All posts by Baby Knowledge

Cradle cap – What you need to know

If you are worried that your baby may have cradle cap, you do not need to worry. It is not anything you are doing that has caused it, it usually clears up on its own, it isn’t contagious, it doesn’t usually cause your baby any discomfort and has no serious long term affects. Please read on for more details:

What is cradle cap?

The medical term for cradle cap is seborrhoeic dermatitis. It is usually found on the scalp of your baby’s head but can also appear on her face, ears, neck and the folds in her skin. It is recognisable by greasy yellow patches on the scalp, red skin on the affected area, scales and flakes and/or yellow crusts on the scalp. It is an extremely common condition and doesn’t usually cause any discomfort.
Does my baby have cradle cap?
If large, greasy, yellow or brown scales are visible on her scalp, then it is likely to be cradle cap. The scales will eventually start to flake which may cause the affected skin to appear red, this could result in some hair loss.

What causes cradle cap?

It is not known exactly what the causes are; however, it is thought that it may be linked to overactive sebaceous glands. Overactive sebaceous glands are present when babies retain some of their mothers’ hormones for several weeks after birth. Sebaceous glands are glands in the skin that produce an oily substance called sebum. The excess sebum that is produced causes old skin cells to stick to the scalp instead of falling off as they would do normally. Research also suggests that babies who get cradle cap often have family members who suffer from asthma or eczema. It is not caused by lack of care or poor hygiene and does not mean you are doing something wrong or not caring for your baby properly.

Is it contagious?

Cradle cap is not contagious and as long as it isn’t causing your baby any discomfort, you can carry on as normal.

Does it have any long term affects?

It is most likely to appear when your baby is under 2 months and tends to last only a few months or so. It usually clears up by the age of 2 but in some cases may last a lot longer. There is a small possibility that a baby who has suffered from cradle cap may also suffer from dandruff when they are older as this is also a form of seborrhoic dermatitis.

How can it be treated?

There is no specific treatment for cradle cap. It usually clears up in its own time. You may want to massage some baby oil, olive oil or petroleum jelly into her scalp before bed, this will help to loosen the crusts of skin. In the morning you can brush her hair with a soft baby brush or a cloth and gently remove any loose flakes of skin. You will then need to wash your baby’s hair again. It is important not to pick at the scales as this could result in your baby getting an infection. Cradle cap treatment shampoos are available from most pharmacies without a prescription; ideally you should take your baby with you to the pharmacist so they can recommend a treatment shampoo that is suitable for both the seriousness of her condition and her age. It is also helpful to get a professional opinion on whether you need to see a GP or not.

Do I need to see a GP?

You should contact your GP about your baby’s cradle cap if any of the following apply:

  • You have been treating your baby’s cradle cap as stated above and there are no signs of improvement.
  • It is causing your baby discomfort such as itching or swelling.
  • It is not limited to your baby’s scalp and is on your baby’s face or body.

 

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Car Seat Buying Guide

Buying a car seat is a huge responsibility and an expensive purchase. My buyers guide talks you through all the information you need and will ultimately help you to make a decision that best suits your needs and most importantly, ensures your little ones safety from birth through to 12 years old.

What safety standards should my U.K car seat have?

All new car seats sold in the UK should conform to either the United Nations ECE regulation R44.03 (or later version of this standard) or ISO 13216 (ISOFIX). This stands for “International Standards Organisation FIX”. ISOFIX is a relatively new standard and is being adopted by car manufacturers to make the fitting of child seats much simpler and safer.

Which car seat is suitable for my child’s age/weight?

The safest way of checking which car seat is suitable for your baby is by having your baby weighed and then looking at car seats that correspond to this. There are mainly 3 different type of car seats for 3 different weight ranges, these are often referred to as ‘groups’ or ‘stages’. You need to ensure your child is in the correct seat for her weight and you are aware of the maximum weight your child can be before progressing to the next ‘group’ or ‘stage’. You should not buy a car seat for your baby to “grow into” and you should never rely solely on the age range most companies offer as a guide. These should be used a guide only.
Below is a guide to your baby’s weight and the type of car seat needed.

Group 0+ car seats – Rearward facing baby seats

  • Minimum weight: new born – maximum weight: 13kg(29lbs)
  • Rearward facing baby seats are the safest way for a child to travel in a car.
  • Baby’s head is far better protected than in any of the forward facing car seats.
  • You should keep your baby in a rearward facing car seat for as long as possible and only progress to a forward facing car seat when your baby is close to the maximum weight permitted for this seat or the crown of your baby’s head is higher than the top of the seat when they are properly fastened in.
  • Something to consider: Also available are combination car seats. These are designed to be rearward facing from birth, forward facing from 9kg and have a maximum permitted weight of 18kg(40lbs) . The disadvantages of this type of car seat is:

  • They are not very portable (rearward facing car seats are usually lightweight, have a carry handle and can be used as part of a travel system so as not to disturb your baby when moving her)
  • They usually need to be forward facing car seats earlier than we would like. (when your child reaches 9kg rather than 13kg).
  • It is much safer to keep your baby in a rearward facing car seat for as long as possible without exceeding the maximum permitted weight. We therefore recommend rearward facing car seats rather than combination car seats.
  • Group 1 car seats – Forward facing car seat

  • Minimum weight: 9kgs(20lbs) – Maximum weight 18kgs(40lbs)
  • A forward facing car seat is the next step in child car safety once your baby has outgrown the rearward facing car seat.
  • There is a slight overlap between the minimum weight allowed on this seat and the maximum weight permitted on the rearward facing car seats to allow for taller babies.
  • The integral harness keep your baby in the safest position in the seat helping to reduce the risk of injury should you be involved in a road traffic accident, they also offer side impact protection.
  • They are less portable than rearward facing car seats and cannot be used as carriers.
  • Once your child is in a group 1 car seat you should keep her in it for as long as possible.
  • Only progress to the next ‘stage’ car seat once your child has reached the maximum permitted weight or the top of her head is higher than the top of the seat when properly secured.
  • Something to consider: Also available is a high back booster with harness car seat that is designed to last your child up until he is approx 12 years old.

  • The minimum weight for these is 9kg(20lb) and maximum weight is 36kg(79lb).
  • This will save you having to buy a high back booster seat once your child reaches 18kg (the maximum weight permitted for standard forward facing seats).
  • If you decide to go for this option car seat, check the side impact protection is not reduced when compared to a traditional group 1 forward facing car seat.
  • Group 2 and 3 – Booster seats

  • Min weight 15kg (33lb) – Max weight 36kg (79lbs) dependant on particular model
  • Once your child has grown out of the forward facing car seat, the nest step is a booster seat.
  • These are traditionally high backed and offer side impact protection
  • The main difference is your child is held in place by the cars fitted seat belt rather than an integral harness.
  • When buying one of these car seats, you should find out how each specific model grows with your child.
  • Some models have adjustable side wings and some can be converted to booster cushions once your child reaches 22kgs.
  • I recommend keeping your child in the high backed car seat for as long as practicable as they offer far greater protection than simple booster cushions.
  • When tightening the seat belt around your child you will need to ensure that the belt goes over her pelvic region (not the stomach) and the diagonal strap goes across her shoulder(not her neck). Always tighten the seat belt as much as possible.
  • When will my baby be ready for a bigger car seat?

    The only time your baby should progress from one stage car seat to the next is if:

  • Your baby exceeds the maximum weight allowed for that particular car seat, or
  • Your baby’s head is higher than the top of the car seat when properly seated and strapped in.
  • You should never put your baby in the next stage car seat just because he has reached a landmark birthday. (ie 12 months, 4 years)
  • Is it ok to buy/use a second hand car seat?

    If you are going to buy one thing new for your baby, make it a car seat. Without knowing the full history of the car seat, it is impossible to be 100% sure if it has ever been involved in an accident, ever been wrongly adjusted, been poorly handled or maintained or even been stored in conditions that could lead to its overall effectiveness being compromised.

    When will my child no longer need a car seat?

    Your child will need a car seat or car booster seat until he is either 12 years of age or 135cm (approx 4ft 5”). After this he will need to wear an adult seat belt.

    Where can I find out if a car seat is suitable for my car?

    Amazon have a returns policy that allow you to return the car seat if after receiving it you discover that it does not fit your car. Most high street retailers will test the car seat in your own car before you buy and also show you how to properly secure it in your car. If a good returns policy or a testing service is not offered or available then I recommend you take your business elsewhere. Mothercare and Halfords both offer this service. It is your responsibility to ensure that the car seat is properly fitted in your car, even if a member of staff has assisted you in fixing it.

    A beginners guide to baby poo

    The look, texture and smell of your baby’s poo will differ depending upon your baby’s age and how he/she is being fed.

    What should my baby’s poo look like?

    A newborns poo is made up of something called meconium. Meconium is a thick, sticky greenish-black substance. It is made up of amniotic fluid, mucus, lanugo (the fine hairs that cover the baby’s body), bile and cells that have been shed from the skin and the intestinal tract.

  • After approximately 4-5 days your baby’s poo will change to a yellow or mustard colour.
  • Breastfed babies poo is runny and doesn’t smell where as formula fed infants poo is firmer, a darker brown and smellier.
  • Some formula milk can turn your baby’s poo more of a dark green. This is completely normal.
  • If you change from breast feeding to bottle feeding, your baby’s poo will change too.
  • How often should my baby poo?

    It is completely normal for a baby to poo at around every feed time just as it is normal to go a few days without any bowel movement. There really is no hard and fast rule. As long as your baby’s poos are soft, there is no need for you to worry about constipation. The same can be said if your little one seems to be struggling, or even in pain when he poos, as long as the poo is soft, this is a good sign that he is not constipated.

