Having a baby for the first time can be as exciting as it can be scary. You have heard or seen what should be done but you are still not sure what and if it should be done lol. So you listen to all others say probably even tried some of the things they say till you get the hang of it. Especially here in Nigeria, it will seem you had the baby for society as they will, invited or not, give you tips on how to take care of your baby and what could be wrong with your baby.

We will be looking at some of these advice and breakdown the myth and the fact

  1. Hiccups

Hiccups are common with newborn babies and can occur at any time due to many reasons. The real cause of hiccups is unknown but it is really no cause for concern.

Myth: Our ‘parents’ will advice to put a white thread on the head of the baby to stop the hiccup. I have always wondered what the white thread will do. This is just a barbaric myth and will not do anything to help stop the hiccups.

Fact: Hiccups though uncomfortable in adults is quite the opposite in babies and is not harmful. To soothe a baby during hiccups and get it to stop, you can do either of the following

  1. Burp your baby especially in-between feeding.  When the stomach fills with air, it may push on the diaphragm, causing spasms. Burping may help prevent hiccups.
  2. Give your baby a pacifier. Sucking on a pacifier may help relax the diaphragm and stop the hiccups
  3. Feed your baby gripe water. Gripe water contains herbs that naturally treats colic and stomach issues
  4. You can also rub your baby’s back and rock gently but do not hit baby’s back or try to shock the baby lol
  • Crying Baby

It is a natural phenomenon for babies to cry a lot during their first week this is mostly because they are trying to get used to the new environment and also to communicate to you.

Myth: Babies cry only because they are hungry so feed them every time they cry

Fact: Babies cry for various reasons, one of them being hunger. However, it is wrong to assume that every time your newborn cries means baby is hungry. Babies could cry because they are

  1. Uncomfortable. Especially with the heat we experience these days. They can also cry when they feel cold.
  2. Baby can also cry because of a soiled diaper
  3. Babies could cry because they want you close
  4. And we all know babies cry a lot from colic (read more) however, when your baby cries uncontrollably and you feel there is something wrong as you can’t soothe baby, then you should see your doctor.
  • Navel Care

After you give birth, your baby’s umbilical cord is clamped and cut close to your baby’s body. It’s a painless procedure. And it leaves an umbilical stump attached to your baby’s belly button.

Myth: Pressing the stump with hot water, using heat from hot lantern, breast milk and/or using a hot balm. These methods can do more harm to your baby than good.

Fact: You can just wipe it dry with treated cotton wool and warm water. You must, however, press the water out of the cotton wool as the area needs to be dry. Water should be body temperature/lukewarm. DO NOT USE ALCOHOL. Ways to care for baby’s stump

  1. Keep the umbilical cord stump clean and dry
  2. Ensure diaper is not covering the stump
  3. Give baby sponge baths and not tub baths
  4. During hot weather, wear baby lose t-shirt and diaper so that air can circulate freely
  5. use chlorhexidine gel available in hospitals and pharmaceutical
  6. NEVER make attempt to cut it off even if it is dangling on a thin thread of skin

Once you notice baby feels pain when you touch the stump or a reddish look or yellowish discharge and foul smell, please consult your doctor immediately

  • Common Cold

Babies are especially vulnerable to the common cold basically because they have yet to develop immunity to many common infections. Within the first year of life, most babies have up to seven colds; more if they’re in child care centers.

Myth: Rub heat balm or camphor oil on the soft spot of baby’s head to help release stuffy nose and quicken the healing process. There is no clinical benefit of using these instead; there is a risk of respiratory damage, seizures, liver damage and even death.

Fact: Treating a newborn’s cold requires especially gentle care but is often not a serious issue. Your baby’s body is learning to protect itself, and the best assistance you can offer is comfort and gentle care during the process. Over the counter drugs do not work and have side effects so it is necessary that you know some home remedies;

  1. Ensure they are hydrated. Give them fluid often
  2. Cleaning out your baby’s nose with a rubber syringe may help your baby breathe easier.
  3. Using a gentle humidifier to moisten the area around the baby’s crib may assist them to breathe better and relieve congestion.
  4. Standing in a steamy bathroom with the hot water running for 10 to 15 minutes may loosen mucus.
  5. It may be best to avoid public places and allow the baby plenty of extra time to rest while they heal.
  6. Any worsening of symptoms should be discussed with a doctor

We know people often have good intentions for us and our babies but we should be able to differentiate the good advice from the bad.

If you have more myths and facts to share, do so in the comment below as we will love to hear more.

Author

Sush is a creative writer with over 15years writing for major forms of marketing comms. She is a mother of 2 and the founder of Momat4ty: advocacy for older motherhood. This was as a result of the findings she had when having her 2nd baby at almost 40years old. The community is to assist older soon to be Moms and Moms find a solace in motherhood. Via information and counseling.

2 Comments

  1. Funmi Fatona Reply

    Thanks Sush! Very insightful to distinguish between the myths and the facts.
    The white thread for hiccups is one that always amazes me!

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