Child Care in the Tropics by G. J. Ebrahim (auth.)

By G. J. Ebrahim (auth.)

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Such deviations from normal have been termed 'danger signals' of the newborn period. It is useful to remember that a particular signal may not mean anything at all in one instance, and in another it may be the sign of serious disease. Take vomiting, for example. Most babies have a tendency to regurgitate feeds which is quite normal and yet, at times, vomiting may also be due to serious illness. The danger signals are mentioned here so that the parents know when to look for medical help. Danger Signals of the Newborn Period FAILURE TO SUCK Some babies are lethargic and do not wish to suck at all, or will suck for a short time and give up.

As milk secretion begins and the breasts become engorged with milk some amount of discomfort and even pain may be experienced by the mother. Emptying of the breasts by regular sucking will soon relieve the pain but in some cases, if the baby is not sucking enough, manual expression or application of a breast pump may become necessary to empty the breasts. Similarly, most mothers feel abdominal cramps during feeding in the early days of delivery. This is because of contraction of the uterus which gradually becomes smaller and returns to normal size, under the stimulus of breast-feeding.

If the weather is too cold the baby's feet can be protected by woollen socks. The first pair of shoes bought for the baby should be made of soft material and with a thin sole so that the shoe can bend easily in any direction and also is not too heavy. The baby's feet grow rapidly like the rest of his body and so one should always check that the shoes have not grown too tight which would cramp the baby's toes. Tight shoes can cause pain and also may lead to deformities of the toes or the feet. As a rough estimate, the shoes are a good fit if one can press half a thumb nail between the baby's toes as felt with the shoes on and the front end of the shoe.

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