Category Archives: Health and Hygiene

My Baby Has a Temperature

It has been identified that many parents tend to worry too much when they discover a high temperature in their little ones. It is important to keep in mind that fever itself is not a life threatening illness but you do need to know what temperatute is normal, what is considered high, how to take an accurate reading and what action to take.

What is the average baby temperature?

The average temperature of a baby is around 36.4C (97.5F) but this does vary slightly from child to child. it is considered a fever/high temperature if yoir childs temperature is above 37.5C (99.5F).

How to determine whether your baby has fever or not?

There are several methods available to take an accurate temperature reading. 

Ear – Turn the thermometer on – ensure you have read and understood the instructions and directions for use. Gently place the thermometer into your child’s ear, there is usually an audible indicator so you know when you can remove it. The digital display will display the reading and most have a memory option. This is suitable for children over 6 months of age. 

Under the tongue– You will need to place the thermometer under the tongue of your little one. You should ask your child to keep his/her lips closed until you finish taking the measurement. This is more suitable for slightly older children who are able to understand and follow instructions. Recommended age is 4 ears or over.

Rectal – In order to take a rectal temperature measurement, you can keep the belly of your baby on the lap. Then you can get a thermometer, apply some Vaseline on its tip and insert into the rectum of your baby. It is important to hold the thermometer with your hand until it gives a beep sound. This is most suitable for babies aged 0-6 months. 

When should I contact a doctor?

You should contact a doctor immediately in the following circumstances;

  • You have taken a rectal temperature reading of your baby who is 3 months or younger and has a temperature reading of 38 C (100.4 F) or higher.
  • Your baby is aged 3 to 6 months, is irritable, lethargic or unusually unsettled/uncomfortable and has a temperature of up to 38.9 C (102 F) or simply, if he/she has a temperature higher than 38.9 C (102 F)
  • Your baby is aged 6 months to 2 years and has an unexplained temperature higher than 38.9 C (102 F) for more than one day. If however, there is a sign of illness you may want to contact your doctor sooner depending on the severity of the illness (ie cough, vonitting, diarrhoea).

What else can I do to help?

When you discover a high temperature in your baby, you should take necessary measures to make him/her comfortable by removing clothing. Clothes have the ability to insulate heat within the body of your little one, therefore, removing clothes has the ability to reduce the temperature and make your little one feel a bit more comfortable. You can also think about making him/her wear clothes that are made out of cotton as they facilitate more airflow. You can also think about bathing your baby when he/she has fever. However, you should only use lukewarm water and should stay away from cold water. You need to keep in mind that young babies do not have the ability to control their temperature. 

What else do I need to know?

Fever can result in dehydration; you should let your baby drink more fluids instead of solid food. Breastmilk or water would be ideal.

If you keep these facts in mind and seek medical advice if you are concerned then your child will be well looked after – no matter what it is that is causing the temperature.

Some teething tips you may never have considered

When your baby is teething you will try anything and everything to try to relieve the pain for your little one. If you have tried everything you can think of then you may want to try out one or more of the suggestions below. 

  • A peeled cold carrot ~ Should be as long as his hand, baby carrots are too small.A pickle pop ~ Sounds gross, but some babies LOVE them. Due to the acidity, it’s best for babies over 1 year old.
  • A frozen cheese stick
  • Slices of cold peaches in a feeding teether
  • A cold cucumber slice
  • Bagel slices ~ Microwave it for 30 seconds and then let it completely cool down, it will be as hard as a rock.
  • Barley water and strawberry popsicles ~ Did you know barley water is a natural anti-inflammatory that can help those swollen painful gums? Grab the recipe at Small Fry.
  • Momsicles ~ Freeze your breastmilk in cubes and put in a teething feeder, or freeze around a pacifier in a cube tray.
  • Cold celery sticks ~ Did you know celery is a natural pain killer?
  • A frozen banana wrapped in a towel
  • Frozen pineapple in a teething feeder ~ Pineapple is also an anti-inflammatory with the extra ascorbic acid your baby needs to help soften the gum tissue and help the tooth break through faster!
  • Diluted chamomile tea frozen and placed in teething feeder or tied inside a washcloth for gnawing. 
  • Rub a slice of peeled ginger root on your baby’s gums
  • Breastmilk slushi
  • Fruit juice slushie ~ If your baby is struggling with constipation, try a slushie made from apple and prune juices!
  • Ground cloves and allspice mixed with water (or unsalted butter) to form a gum paste ~ Try this on yourself first, to make sure it’s not so strong it burns.
  • Homemade teething biscuits ~ This recipe at Sweet Treats & More is really simple, really healthy, and really effective. (Really.)
  • A cold whole pickle (dill or sweet gerkins)
  • A scallion ~ Cut the green part off a green onion, lightly salt the white part and let your baby gnaw on it like a 4-inch stick.
  • Pure vanilla extract (not imitation) ~ Put a little on a Q-tip and spread on sore gums.
  • Tahini spread ~ A sesame seed paste that resembles peanut butter, but without any nuts! A little on the gums goes a long way. (Btw, a healthy substitute for sandwiches!)
  • Frozen waffle
  • Olive oil on the gums
  • Ginger paste ~ Ground ginger mixed with water, formula or breastmilk until it forms a gum paste.
  • Nonpeppered thick beef jerky ~ Make sure the pieces are so large they can’t put it in their mouth! Use with caution!
  • Breastmilk ~ Normally, I encouraged moms not to nurse to sleep for older babies…but in this case NURSE AWAY.
  • A frozen upside down bottle ~ Fill it with breastmilk, formula, juice, etc. tip it upside down and freeze it for a perfectly safe ice cube to gnaw on!

