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Caring for your newborn baby

Before you go home with your newborn, there are a few things you need to have ready at your home, and a few skills you'll need to know how to do.

Environment

  • Wash your hands before eating and after using the restroom.
  • Wash hands with soap and water for 15 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and rub your hands together until dry.
  • To prevent the spread of all respiratory infections, including flu, use a tissue to cover your cough and sneeze. Dispose of your tissue in the trash.
  • Keep room temperature comfortable, 70-80°F.
  • Shade face from sun; use a blanket when taking baby outside.
  • Limit visitors to prevent overstimulating your baby.
  • Keep your baby away from large crowds.
  • People with a fever blister or cold sore should not hold or kiss your baby.
  • While sneezing is common in newborns, try to keep the baby’s room free from dust.
  • Use a cold water vaporizer for very dry air; do not use a hot water vaporizer.

Safety

  • When driving, always buckle your baby in a car seat used according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Keep small items such as pins and buttons away from your baby.
  • Never leave baby unattended on a surface.
  • Keep pillows and plastic articles out of your baby’s bed to prevent suff ocation.
  • Never prop bottle and leave your baby alone; your baby could choke.
  • Do not warm baby bottle in the microwave. Hot  spots could burn your baby’s throat.
  • Keep pets away from your baby.
  • Never leave your baby in the bath unattended and keep one hand on baby at all times during the bath.
  • Do not use baby powder.
  • Do not smoke around your baby.
  • Keep your baby’s immunization shots up to date  according to your doctor’s advice.

Thermometer

  • Take temperature under the arm (axillary) unless your doctor requests it taken rectally.
  • Digital thermometers are preferred for young babies less than 3 months of age. 
  • Mercury thermometers are not recommended.
  • Axillary:
    • Place thermometer under arm and hold arm  securely across chest.
  • Rectal:
    • Apply lubricant to thermometer tip.
    • Place baby on tummy.
    • Insert thermometer into rectum just to the metal end of the thermometer.
    • Hold the thermometer securely.
    • Support baby across back and legs so baby does  not kick to hold the thermometer in place. Hold  the buttocks together to support the thermometer.

Bulb syringe (suction bulb)

  • Squeeze air out of bulb before placing in mouth or nose.
  • Insert bulb into space below cheek and gums, and slowly release the bulb to suck out mucus.
  • Do not insert bulb directly to back of throat.
  • Remove bulb from mouth, squeeze bulb to empty it, and prepare to repeat.
  • Always suction mouth before nose.
  • Repeat procedure until airway is clear and baby’s cry does not sound bubbly.
  • Cuddle and reassure baby when  finished suctioning.
  • Clean bulb with hot soapy water after each use to decrease bacteria growth.
  • Do not use bulb for anything else or on any other baby.
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