Newborn care is a crucial aspect of parenting but in India there are several myths and misconceptions surrounding it. It is essential to debunk them to ensure that newborns receive the best possible care.
It is important to focus on feeding the baby healthy and nutritious food at each stage as from birth to one year is a crucial period for a baby’s health and in this phase, following the feeding stages is very important. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Rachna Verma, Senior Consultant- Gynaecologist and Infertility Specialist at Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, debunked the following myths related to newborn care in India –
Myth #1: You should bathe your newborn immediately after birth
Fact: It’s not necessary to bathe your newborn immediately after birth. In fact, delaying the first bath for a few days can help regulate your baby’s body temperature and prevent dry skin.
Myth 2: You should apply kajal to your baby’s eyes
Fact: Applying kajal to your baby’s eyes is not recommended as it can lead to eye infections and other complications.
Myth 3: You should massage your baby with mustard oil
Fact: While massage can be beneficial for your baby, using mustard oil is not recommended as it can cause skin irritation and other issues.
Myth 4: You should avoid breastfeeding if you have a cold or fever
Fact: Breastfeeding is safe and recommended even if you have a cold or fever. In fact, breast milk contains antibodies that can help protect your baby from infections.
Myth 5: You should avoid taking your baby outside for the first few months
Fact: It’s safe to take your baby outside as long as you take necessary precautions such as dressing your baby appropriately and avoiding crowded places.
Myth 6: You should feed your baby on a strict schedule.
Fact: Feeding on demand is recommended for newborns as it helps ensure they get enough nutrients and can help establish a healthy breastfeeding routine.
Myth 7: You should avoid using diapers as they can cause diaper rash
Fact: Diapers are safe and convenient for newborns, but it’s important to change them frequently and use diaper cream to prevent diaper rash.
Adding to the list of myths, Dr Manju Kumar, Associate Consultant – Critical Care and Emergency Services at NH SRCC Hospital in Mumbai, revealed:
1. Myth: Mother’s milk is not sufficient to nourish the baby and additional outside milk and supplements are required.
Fact: Breast milk is the most complete form of nutrition for a newborn, providing all the necessary nutrients and antibodies to protect the baby from infections.
2. Myth : Many parents believe that applying kajal to the newborn’s eyes can protect them from evil eye or ward off infections.
Fact: This can actually be harmful as it can lead to eye infections and even vision problems.
3. Myth: Applying oil on the baby’s head make their hair grow faster or thicker and fill the skull bone gaps fast.
Fact: Putting too much oil can cause skin irritation and acne. It is normal to have gaps in newborn skull bones and it fills up as normal developmental process. Oil does not play any part in filling bone gaps.
4. Myth: The practice of putting oil in the nose and ears is also a common myth. Parents believe that it helps to clear the baby’s nasal passages and prevent infections.
Fact: This practice is vey unsafe and can actually lead to infections and even respiratory distress if the oil enters the lungs.
5. Myth: Care of the umbilical cord stump. Some believe that applying substances like turmeric or cow dung can help to dry out the stump faster.
Fact: This can lead to infections and delay the healing process. It is important to keep the cord stump clean and dry and to seek medical attention if there are any signs of infection.
6. Myth: Teething causes fever and diarrhea
Fact: There is no scientific evidence to support this claim. Teething may cause some discomfort and fussiness, but it should not cause fever or diarrhea.
7. Myth: Newborns should sleep through the night from birth.
Fact: However, newborns have small stomachs and need to eat frequently, which means they may wake up every few hours to eat. Newborns typically sleep for 16-17 hours a day, but their sleep is often interrupted by feedings and other needs.
It is important for parents to be aware of these myths and to seek accurate information from healthcare professionals. By understanding the best practices for newborn care, parents can ensure the health and well-being of their precious little ones.