This post was originally posted at incredible infant. check it out sometime!

When can I take my baby swimming?

The simple answer to this question is: as soon as you want to. You may have heard or been told you have to wait until after your child has been vaccinated, some leisure centres may still use this guidance but the advice dates back to when the vaccinations were first introduced (as polio was very common).

The Department of Health has since stated you can take your baby swimming from a very young age and there is no need to wait until he/she has been vaccinated. There have been no cases of natural polio infection in the UK since 1984 and the vaccinations that contained a live virus (which in very extreme and rare cases were thought to have caused polio) were stopped in 2004.

Most baby swimming lessons start from around 6 weeks old, the idea of these lessons is generally to help you to be confident in the water with your baby. If your baby feels safe, he will be happy in the water from any age, as long as the introduction to water and swimming is an enjoyable experience. There is no rush to take your child swimming for the first time. Experts at the ASA and many paediatricians recommend babies start swimming at around six months old. There are other ways of introducing your child to water and increasing water confidence before his first swimming experience; during bath time ensure you keep it relatively short so he doesn’t get too cold and smile and keep eye contact, keep it playful and fun and encourage him to splash.

When you take him swimming on your own for the first time, try and do it at a time when the pool is less likely to be busy and your little one isn’t going to be hungry or too tired. Remember to stay calm, be confident, keep good eye contact and smile lots and lots. You will both have a great time. As your child gets older you may then want to consider lessons to improve technique.

Resources:
NHS, swimming.org

How to massage your baby’s legs, tummy, chest, arms, head and back

A complete guide for massaging every part of your baby’s body. If You want to massage your baby but don’t really know where to start then fear not; baby massage is made easy with these simple steps:

Create a calm, relaxing environment

  • Choose a time when your baby is content and alert, not tired or hungry.
  • Try sitting on the floor, bed or sofa, with your baby safely on a towel in front of you.
  • Find a position that’s comfortable, gives you good eye contact with no overhead lights and where your baby is warm.
  • It’s up to you whether your baby is nappy-free, but it can help to at least loosen the nappy when massaging the tummy.
  • There are lots of lovely baby massage oils on the market but any plain, vegetable based oil, such as sunflower oil, is perfectly adequate.
  • Your baby may end up ingesting some oil, so you really want to make sure it is safe (petroleum-based oils or oils containing nuts aren’t recommended).
  • You may like to introduce a massage after bath and before bed as part of a bedtime wind-down.
  • Getting started

    Before beginning, ‘ask permission’ by rubbing a little oil between your hands over your baby, and saying ‘can I give you a massage?’ This may sound a little crazy but your baby will become familiar with this visual and audible cue and know that massage is about to start.

    It’s great to massage the whole of your baby’s body using a range of techniques:

    Legs and feet

    1. Carefully hold one of your baby’s legs between the palm of your hands, then gently but securely hold your baby’s ankle and support the weight of the leg.
    2. With your other hand, mould it around the top of your baby’s thigh and then slide it down towards the ankle. The action is similar to milking a cow!
    3. Once you have massaged one leg, swap and massage the next. Soft, flowing strokes are best and it is important to always keep the ankle supported.
    4. The next step is to massage your little ones foot. Support your baby’s foot in two hands and with your thumbs, stroke over the sole of her feet from the bottom of her heels to her toes.
    5. Repeat over and over alternating your thumbs.
    6. The top of the foot can be massaged by gently squeezing her toes between your thumb and forefinger and giving them a little wiggle and applying gentle pressure with the pads of your fingers all around her foot.
    7. Finish by rubbing her feet softly and then repeating the leg massage in the opposite direction. (This time from ankle to thigh).