    If your baby is under 8 weeks old and hasn’t had any bowel movement for 2-3 days, you should discuss this with your midwife, health visitor or GP. If your baby isn’t following the same weigh centile as logged in your baby’s red book (ie gaining weight too slowly) then you should make contact with one of the above mentioned medical professionals as soon as possible; your baby should be gaining weight and having both wet and dirty nappies.

    What if my baby’s poo changes colour or the texture is different?

    Poo will and can vary from day to day or week to week. You should contact your GP if you notice that your baby’s poo has become very watery or harder, particularly if blood is present, if it is extremely smelly or if it is a pale colour as this may be a sign of jaundice. If you are worried for any reason about your newborns poo or have any other health concerns you should always speak to your health visitor or GP.

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    Bathing a newborn

    Bathing a newborn baby for the first time is something all parents feel a little nervous about. This step by step guide to is here to help.

    You will need 2 clean dry towels, a baby bath tub, a baby bath thermometer, a mild baby shampoo if you wish and the usual baby changing equipment.

    Bathing a newborn – step by step

  • Safety should always be your priority and you should not allow yourself to become distracted at any time.
  • Ensure the room is warm and that there are no draughts.
  • Rinse out the bath tub and fill it with warm (but not hot) water.
  • If you are not using a mixer tap to fill the bath then you should always pour the cold water in first. Once you have mixed in the hot water, swish it about to avoid any hot spots.
  • Check the temperature of the water by dipping your elbow into it or by pouring some water over your wrist. You may also want to use a baby bath thermometer.
  • Place a clean towel near the bath to use later.
  • Now it is time to prepare your baby for bath time.
  • You will firstly need to top and tail your new born in the usual way, once you have cleaned her bottom, leave her naked, wrap her in a dry towel and take her to the room where you are going to bathe her.
  • If you you are going to wash her hair, you should do so before she is in the bath. You can choose to use plain water or a mild baby shampoo.
  • Hair should be rinsed over the baby bath if needed and dry carefully and thoroughly.
  • Position your baby in your arms in a way that you will comfortably be able to hold her in the baby bath. Your strongest arm should be around the back of her neck, supporting her head and your hand should be under the armpit that is furthest from you so that you can support her weight.
  • Lower your newborn slowly and gently into the baby bath keeping her head clear of the water at all times.
  • Use your spare hand to gently trickle water over your little ones body.
  • Be enthusiastic; talk and smile continuously.
  • Never leave your baby alone in the bath, not even for a second.
  • Carefully lift your her out of the bath, be aware that baby’s skin may be very slippery. Wrap in a clean towel and gently pat her dry, pay special attention to the creases of her skin.
  • Now is a good time to massage your newborn, particularly if it is bed time.
  • Give your baby big cuddles to keep warm and yourself a big pat on the back for bathing your newborn baby for the first time!
  • When do Babies Smile?

    Most babies delight their parents with their first real smile at around 4 to 6 weeks, although it has been known for some to wait until around 8 or 10 weeks, if you have already seen your baby smile before this age I would expect that it was probably wind and not a social smile. If you are still waiting for your baby’s first smile, try these following tips:

    How can I encourage my baby to smile?

    You can’t make your baby smile before she is ready, however you can help to encourage your baby to smile. After all, a smile is a sign of happiness, of your baby feeling content and wanting to socialise with you. From the day your baby is born you should talk to her, look her in the eyes and smile at her- this interaction is vital as it shows your baby she is important to you, helps to boost her self esteem and allows her to view your facial expressions and attempt to mimic them. Babies always respond positively to interaction, however, she will be more responsive when she is calm, relaxed and not hungry or tired:

  • Ensure your baby doesn’t need changing, isn’t hungry and isn’t tired
  • Hold your baby up under her arms so that you are facing each other approximately 30cm (12 inches) away
  • Look her in the eyes and just gaze softly into her eyes – take your time
  • Mimic her expressions for a minute or two
  • If your baby seems agitated, put her down and try again later – she will get used to it
  • Once you have mimicked her expression and held her gaze for around a minute or two – smile your biggest smile, if you find it hard to keep your smile going, it helps to nod your head and say “yes” or other positive words.
  • If your little one is babbling whilst you’re doing this, allow her to talk and respond to her when she has finished what she has to say
  • This interaction will boost social skills and confidence.
  • If your cheeky little monkey isn’t smiling yet – she will be very soon.
  • What does my baby’s smile mean?

    First and formeost it means that she is happy, happy because this amazing new world around is starting to make sense. She is realising the importance of socialising and is starting to figure out this very human trait, she has realised that by smiling she gets attention and that by smiling back at you she maintains your attention. It is also a sign that your baby’s brain development and communicaiton skills are on track. If you are concerned that you haven’t seen a smile yet and feel as though you should have (after reading this post or other information), we recommend you speak to your health visitor or GP who will be able to assess your individual child.

    I hope this post helped you to understand when your baby will smile, how you can encourage it and what his/her smile means. If you enjoyed reading this, please share it with your friends. I would appreciate that.