is only an illusion, but you should still manipulate their head very carefully and hold it in permanence. Make sure that your baby can move their head right and left. Stay alert and change the head’s side often when your baby sleeps to avoid a stiff neck.

Some manoeuvres performed during labor can temporarily change your baby’s head shape. Don’t worry; it will get back to its normal round shape after a few weeks.

At birth, the bones of their skull are not yet welded and are very flexible. At the top of the baby’s skull, there is a little diamond-shaped membrane. This soft spot that forms a little hollow when your baby sits is called the fontanel. It joins definitively at the age of 10 to 18 months.


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