Baby will inevitably get sick; the average is 6-12 times in baby’s first year. Hand washing (for 20 seconds with soap) is the easiest and most effective way to keep germs away, especially before/after diaper change and food preparation. You should also regularly wash baby toys in warm soapy water. Here are five other important things you can do to keep baby healthy and safe:

  1. Fully immunize baby to avoid life-threatening illnesses.
  2. Breastfeed as this protects your baby from many illnesses.
  3. Always practice safe sleeping.
  4. Check diaper output to be sure baby is getting enough milk.
  5. Stay calm or step away; we show you ways to calm persistent crying.

When to seek medical attention

When should your baby get urgent care?

Call your baby’s doctor or get to the hospital right away if your baby:

  • Has blood in her vomit or stool.
  • Has trouble breathing, breathes really fast (more than 60 breaths in a minute), or has a blue tint around the nose, lips, fingernails or skin.
  • Has a seizure. When a person has a seizure, his whole body or parts of his body move uncontrollably. Sometimes the person stops breathing.
  • Has eaten something like detergent, soap, bleach or bug killer that causes vomiting, diarrhea or trouble breathing.
  • Is hard to wake up or is unusually tired.
  • Has a rectal temperature above 38C or below 36.5C.
  • Is injured and doesn’t stop bleeding.
  • Has one or more apnea episodes. Apnea is an interruption of breathing for a short period of time.
  • Has yellowish skin or eyes.

When can your baby get care during regular office hours?

Call your baby's health care provider during regular office hours if your baby:

  • Is eating less than usual or shows other changes in appetite.
  • Is regularly crying, irritable or unable to be comforted.
  • Has frequent diarrhea. This can be hard to notice in breastfed babies as they usually have soft stools. Contact baby’s doctor if your baby's stools are especially soft or watery for 6-8 diaper changes.
  • Is constipated and doesn't have any stools.
  • Vomits (more than just spit up) more than 2-3 times a day.
  • Has a cold that doesn't improve or gets worse after a few days.
  • Has a rash.
  • Has fewer than six wet diapers in 24 hours. This can be a sign of dehydration. Other signs of dehydration include sunken eyes, sunken soft spot (called the fontanel) on the baby's head, or lack of tears when crying.
  • Has fluid draining from her ears.
  • Has a tender navel or penis. Look for any redness, bleeding or pus in these areas.
  • Is paler than usual.
  • Is less active than usual.

Sneezing and hiccups occur frequently in the first weeks of a baby’s life. They are not a sign of illness but a normal reflex for babies to clear congestion or airborne particles.

Teething

Courtesy of March of Dimes, http://www.marchofdimes.org/baby/teething.aspx

Your baby’s first tooth is an exciting milestone! Most babies get their first tooth when they’re around 6 months old. But teething can start as early as 3 months. Teething is when your baby’s teeth come through the gums for the first time. The two front teeth on top or bottom usually come in first. Most children have all 20 of their baby teeth by time they are 3 years old.

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What are signs and symptoms that your baby is teething?

Some babies have no trouble with teething. Other babies may feel pain for a short time. And others may be fussy for weeks because of teething pain. Signs and symptoms of teething include:

  • Being cranky.
  • Chewing on something hard.
  • Crying.
  • Drooling.
  • Fever with temperature less than 38.5C.
  • Stomach ache.
  • Swollen gums or gums that hurt when they’re touched.
  • Call your baby’s doctor if she seems sick, seems to be in constant pain, or has a temperature higher than 38.5C. These signs may mean that something else is wrong.

How can you help your baby feel better during teething?

To help your baby feel better:

  • Give her something to chew on, like a rubber teething ring, a cold spoon or a cold washcloth. Chewing on these things can help ease pain. Clean these items to avoid infection. Some parents find that a chilled teething ring lessens their baby’s pain. If you chill your baby’s teething ring in the freezer, take it out when it’s cold but before it becomes really hard. A frozen solid teething ring can hurt a baby’s tender gums.
  • Rub her gums with a clean finger to help with the pain. But don’t give your baby any pain medicines and don’t rub any medicines or alcohol on her gums. Some medicines can harm your baby if she swallows too much. Other medicines wash out of the mouth before they can help with pain.
  • Wash any drool off her face to avoid development of a rash.

