Newborn Care Precautions: 12 Taboos to Avoid

Newborn Care Precautions: 12 Taboos to Avoid

A newborn baby has just entered the world and is still adjusting to the new environment and everything around them. They need your meticulous care and companionship. However, taking care of a newborn is not an easy task. With a soft body and frequent crying, you might feel overwhelmed and sometimes tend to follow unscientific parenting ideas, committing some taboos in baby care. Here are some to avoid:

Taboo 1: Rushing to Supplement with Formula

Right after birth, a mother's milk supply may seem insufficient. You might think it's not enough for the baby and immediately supplement with formula. However, most postpartum mothers have enough milk for their babies, even for twins.

Newborns have small stomachs and need only a small amount of milk initially. The small amount of breast milk produced by the mother is usually sufficient to meet the baby’s needs. As the baby’s stomach capacity gradually increases, the mother’s milk supply will also increase if breastfeeding is done correctly, matching the baby’s demand.

Correct Approach:

Believe in your ability to exclusively breastfeed your baby. There's no need to rush to supplement with formula. Using a KISSBOBO breast pump can effectively help mothers stimulate milk production and properly store breast milk, ensuring that the baby gets adequate nutrition.

Mother gives baby milk powder

Taboo 2: Rushing to Give Water

Some parents might give water to newborns, but it’s generally not recommended. Most of the milk is water, so breastfeeding alone can meet the baby’s hydration needs. Giving water frequently can decrease their appetite for milk, leading to nutritional deficiencies and potentially reducing the mother's milk supply.

Correct Approach:

The World Health Organization recommends exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months. If you need to give water, it’s best to wait until the baby is at least six months old.

Taboo 3: Kissing the Baby

Seeing a cute baby, parents might be tempted to kiss their little mouths. While this expresses love, it can sometimes lead to unforeseen issues. The adult mouth harbors many microorganisms that a newborn's immature immune system cannot fight off.

Correct Approach:

Avoid mouth-to-mouth kissing. You can kiss their cheeks, forehead, arms, belly, or feet instead. Avoid kissing their hands as well, since babies often put their hands in their mouths, potentially ingesting harmful germs. If you have a cold, flu, or any oral conditions, it’s best to avoid close contact and kissing.

Taboo 4: Letting the Baby Sleep with a Pillow

Some parents worry about the baby developing a flat head and use "shaping pillows" with a concave center, thinking it will help shape the baby’s head. However, this can be dangerous as it may obstruct the baby’s breathing if they turn their head.

Correct Approach:

Do not use pillows for babies under one year old. To prevent a flat head, allow the baby to spend more time on their tummy when awake or hold them upright. Also, adjust their sleeping position regularly.

Newborn baby sleeping position

Taboo 5: Binding the Baby's Legs

Some parents believe that letting a baby’s legs naturally form an "M" shape will result in poor leg shape, so they bind the baby’s legs straight. This is incorrect and can lead to developmental dysplasia of the hip, causing long-term walking difficulties.

Correct Approach:

Do not bind the baby's legs. If you swaddle the baby, leave enough room for leg movement.

Taboo 6: Squeezing the Nipples

Newborns may have swollen breast tissue due to remaining maternal hormones, and some parents might try to squeeze it out. This can cause infections.

Correct Approach:

Swollen breast tissue is normal and will usually resolve on its own within 2-3 weeks. Do not squeeze it.

Taboo 7: Picking at Milk Spots

Some newborns develop small white or yellowish bumps known as milk spots or Epstein pearls. Picking at them can damage the baby’s delicate oral mucosa and lead to infections.

Correct Approach:

Milk spots are normal and will disappear on their own. No treatment is necessary.

Taboo 8: Overdressing the Baby

Fearing their baby might catch a cold, some parents overdress their baby, wrapping them up like a dumpling. This can cause overheating and even lead to heatstroke, which can be fatal.

Correct Approach:

Generally, dress the baby in one more layer than an adult. Check the baby’s back to see if they’re sweating and adjust their clothing accordingly.

Taboo 9: Putting Mittens on the Baby

Babies often wave their hands around and might scratch themselves with their nails. Some parents put mittens on the baby to prevent scratches, but this restricts hand movement and sensory development.

Correct Approach:

Regularly trim the baby’s nails. Baby nails grow quickly and might need trimming 1-2 times a week.

Taboo 10: Shaving the Baby's Head at One Month

In some cultures, it’s customary to shave a baby’s head at one month old, believing it will result in thicker hair. However, shaving does not affect hair follicles or future hair growth.

Correct Approach:

If you follow this custom, consider cutting the hair short instead of shaving. Ensure that hair-cutting tools are sterilized.

The mother feeds the baby

Taboo 11: Using Talcum Powder

In hot weather, many parents use talcum powder to prevent or treat heat rash. However, talcum powder particles can be inhaled, causing respiratory issues and potentially containing harmful substances like asbestos.

Correct Approach:

Keep the baby cool and dry. Set the air conditioner to 26-27°C, bathe the baby frequently, and keep their skin dry. Heat rash usually resolves on its own within 1-2 days without any medication. If itchy, use a cool cloth or calamine lotion.

Taboo 12: Using Neck Floats for Swimming

While neck floats might seem safe for baby swimming, they pose significant risks. They can put undue stress on the baby’s neck, affecting development, and might restrict breathing or blood flow if too tight.

Correct Approach:

Babies under one year are not ready to learn swimming skills and should only play in the water. It’s safer to wait until they are 3-4 months old when their head control is stronger. Use proper swim aids like inflatable rings and stay within arm’s reach of the baby at all times.

By avoiding these taboos and following proper care guidelines, you can ensure your baby grows up healthy and happy. Additionally, using the KISSBOBO breast pump helps new mothers manage and store breast milk efficiently, ensuring that your baby receives the best nutrition and care at every stage.