Your Newborn - What to look out for

By Heidi Young, The Nest, Kids CPR & Allergy

It’s amazing, isnt it? That overwhelming feeling of becoming a mother, maybe for the first time or maybe for the third, but it still feels the same every time….

Now you are responsible for this little life and it blows your mind, just a little bit!

In this article, I want to put your mind at rest with some practical tips and advice when it comes to keeping your new bundle safe and sound, and what to expect, because they can be full of surprises!

THE SNUFFLES & SNEEZES
Newborn babies are often quite snuffly and sneezy in the first few weeks, but the sneezing is just their way of clearing all the mucus, fluff and sometimes milk that is accumulating.

This is absolutely nothing to worry about, unless they are showing other signs of it being a cold like a persistent cough or a runny nose.

Your newborn’s breathing may be very irregular at the beginning. they can breathe rapidly and then stop for a while or they may breathe very shallow too, all this is quite normal for a newborn. Even as a seasoned childrens nurse of 17 years, counting a newborn babies respirations is always a challenge!

FEVER
When your child develops a fever, which is when their temperature rises above 38 degrees, it is a normal response to infection, because the newborn babies body is already a clever little machine.

Many virus & bacteria struggle to breed at a high temperature, so our bodies turn up the heat to kill off the infection.

So lowering your child’s fever can actually prolong an illness, however if your child is uncomfortable or has some pain, they may benefit from some pain relief.

If your child is under 3 months old and has a fever above 38 degrees, they must be seen by a doctor immediately, as a small baby can deteriorate rapidly, they don’t have many reserves and they also can’t tell us what is wrong. The source of the fever needs to be identified as soon as possible.

RASHES
Very young babies can develop all sorts of blotches and rashes on their delicate new skin, so it’s important to recognise what is normal and what is not.

The little milk rash they get on their nose, often looks like tiny little white heads, and sometimes they can get dry flaky skin, just from being exposed to the outside world after being tucked up in your belly for 9 months!

If your baby is out of sorts at all, and develops a red rash, there is a quick test you can do to figure out if it needs medical attention. Get a clear glass, and press it on the skin over the rash, if the rash disappears under the glass, then it may be nothing to worry about, however I would still see your GP, but if it does not disappear under the pressed glass, then you need to get your child seen immediately.

INFANT CPR
Here I will layout the steps for CPR on a small baby. The steps we use are called DRSABC.

D - DANGER - Check the area for danger to yourself, the baby and anyone else in the immediate area. Remove it, or move the baby to a safe area.

R - RESPONSE - Check for a response using the talk and touch approach. Place one hand on the baby’s forehead and use the other hand to gently squeeze the baby’s shoulder, while talking loudly to them.

The baby may respond by opening their eyes, making a noise or moving. If they respond, stay with them to make sure they recover. If you are worried, seek medical advice.

S - SEND FOR HELP - If the baby does not respond, send for help immediately by calling 000

Stay calm, speak slowly and ask for an ambulance

The operator will ask you a number of questions

DO NOT hang up the phone - Put it on speaker

If there is someone with you, get them to make the call

A - AIRWAY - Lay the baby on their back, on a firm surface. Make sure their head is not tilted forwards or backwards.

Use your fingers to lift the chin up towards you.

Open the mouth and if you can see;

fluid: then place the baby on their side to help drain the fluid.

an object: if you can get to it easily, place baby on their side and use your thumb and index finger (in a pincer grip) to remove the object. Be careful not to push the object further into the throat.

The baby may recover as a result of you clearing the airway.

B - BREATHING - look for movement of the baby’s chest and stomach.

• listen for breathing sounds by placing your ear close to the baby’s mouth and nose

• feel for air when listening for breathing sounds.

Look, listen and feel for up to 10 seconds.

If the baby is breathing normally, but is still not responding, place them on their side. Check them regularly to make sure their condition doesn’t worsen while you wait for the ambulance.

If the baby is not breathing normally, they will need CPR.

C - CPR - To give chest compressions, use 2 fingers or one hand, depending on the size of the baby and your own strength.

• Place your fingers or hand on the lower half of the breastbone, which is in the centre of the chest.

• Push down to 1/3rd of the depth of the chest 30 times.

• Push fast, at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute.

Once you have given 30 compressions, you should then give 2 breaths.

To give breaths lift the chin up as described earlier.

• Take a breath yourself.

• Open your mouth and place it over the baby’s mouth and nose.

• Slowly blow enough air to see the baby’s chest rise and fall.

Continue repeating 30 compressions to 2 breaths until the ambulance arrives and takes over or the baby begins to respond.

If you are unable to or prefer not to give breaths, continue to give chest compressions without stopping until the ambulance arrives.

Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.

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