Coming home from the hospital

Bringing baby home can be stressful for parents as they are suddenly completely responsible, without nurses and hospital staff around to assist. What are the main things that parents struggle with once they are home and what is your advice?

Dru Campbell says: “Many new parents feel a mixture of feelings when they bring their baby home for the first time. It is a very exciting time, however it can also be very overwhelming. Remember that babies have three major requirements – to be fed, kept warm and to be loved.

“Babies also feed frequently and between eight and twelve times in twenty four hours is normal, especially if breastfeeding. Nights can be busy and long, as it is normal for babies to feed frequently at night time. Therefore it is very important to get as much rest as you can during the day as possible.

“I would recommend seeing a paediatrician within the first week of coming home from hospital to check that your baby is well and healthy. Well Baby Clinic’s are important too as they assist health professionals to monitor you. At Health Bay Clinic, your first appointment will be for one hour with a midwife. The follow up appointments are 30 minutes long. Baby Clinic’s will provide support and assistance with breastfeeding and infant feeding. We also measure your baby to ensure he/she is growing well and make sure that vaccinations are administered as required.

“It can be challenging to understand why your baby may be crying. Remember that babies cry because they are communicating something with you. Your baby may be hungry, but can also cry if he/she requires a nappy change, is too hot or cold, has ‘wind’ pain, or simply needs nurturing. Remember that having a new baby is a major life change for new parents. All parents will go through a period of adjustment.”

Fever rules

If my newborn has a fever, at what point should I take her to a doctor?

Dr Hoda Makkawi says: “If your newborn baby is not his or her usual self, for instance, if he or she is not playful, not eating well, sleepy and fussy, then I would always recommend you visit your doctor. A good indication is whether they are eating enough – a newborn will generally feed six to eight times per day. The baby should have a healthy colour, be awake and be readily asking to be fed. Within the first 48 hours, the baby should wet two or three nappies, with wet nappies becoming more frequent in the following days and weeks.”

New sleep issues

The books say the temperature in a baby’s room should be 18 degrees but I find this chilly.

Zoe Cresswell says: “For most people 18 degrees does feel very cool. I recommend having the AC set to a temperature that you are comfortable with and then adding an extra layer to your baby. For example, they may sleep in a vest, baby gro and light tog sleeping bag (0.5 to 1). When they wake in the night, check they don’t feel too hot and adjust their clothing accordingly. Try not to get into the habit of regularly checking their temperature with a thermometer. Place the back of your hand on her chest, or the back of her neck, to feel how hot she is instead. Don’t use her hands or feet as a temperature gauge as extremities are generally cooler. Try and place her crib in an area of the room that isn’t in the direct line of AC vent so she hasn’t got a constant draft blowing on her.”

Can I take medicine when I am pregnant?

I’m six months pregnant and getting really bad headaches – am I allowed to take medicine?

Dr Elsa Menezes says: “Here are my five golden rules for staying healthy during pregnancy.

1 Generally, you should not take any medicines when pregnant unless necessary.

2 Always check with your doctor before taking any medicines, supplements or other remedies – especially during the first trimester – and ensure you make health professionals aware you are pregnant before they prescribe you anything.

3 Remember ‘natural’ doesn’t always mean ‘safe’. Some strong medications are sourced from plants! Most herbal preparations and supplements, for instance, have not been proven to be safe during pregnancy.

4 If you want use complementary therapies, always consult a qualified practitioner. Tell them you’re pregnant before discussing any treatment.

5 If your symptoms worsen or persist, go see your doctor for a check-up to rule out anything more serious.

Expert panel

Dr Elsa Menezes Dubai-based OBGYN who has her own clinic – drelsa.net
Zoe Cresswell Midwife and personal trainer – visit lahafitness.com
Dru Campbell Lactation consultant and midwife (antenatalclassesdubai@gmail.com)
Dr Hoda Makkawi Consultant of family medicine at EuroMed Clinic (www.euromedclinicdubai.com)