Sunday, October 28, 2012

Taking care of newborn skin and jaundice in infants - hepatitis b and rubella vaccine after birth

Newborn skin care: At birth, the top layer of your baby’s skin is very thin and easy to damage. Over the first month (longer in premature babies) your baby’s skin matures and develops its own natural protective barrier.
Vernix in newborns   
Vernix is the white sticky substance that covers your baby’s skin in the uterus that should always be left to absorb naturally. This is nature’s own moisturizer and gives added protection against infection in the first few days.
Premature babies’ skin is even more delicate. Staff in a specialized neonatal area will advise you on skin care.
If your baby is overdue, their skin may well be dry and cracked. This is to be expected, as the protective vernix has all been absorbed. Don’t be tempted to use any creams or lotions as they may do more harm than good. The top layer of your baby’s skin will peel off over the next few days, leaving perfect skin underneath. Wash your baby with plain water only for at least the first month.
Swollen Breasts in babies   
A newborn baby’s breasts can be a little swollen and ooze some milk, whether the baby is a boy or a girl. Girls also sometimes bleed a bit or have a white, cloudy discharge from their vagina. These are a result of hormones passing from the mother to the baby before birth and are no cause for concern. Some body parts of male and female newborn babies often appear rather swollen, but they will look in proportion to their bodies in a few weeks.
Jaundice in infants   
When they are about three days old, many babies develop mild jaundice. This will make their skin and the whites of their eyes look a bit yellow. This usually fades within 10 days or so. But more severe jaundice may need treatment.
Rubella immunization after pregnancy  
If you were not immune to rubella (German measles) when tested early in your pregnancy, you will usually be offered the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) immunization. You should get this before you leave hospital, or shortly afterwards from your GP. If it is not offered, speak to your doctor or midwife, as it’s a good opportunity to get it done. You should not get pregnant again for one month after the injection.
Newborn hepatitis B vaccine schedule
All babies born to mothers who are infected with hepatitis B should receive a course of immunization to prevent them getting hepatitis B. Your baby will be offered immunization soon after birth and at one, two and 12 months old. Your baby should be tested at 12 months to check that immunization has worked.
If you are infected with hepatitis C when your baby is born, there is a small risk that you could pass on the infection. Your baby will be tested at an appropriate time.
What newborn babies can do?  
There is one important skill that your baby will not have to learn.
They are born knowing how to suck. During the first few days they learn to co-ordinate their sucking and their breathing.
Newborn babies also automatically turn towards a nipple or teat if it is brushed against their cheek, and they will open their mouths if their upper lip is stroked. They can also grasp things (like your finger) with either their hands or feet, and they will make stepping movements if they are held upright on a flat surface. Apart from sucking, these automatic responses will go, and your baby will begin to make controlled movements instead.
Newborn babies can use all of their senses. They will look at people and things, especially if they are near, and particularly at people’s faces. They will enjoy gentle touch and the sound of a soothing voice, and they will react to bright light and noise. Very soon they will also know their mother’s special smell.

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