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After the birth of a newborn baby, a delicate bundle, some new parents are even afraid to hold the baby, fearing that they might hold the baby inappropriately and cause pain or injury.
In fact, newborns are not as fragile as we might think. As long as the aspects that need attention and the parts that require careful care are well taken care of, there is no need to worry too much.
So, which parts of a newborn baby need special care and attention? In this article, the author has made a detailed summary. New parents must take a good look at it so that they know where to be cautious when taking care of the baby and avoid making mistakes.
1. Umbilical Cord Stump
❌ Reminder from Mom: Do not pull or tug.
✅ Correct Procedure: Proper disinfection + keep the area dry to allow the stump to fall off naturally.
After the baby is born, the umbilical cord that connects to the mother’s body is cut, and one end attached to the baby’s belly forms an ‘umbilical cord stump.’ Normally, the stump falls off 7-15 days after birth, leaving behind the baby’s navel.
During this period, it is important to disinfect and care for the umbilical area, keeping the surrounding skin dry and waiting for the stump to naturally fall off.
It is crucial not to pull or tug it off, and daily disinfection should not be neglected. Improper care may lead to infection, affecting the baby’s health.
❌ Reminder from Mom: Avoid collisions.
Correct Procedure: Regularly clean and protect. Pay close attention and consult a doctor if the baby shows signs of severe crying, nausea, vomiting, etc.
When the baby is born, there are two slightly depressed and soft areas on the head, especially the one in the front, which may sometimes be visibly pulsating. This is called the ‘fontanelle’ and serves as an indicator of the baby’s brain and intellectual development, like a ‘weather vane.’
However, the fontanelles do not remain open indefinitely; they naturally close within a certain timeframe. Abnormalities in either premature or delayed closure may signal potential issues.
Anterior Fontanelle: Typically closes around 1-1.5 years old. Posterior Fontanelle: Usually closes around 2 months after birth.
As the fontanelles represent the most vulnerable part of the head, with bones and tissues still in the process of maturing, any forceful impact can lead to severe injury and intracranial infection.
Therefore, it is crucial not to press or subject the baby’s fontanelles to external force.
3. Little Hands
❌ Reminder from Mom: Avoid forcibly straightening.
Correct Procedure: Be patient and wait. However, if the baby still tightly clenches fists after 3 months, it may be an abnormal sign. It is advisable to consult a doctor for examination.
Newborns, shortly after birth, tend to naturally clench their fists, and some parents may intentionally try to open their baby’s hands.
That’s a mistake! This is a specific newborn reflex related to incomplete development of the cerebral cortex. Typically, around 3 months, babies gradually start to extend their little hands.
If parents forcefully straighten the baby’s little hands, it can make the baby uncomfortable at best and, at worst, lead to muscle strain, fractures, or dislocations.
4. Little Face
❌ Reminder from Mom: Avoid kissing.
Correct Procedure: It’s okay to kiss the baby’s little hands and feet.
Many family members, holding a newborn, can’t resist the overwhelming desire to shower them with kisses.
However, it’s crucial not to kiss the baby’s mouth and little face!
Firstly, the salivary glands of newborns lack muscle tension, and frequent kissing may reduce muscle tension, leading to drooling.
Secondly, when adults kiss the baby, they may transmit bacteria, viruses, and other germs to the baby, whose immune system is not yet fully developed.
❌ Reminder from Mom: Avoid shaving the baby’s head.
Correct Procedure: If the hair is too long, you can trim it, but if it’s not long, there’s no need to cut it. Don’t blindly believe that ‘shaving the head at the full moon makes the hair grow better.’
In some places, there is a tradition of ‘shaving the head at the full moon,’ but the quality of a baby’s hair growth is largely influenced by genetics and postnatal nutrition and care.
Shaving the head not only does not promote better hair growth but can also damage the baby’s hair follicle tissues if done too closely to the scalp. This increases the risk of bacterial infection, jeopardizing the baby’s health and affecting hair growth.
❌ Reminder from Mom: Avoid pinching.
Correct Procedure: Let it be natural.
In some places, there is a practice of ‘pinching the nose bridge’ to make the baby’s nose appear higher and more attractive.
In reality, the height of the nose bridge is hereditary. Even if parents have a flat nose, pinching the baby’s nose won’t make it higher. On the contrary, improper manipulation may cause discomfort to the baby, damage the nasal cavity, and even trigger middle ear infections.
❌ Reminder from Mom: Avoid cutting.
Correct Procedure: Let it be natural as long as it doesn’t affect the baby’s health.
In some places, there is a belief that ‘trimming a baby’s eyelashes can make them longer, denser, and more attractive.’
This notion, of course, lacks scientific basis. It’s important not to experiment with such practices blindly, as it could accidentally harm the baby’s eyes or the skin around the eyes.
8. Cradle Cap
❌ Reminder from Mom: Avoid picking.
Correct Procedure: You can use baby moisturizer/shampoo or a warm towel. First, moisten the cradle cap, then gently wash it away during bath time. If it’s not completely clean in one go, wash it several times.
After birth, some babies develop a layer of what appears to be dirty cradle cap on their heads. Moms with perfectionistic tendencies may find it hard to resist picking at it with their nails.
Absolutely do not pick! This layer of cradle cap serves as a certain level of protection for the baby’s scalp. Even if you want to remove it, the method must be correct. If you accidentally scratch the scalp, it could lead to infection and even result in severe consequences.
9. Sleeping Head Shape
❌ Reminder from Mom: Avoid using pillows.
Correct Procedure: Lay the baby flat, ensuring that the back of the head and the back are at the same level.
The spine of a normal adult has four physiological curves, but a newborn baby’s spine does not yet have these curves, and the muscles in the shoulder and neck areas are not sufficiently developed or strong enough to support the head.
Some parents, in an attempt to shape their baby’s head, may use pillows, which not only exacerbate issues like spit-up but also impact spinal health. In severe cases, it may even lead to neck problems.
While taking care of a newborn baby mainly involves feeding and care, many details require careful attention. Overlooking or making mistakes in these aspects can pose risks to the baby.3