How to ensure good dental health for baby

Babies can have dental health problems like tooth decay, toothache or tooth loss. Around 10% of 2-year olds have one or more cavities, and nearly 50% have some cavities by age 5. So it is important to start caring for your baby’s gums and teeth. Here’s how:

  • Feed your baby only breastmilk for at least 6 months. Don’t give your baby a bottle with sugar water, juice or soda.
  • Clean your baby’s gums after every feeding using a wet washcloth or water on a baby toothbrush with soft bristles.
  • Wash your baby’s pacifier with water only and keep it clean. Don’t clean the pacifier with your mouth. Never dip the pacifier in sugar or honey.
  • Don’t put your baby to sleep with a bottle. Let your baby finish feeding before bedtime or naptime. This can help prevent baby bottle tooth decay.
  • When your baby starts eating solid food, feed her healthy meals, limit the amount of fruit juices (water is better) and only at mealtimes only.
  • Brush your baby’s teeth twice each day, as soon as the first tooth comes in.
  • Take your baby to the dentist when she gets her first tooth, or by her first birthday and thereafter every 6 months.
  • Teach your baby to drink from a cup by his first birthday. Children should stop bottle-feeding at 12 to 14 months of age.

Immunization and baby check-up guidelines

It is very important you take your baby for immunizations and check-ups. Watching your baby get immunizations can be hard for mothers, but don’t worry, she may be uncomfortable for a minute, but these shots help protect her from serious childhood diseases and keep her healthy.

Immunization Schedule

In the first year of life, your baby gets several immunizations, or vaccines, to protect her from life-threatening illnesses. Following is the immunization schedule in Kosovo.

Vaccine

Birth

mths

mths

mths

12 mths

6-7 yrs

11-12 yrs

17-18 yrs

BCG

Prevents tuberculosis

1st

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HepB

Prevents Hepatitis B

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

 

 

 

 

DPT

Prevents diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus

 

1st

2nd

3rd

 

 

 

 

Hib

Prevents haemophilus influenza type b

 

1st

2nd

3rd

 

 

 

 

IPV

Prevents polio, administered by injection

 

1st

2nd

3rd

 

 

 

 

DPTr

Prevents diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus  (booster/repeat)

 

 

 

 

1st

 

 

 

OPVr

Prevents polio, administered by mouth (booster/repeat)

 

 

 

 

1st

2nd

3rd

 

MMRv

Prevents measles, mumps, rubella and varicella

 

 

 

 

1st

 

 

 

MMRr

Prevents measles, mumps, rubella (booster/repeat)

 

 

 

 

 

1st

 

 

DT

Prevents diphtheria and tetanus

 

 

 

 

 

1st

 

 

Td

Prevents diphtheria and tetanus (booster/repeat)

 

 

 

 

 

 

1st

2nd

Source: Ministry of Health and National Institute of Public Health of Kosovo

Most babies don’t have side effects from vaccines. If they do, they usually aren't serious. Some vaccines may cause low fever, a rash or soreness at the spot where the shot was given. Although your baby may seem like he’s getting sick after a vaccination, these reactions are good signs that his immune system is working and learning to fight off infections. In rare cases, a baby may have a serious allergic reaction to a vaccine. If you think your baby might have a reaction, call your baby’s doctor immediately. Vaccinations do not cause autism, and this has been proven be many scientific studies. If you have any questions about the risks of vaccinations, talk to your baby’s doctor.

Baby Check-up Schedule

Even when things are going well, regular checkups during can keep your baby happy and healthy. During well-baby visits, you find out about your baby's growth, weight gain, health and vaccinations, as well as whether your baby is meeting normal development goals. The typical schedule for visits in Kosovo during your child’s first two years is:

Visit #1

3-5 days

Visit #2

1 month

Visit #3

2 months

Visit #4

4 months

Visit #5

6 months

Visit #6

9 months

Visit #7

12 months

Visit #8

15 months

Visit #9

18 months

Visit #10

24 months

Common parts of any well-baby checkup are:

  • Charting growth: the doctor will measure baby’s weight, length, and head measurements and plot them on a chart (see below). You can use this to see how your baby's growth compares to others at the same age.
  • Physical examination: a thorough physical exam, from head to toe, is done. The doctor will look for signs that your baby is healthy and meeting normal physical development goals.
  • General development: the doctor will check to make sure your baby is meeting the goals for motor skills and emotional development.
  • Nutrition: the doctor will give you advice about breastfeeding, vitamins and other nutritional issues. As your baby grows, you'll be asked questions about foods your baby eats.
  • General discussion: The provider will also want to tell you what to expect in your baby's growth during the coming months. Be sure to ask any questions you have during the visit, no matter how small. Don't be afraid to talk about it if you are feeling run-down, stressed, or depressed.
  • Lab tests: these are not usually needed at these visits, but your baby may be tested for anemia (low blood iron) with a simple finger-prick test.
  • Vaccinations: At different ages, your baby will need different types of vaccinations during these visits.
Courtesy of March of Dimes

Growth charts for girls and boys

Following are the World Health Organization’s growth charts under two years of age:

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Category: Health and Safety

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