(0 to 1 year)
My baby has jaundice. What do I do?
Jaundice is not a disease. Parents must understand that it is harmless. It represents the hormonal changes in a babys body. One of the changes that a baby faces outside the womb is that there is a lot more oxygen. To compensate, they make more haemoglobin and in the process of breaking this down, a yellow pigment is secreted by the liver. Exposure to sunshine and adequate feeding is swift treatment. Rarely do babies have to undergo special light-therapy for treatment.
My baby is not passing stool.
It is common not to pass stool on a daily basis for newborn babies. For the first few days, passing of stool happens once every two days. We tend to compare it with adult stool, but the colour and consistency differs from an adults stool. It could be loose, seedy, watery and even green in colour. This is because the baby is on a milk diet and there is no residue. Gradually, after one or two weeks, the stool will become soft, compact and yellow. Once the child starts weaning, a regular bowel pattern is formed.
My breastmilk production is not enough. Should I bottle-feed?
Most new mothers think they will start lactating from Day One, as though they are a tap! But it gradually increases. If you start with the bottle in the first few days, then your own milk will dry up. So, relax and drink plenty of water.
The optimum nursing time is 10-15 minutes, beyond which the baby starts swallowing air and develops colic. If the baby is passing good amounts of urine between feeds, it means youre doing great. Breastfeed your baby at least for the first six months. When to stop is ones own preference.
My baby has rashes.
Rashes are very common and most of the time, harmless. Sometimes, rashes become more prominent after oiling. If so, discontinue oiling for a few days. Also, diapers should be completely avoided in the beginning, though they are useful for older children. They must be changed every four hours.
My baby keeps crying.
Most babies develop colic because they swallow air if breast-feeding is extended. Pat the baby and burp him after a feed. It is a passing phase.
(2 to 4 years)
My child has frequent infections and cough and cold.
Living in a polluted and over-crowded city like Calcutta, it is common for kids to have a cold and cough at least seven or eight times a year. If the child behaves normally and is running around even with fever, there is no reason to panic. What parents should worry about is making sure the child is better before sending him back to school. This ensures:
a) The infection is not spread to other kids;
b) The seeds of the next infection are not sown by a weakened system.
Give your child vitamin supplements, lots of water and follow a normal diet.
My child has fever.
Give the child some kind of paracetamol, keep him/her in a cool place, take off unnecessary clothing and give plenty of water to drink. Analyse the cause of the fever. If it is accompanied by cold and cough, it will pass in three-four days. Avoid constant use of antibiotics for what seems to be viral infection. Observe your child. Lethargy is not a good sign but if he is active, you can relax. If the fever is very high or persists for more than four days, or is recurrent, then consult a child specialist.
My child is not growing in height/ weight.
A child usually loses weight after the first year. That is when he grows in height and not weight. Pudginess gives way to a lean and slim look. Many parents express anxiety when this weight loss happens. But if you look closely, the trouser legs climb up, too! Things are good as long as there is some growth. An energetic child is a healthy child.
My child is not eating.
This is a common occurrence. Parents must encourage the child to participate at meal times. Dont mash the food in a mixer. Let the child pick it off the plate.
My child is constantly coughing.
A cough that refuses to go away could be a sign of asthma. Especially if it is not a stereotypical cough but sounds like an older persons cough. Look out for:
a) The cough worsening at night;
b) Seasonal changes (increases in winter);
c) Perennial running nose, sniffing.