Amul Baby Growth Plan - Common Ailments
Colic and wind pain
A BABY can bring up wind much more easily in an upright position. Hence your baby has to be adequately burped up tot he age of six months. The proper technique of burping has already been explained. If air is not brought up, it will pass from the stomach into the intestine, giving rise to paid and discomfort (colic or gripe). For relief, give the baby milk carminative mixure or grape water.
Points to note during feeding are:
- If the baby is fed from a bottle, see that the nipple hole is note too big. To prevent the quick gulping down of milk by the baby. A mother with a rapidly flowing breast must press out a little milk by hand before putting the baby to breast.
- Dot not add glucose to baby's milk or water. As a sweetening agent sugar is better than glucose because sugar procedures less gas. So if the baby refuses to take plain water, add a little sugar.
- Burp the baby adequately halfway through the feed and when feeding is over.
A slight trickle of milk from the side of the mouth after a feed is quite common amount well-fed babies and is of no importance.
Persistent vomiting may be due to an upset stomach, especially if the vomit has a sour smell. It may also occur on the onset of an attack of tonsillitis or infective diarrhoea.
Sometimes vomit is thrown out like a fountain. It is associated with a spasm and growth of a part of the stomach muscles and needs medical attention. This condition usually occurs within three months of birth.
Vomiting can also occur when the baby has an attack of severe coughing. If the baby is fed immediately after vomiting ceases, there are better chances of the baby retaining the food. If your baby is putting on weight and is otherwise doing well, do not worry. Occasionally vomiting becomes a habit with certain babies who long for extra attention from the parents. In such cases, a little indifference to the act of vomiting may bring about a sudden improvement.
Sometimes a baby gets attacks of vomiting periodically. This is known as cyclical vomiting and needs medical attention.
The importance of training an infant to evacuate the bowels at convenient times of the day cannot be exaggerated, because habitual constipation may result later among children who have not had such training in infancy.
In a great majority of children good training in bowel evacuation and a proper diet containing plenty of vegetables, fruits, and adequate amounts of fluid, will prevent constipation. Purgatives, especially castor oil, should be avoided in the very young. Occasionally a milk laxative like Milk of Magnesia or a lubricant like liquid paraffin my be necessary. Even this must never be used regularly.
Remember, the commonest cause of constipation in babies is underfeeding i.e. giving baby less milk than what he requires. Always allow a baby as much as he will take willingly. If your baby is fed well, he will pass stools regularly. Some babies may pass one stool in two days, this may be normal. Beware of becoming a 'potty conscious' mother whose joy for the day depends on seeing a formed stool of reasonable quantity passed by her child.
- Dietetic diarrhoea: Dietetic diarrhoea may be due to overfeeding, too much sugar or to excess of protein or fat in the milk given to the baby. Excess of fat in the diet leads to pale, fatty stools. Excess of protein leads to brownish leathery curds in stools. Excess of sugar or starch leads to greenish, frothy stools.
- Infective diarrhoea: Infective diarrhoea occurs during the hot season when there are flies. Usually vomiting is also an associated symptom. The child is quite ill and may have a rise in body temperature. Stools which may be passed very frequently are faecal to begin with. Later they are almost watery with very little faecal matter. Since the child loses plenty of body fluids in the watery stools and is unable to retain the fluids by mouth because of associated vomiting, dehydration sets in rapidly. It is this dehydration (lack of water in the body) that must be avoided at all costs.
Consult your doctor immediately should diarrhoea persist. Put the baby to bed. If the baby is able to retain fluid by mouth, give small quantities of (boiled) salt and sugar water frequently. Dilute the milk (half water, half milk) so as to make it more digestible. Boil all the water and milk that you use and prevent flies from setting down on eatables.
- A Symptom: Diarrhoea may often occur as a symptom in infections of the ear, throat, lungs or of the urinary tract. Your doctor will be the best judge of such situations and so consult him at once.
Since the infant's nervous system is not as stable as in older children and adults, convulsions can occur in infancy. There are many causes that produce a convulsion; some more serious than others. Put the child to bed, put a gauze packing or a handkerchief in the mouth to prevent the baby biting its tongue' pad the sides of the bed to avoid injury to limbs and send for your doctor immediately.
If a soiled diaper is kept in contact with the baby's skin for a long time, particularly if the baby is passing acid stools, the skin in the napkin area becomes red and inflamed. Change the diaper frequently. Apply a zinc paste and give 1/2 gm (5 grains) of soda bicarbonate by mouth.
Strong smelling urine
During the hot season, the baby perspires a great deal. Since a lot of water is lost through perspiration the urine naturally gets concentrated and therefore, has a stronger smell and strains the diapers yellow.
The passage of concentrated urine may cause a burning sensation. Give plenty of water in addition to the baby's normal diet.
Sore throat and tonsillitis
Children are very susceptible to throat infections. If the tonsils are enlarged, it does not necessarily mean that they should be removed. Therefore, do no rush into having your child's tonsils removed unless they cause frequent trouble and anxiety. Be guided by your doctor. Warm salt gargles often bring relief.
Boils and other skin infection
Boils are fairly common in the hot season. Fomentation with warm water may help. Scabies is an itchy condition and is highly infections. It is produced by a tiny parasite which invades the skin. Consult a doctor for treatment. Points to remember are:
- Contacts with a person having scabies must be avoided.
- All members of the family having scabies must be treated simultaneously as otherwise the treated ones will be reinfected.
These are very common complaints during infancy and childhood. A cold with a running nose results from an infection or an allergy. When the nose is blocked as a result of a cold, the baby has difficulty in breathing. The baby then attempts to breathe through the month. When the baby is on the breast or on the bottle the discomfort can well be imagined. A cold also interferes with the baby's sleep and he wakes up several times during the night.
If the baby is otherwise in good health he can get over a cold easily because a common cold often clears up at the end of the fourth day.
An allergic cold is the result of the membrane lining of the nose being allergic to certain substances like pollen, house dust, certain foods, etc. In such case there is usually a history of other family members being allergic to various foods and substances. The allergic cold is not an infective condition. Occasionally it may be associated with wheezing of the chest and coughing In rare case an attack of asthma also may develop. Take the baby to a doctor if the cold does not clear up by the fourth day.
Infection of the cells lining the respiratory tract causes irritation and coughing. A cough attack often follows infectious fevers like influenza and measles. This requires medical care.
Whooping cough is an illness which is common during infancy and childhood. It is a serious illness and is best avoided by proper immunization methods. See that your child does not come in contact with a person having whooping cough.
The whoop and bouts of cough followed by vomiting are characteristic features of whooping cough. If you suspect that your child has whooping cough, consult your doctor immediately. Early treatment has the best results.
Difficulty in passing urine
This is a common complaint in new born male babies who suffer from a tight foreskin of the penis. The baby usually strains a lot while passing urine. If such a condition persists, circumcision should be done. Circumcision is a very minor surgical operation by means of which the foreskin of the penis is cut. Circumcision is often performed as a religious rite by some communities. It has a definite hygienic advantage.
Failure to gain weight
This is often due to inadequate feeding. Your baby will grow well only if he is fed well. Occasionally, failure to gain weight may be due to some chronic lung or heart disease. See your doctor immediately if you are not satisfied with your child's weight gain. A normal baby should double its birth weight by six months, triple it by one year and quadruple it by two years.