The addition of a baby to the family allows parents to enjoy the wonder of life in new ways, but it is so easy for new parents to get swept up in buying all the right equipment, reading all the right books, going to the right classes, and having a perfectly clean house. But no matter how much you prepare, there will be times when you feel like you just don’t have a clue about what’s going on with your baby. Don’t worry; that’s normal. Take reasonable precautions, follow your doctor’s advice, love your baby, and you’ll do just fine.
Don’t Forget Those Check-ups
As your baby grows, you’ll want to check in regularly with your doctor to monitor your infant’s progress. Routine check-ups, sometimes called well-baby visits, are usually scheduled around the two-week, two-month, four-month, six-month, nine-month, and twelve-month marks. At each visit, your doctor will measure your baby’s weight, length, and head circumference. By keeping track of these measurements, your doctor can make sure your baby is growing as expected. These visits are the perfect time to ask your doctor any questions you have regarding your child’s development. You can discuss your infant’s eating and sleeping patterns, the
frequency of urination and bowel movements, and anything else that might be on your mind.
Another important stop on your health rounds should be a visit with your dentist. It is recommended that infants go for their first dental visit at 12 months. During the first examination, your dentist will look for signs of tooth decay, examine your child’s bite, and look for any problems with the jaw, tissues, and gums. Your dentist may also clean your child’s teeth and determine if there is a need for fluoride. The first visit should be a non-threatening introduction of the dentist to your child.
Disease Doesn’t Have a Shot
Vaccination is one of the most important steps in preventing infectious diseases. A vaccine works by triggering the body to create antibodies that make it immune to a particular disease. Each disease requires a different vaccine, as every vaccine works against only one type of bacteria or virus. To reduce the number of shots a child has to get, several vaccines are often combined in a single injection.
Sometimes a child will have a reaction to a vaccine, but most reactions are limited to tenderness at the injection site or mild fever. Acetaminophen before or after a vaccination can help. Every once in a while a vaccination will cause a high fever or convulsions, but these problems are more likely to be the result of a disease than they are to follow a vaccination. In rare instances (fewer than one in every million vaccinations in Canada) a serious reaction does occur, but this is far less common than the devastating consequences of a serious disease.
Health Canada and the Canadian Paediatric Association have developed a schedule of recommended vaccinations every child should have. If you have any questions about the vaccination schedule, the value of vaccines, or the possible side effects, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.
The world is a stimulating place for your infant. Everything is new and exciting, and your baby can barely take it all in. To enjoy their fascinating surroundings to the fullest, children need to be able to see their world clearly. That’s why vision care is so important for babies.
At the two-month check-up, your doctor will look for blocked tear ducts, any abnormal discharge, and the presence of congenital abnormalities and will check your infant’s ability to track objects as they move.
Some of the most common conditions that can affect a newborn’s eyesight include:
- Strabismus is a condition in which the eyes are slightly out of alignment. It
often resolves by the age of three months, but if it doesn’t, medical treatment
is important to prevent future vision loss.
- Amblyopia, commonly known as lazy eye, may result from untreated strabismus.
Children with this condition need to develop the muscles in their weaker eye.
- Congenital glaucoma is a developmental disease resulting in cloudy eyes that
tear easily and are sensitive to light. Early diagnosis and quick treatment are
important to improve future vision.
- Nearsightedness is a common condition that causes distant objects to appear
- Farsightedness, the opposite of nearsightedness, causes nearby objects to
- Astigmatism causes a random, inconsistent vision pattern in which some objects
appear clear and others blurry.
- Colour blindness, also referred to as a “colour vision problem,” is a condition
in which people have difficulty differentiating between the variation in colour
That Wonderfully Soft Skin
Everyone loves the soft texture and sweet smell of a baby’s skin. However, this wonderfully soft skin is also very sensitive, leaving babies vulnerable to a variety of conditions. The good news for parents is that most of these problems clear up on their own or are easily treated.
Common skin conditions affecting babies include:
- Cradle cap: Some babies develop crusty, scaly skin on their scalp during their
first year of life. It may go away on its own with regular shampooing with a mild
baby shampoo, or your doctor can recommend a medicated shampoo to treat
- Peeling or dry skin: In the first few weeks of their lives, babies often have dry
hands and feet. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to recommend a lotion to help
- Erythema toxicum: This common rash affects newborns, making their sensitive
skin red and blotchy. In most cases, it disappears without treatment.
- Neonatal pimples and infantile acne: Parents can help eliminate these skin
eruptions by cleansing the affected area with mild soap and water. They generally
disappear over time.
- Infantile eczema: Babies with a family history of allergies, asthma, or eczema
may develop this condition. A moisturizing cream or ointment may help relieve
- Diaper rash: This common condition shows up as a red or sore bottom, and it
can be caused by using a new product the baby is sensitive to, by chemicals in
new clothing (always wash new clothing before putting it on your baby), by a
bacterial or yeast infection, or by wet or soiled diapers. The best way to prevent
diaper rash is to change your baby’s diaper regularly and to keep the skin in that
area as dry as possible. Protective creams and ointments may also help.
- Yeast infections: A yeast called Candida albicans loves to grow in the warm,
moist diaper environment. Your doctor or pharmacist can recommend an
antifungal cream that will help the area heal.
There will be many new experiences for both you and your baby during that first
year of your child’s life. Enjoy the journey as you watch your child discover the
world and everything in it. And when you need help selecting healthcare products
for your baby, your London Drugs pharmacist will be happy to advise you.