Hygiene plays a crucial component of a baby's overall care. Practicing a good hygiene is extremely important to keep your baby happy and healthy all the time.

Eight essential hygiene rules for your baby. Here are eight simple good hygiene practices to adopt when you have a baby.

  • Washing your hands with a good antibacterial soap is essential for removing harmful bacteria and germs that cause colds, flu, diarrhea and other infections. Be sure to dry your hands properly and wash your hand towels regularly. It's especially important to wash your hands before feeding your baby, after handling raw food, after changing a nappy or going to the toilet yourself, after touching pets, after touching anything dirty such as dirty nappies, rubbish or food waste.
  • You don't need to clean the house every day from top to bottom with disinfectant, you just need to pay particular attention to the surfaces that are most likely to harbour germs and bacteria. Focus on the areas that have a lot of contact with food, bodies and hands, such as bathrooms, kitchen benches, tables, crockery, cutlery and glassware. You need to be cleaning these properly. Use hot water with detergent for crockery, cutlery and glasses, while kitchens and bathrooms will need a thorough clean with a good disinfectant. Pay particular attention to taps, toilet seats, benches and door handles. Dry surfaces as well if they are not in a well-ventilated area with natural light.
  • Babies love to put things into their mouths, and toys are often the closest thing to hand. Be sure to regularly give your child's toys a clean with a good disinfectant. Wipe hard plastic toys down and make sure you rinse them thoroughly or put plush toys through the washing machine.
  • A good bath is essential for keeping your baby clean and tidy, but you need to make sure you are not over-washing as this is damaging to your baby's sensitive skin. In the first year of your baby's life a full bath is necessary only two or three times a week. Check out our step-by-step guide to bathing your baby.
  • These are three areas that need some special attention. Always keep your baby's nails well-trimmed so that they can't scratch themselves — the best time to trim them is when your baby is asleep. Be sure to use baby-sized nail clippers and not to cut the nails too short as these will hurt your baby.
  • Only wash the outside of your baby's ears, never the inside, and never insert cotton wool buds into your baby's ears. If your baby is unhappy and touching their ears repeatedly, this could be a sign of infection — be sure to get this looked at by a medical professional.
  • Clean any dried mucous from your baby's nose, as this can cause difficulty breathing. Use a damp wash cloth to gently remove the dried mucous. A nasal syringe may be needed to help remove excess mucous, but consult your baby's health practitioner before using one of these.
  • Be sure to keep your baby's eyes clear of any dried mucous. Use damp cotton wool to gently clean their eyes and seek medical attention if you notice your baby's eyes are irritated.

Is my baby dehydrated? Look out for these signs

Is my baby dehydrated? Look out for these signs

You can help prevent your baby from becoming dehydrated by knowing the signs and taking preventive action. By Licia Selepe

The post Is my baby dehydrated? Look out for these signs appeared first on Living and Loving.

Is my baby dehydrated? Look out for these signs

You can help prevent your baby from becoming dehydrated by knowing the signs and taking preventive action. By Licia Selepe

The post Is my baby dehydrated? Look out for these signs appeared first on Living and Loving.

Is my baby dehydrated? Look out for these signs

Dehydration occurs when there is insufficient water in the body. Children’s bodies have a higher water percentage than adults, their metabolic rates are higher and they are at a greater risk of infections that cause vomiting and diarrhoea, which makes them particularly vulnerable to dehydration. They also don’t have the same reserves that an older child or adult has when they lose fluids.

ALSO SEE: How to treat your child’s stomach bug

Know the signs

In infants, dehydration can develop quickly and even become life threatening if not treated properly. Registered paediatric dietician and founder of Nutrition4KIDS Bridget Surtees says that as a parent, it’s important to learn to recognise the following signs of dehydration:

  • Mild dehydration: Fewer wet nappies (babies should have at least five or six wet nappies in a 24-hour period) and slightly dry lips.
  • Moderate dehydration: Dry lips, low blood pressure, increased heart rate, dark strong-smelling urine, irritability, inactivity and fewer wet nappies.
  • Severe dehydration:  Weight loss, cold hands and feet, no urine, rapid breathing, blotchy skin and becoming unconscious. If you think your baby shows signs of serious dehydration, take him to the hospital immediately. He may need to receive liquids through an intravenous (IV) tube until he’s rehydrated.

Be aware of symptoms of dehydration under these circumstances:

  • Fever.  When your baby has a fever, he sweats and water evaporates from his skin as his body tries to cool down. He may also be breathing faster than normal and losing more fluid through exhalation.
  • Overheating. Your baby can easily sweat and lose fluids from being in the sun or being active on a hot day. He can also overheat and sweat from sitting in a stuffy, hot room or because he’s wearing too many layers.
  • Diarrhoea and vomiting. If your baby has a stomach virus, such as gastroenteritis, he will lose fluids through diarrhoea and vomiting. Your baby can’t absorb fluids from his bowels if he has diarrhoea, or keep liquids down if he’s vomiting, which means he can dehydrate quickly.
  • Vomiting Viruses and intestinal infections can lead to vomiting. If your baby is having trouble keeping liquids down, he can easily become dehydrated.

ALSO SEE: 5 newborn health concerns you shouldn’t ignore

Give enough fluids

Bridget says that babies under the age of six months should be breastfed on demand, and according to guidelines if being formula fed. “This should give your baby adequate fluids to keep him hydrated − even in hot climates. Babies under six months of age don’t require water. Milk is enough,” she adds. She further explains that, on average, babies between the ages of seven and 12 months should have a water intake of approximate 0.8ℓ per day. After 12 months, they can be given water as a drink in-between meals and in addition to milk.

ALSO SEE: 5 ways to tell if your baby is getting enough  milk

What about water and juice?

The World Health Organisation recommends that parents do not to give water to babies under six months of age as it can interfere with their ability to absorb nutrients from milk. Breastmilk is more than 80% water, especially the first milk that comes with each feed. This will satisfy your baby’s thirst, continue to protect him from infections, and help him to continue to grow well.

Paediatric dietician Kath Megaw writes in her book Real Food, Healthy, Happy Children that fruit juice is not a fruit substitute. It’s a sugary cool drink and it’s unhealthy for babies and young children. Bridget agrees: “Excessive fruit juice consumption can risk the displacement of breastmilk or infant formula in the infant’s diet. Juices are associated with early childhood tooth decay, malnutrition, gastrointestinal symptoms (diarrhoea, flatulence, abdominal distension) and decreased calcium density in the diet.”
Kath writes that parents should avoid giving young children juices and flavoured milk in favour of water. “Give them water with their meals. Buy novelty ice-cube trays and put sliced lemon, mint or strawberries into their water. Offer your child more water when it’s hot in order to avoid dehydration,” she writes.

ALSO SEE: When can my baby have water, juice and cow’s milk?

There are three important steps to preventing dehydration:

  • Maintain a good hydration routine for your child by making sure she is getting enough fluids.
  • Learn how to ‘read’ your child’s urine for signs of dehydration. Darker, yellow urine is typically a sign of dehydration.
  • Recognise situations when your child may need more fluids than usual.

The post Is my baby dehydrated? Look out for these signs appeared first on Living and Loving.

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