    Tummy

    1. Remove or loosen his nappy.
    2. Place your handly softly on the base of his rib cage at a 45 degree angle (so your little finger is in contact with him), slowly brush your hand downwards towards the bottom if his tummy as if your hand were an awe on a rowing boat. Hold your hand so your pinky’s edge can move like a paddle across your baby’s belly. Repeat these strokes using both hands in a continuous wheel like movement.
    3. With your finger tips, massage her tummy in circular clockwise movements.
    4. Trace “I Love U” with your fingers: Write the letter ‘I’ down your baby’s left side. Then trace an inverted ‘L’, stroking across the belly along the base of her ribs from her right side to her left and down. Trace an inverted ‘U’, stroking from low on the baby’s right side, up and around the navel, and down the left side.
    5. Walk your fingers around his navel in a clockwise direction.
    6. Hold knees and feet together and gently press knees up toward her abdomen.
    7. Rotate baby’s hips around a few times to the right. (This often helps expel gas.)
    8. Place your hand on his tummy horizontally and rock your hand from side to side a few times. Note: Avoid massaging tummy if the cord hasn’t completely healed.

    Head and Face

    1. Cradle your baby’s head in both of your hands, massage her scalp with your fingertips, as if you’re shampooing. (Avoid the fontanel, the soft spot on top of baby’s head.)
    2. Massage her ears between your thumb and index finger.
    3. Trace a heart shape on her face, bringing your hands together at the chin.
    4. Place your thumbs between your baby’s eyebrows, and stroke out.
    5. Again with your thumbs, stroke gently out over baby’s closed eyelids.
    6. Stroke from the bridge of the nose out over the cheeks.
    7. Using your fingertips, massage the jaw in a small circular motion.

    Chest

    1. Place both of your hands on your baby’s chest and gently stroke outwards from her sternum to her shoulders.
    2. Beginning at her sternum, trace a heart shape bringing both hands up to her shoulders, then down and back together.
    3. In a crisscross pattern, stroke diagonally from one side of your baby’s hip, up and over the opposite shoulder, and back down to her hip.

    Arms

    1. With one hand, hold your baby’s wrist. Relax her upper arm by tapping it lightly with 2 fingers.
    2. Hold your baby’s wrist with one hand and shape your other hand in a C-shape around baby’s upper arm; stroke from her shoulder down to her wrist.
    3. As though gently wringing a towel, softly stroke down from her shoulder to her wrist with both hands rotating in opposite directions.
    4. Massage her palm by moving your thumbs over and over from the heel of her hand to her fingers.
    5. Stroke down the top of her hand from her wrist to her fingertips. Gently squeeze and pull each finger.
    6. Massage her wrist by moving your fingers in a small circular motion.
    7. To complete, roll her arm between both of your hands

    Back

    1. Place your baby on her tummy horizontally in front of you, or lay her across your outstretched legs. Keep her hands in front of her, not at her sides.
    2. With both of your hands on her back, move each of your hands back and forth (keep them going in opposite directions) from the base of her neck to her buttocks.
    3. Hold your baby’s buttocks with one hand and use the other to stroke down from her neck to her buttocks.
    4. Using your fingertips, massage small circles down one side of baby’s spine and up the other. Avoid pressing directly on her spine.
    5. Gently massage her shoulders with small circular motions.
    6. Massage her buttocks with big circular motions.
    7. Holding your fingers like a rake, stroke down her back.

    You may not want to massage your baby’s whole body every time but massaging her legs, tummy and if she likes it, her head are perfect for a calming routine before bed time. If at anytime during massage your baby becomes upset or falls asleep, you should stop massaging immediately. I hope you found this guide to baby massage useful. Please leave a comment to key me know how baby massage is working out for you and take some time to check out my other posts. Thanks for reading!

    What you need to know about baby massage

    Baby massage has become increasingly popular in western culture over the past 20 years or so. It originated from ancient Indian traditions and is also widely used in Africa. There are said to be benefits for both baby and parents, here you can get all the information you need before you get started.

    What are the benefits?

  • First and foremost it is a fantastic way of strengthening your bond with your baby.
  • It is also a great way for partners and Grandparents etc to bond with your newborn.
  • It can help to alleviate the effects of post natal depression and improve the mother/baby relationship.
  • It can help you to become more confident in handling your baby and recognising his/her needs.
  • It raises levels of the feel good hormone oxytocin in both of you which results in a calmer, content, much more relaxed mother and baby.
  • It helps to relax your baby’s mind and muscles before bedtime.
  • The oil nourishes your little ones skin.
  • It can relieve the symptoms of colic or constipation.
  • A face massage can help to ease a blocked nose or blocked ducts.
  • A massage of the gums through the skin can help with teething pains.
  • When is the best time of day to do it?

    There is no wrong time to massage your child, however, for maximum benefit you should try and gauge your little ones mood. The best time is when he is awake and content, don’t start massaging if he is tired or hungry and stop it and try again later If he is turning his head away or stiffening his muscles. Massaging your child after a feed may cause him to vomit so try and give him approximately 45 mins to an hour to digest his milk/food. Baby massage is fantastic as part of a bedtime routine for newborns and toddlers.

    Does my baby need to be a minimum age?

    There is no minimum age for starting baby massage, however, if your child was premature you should wait until her due date before you begin massaging her.

    What oil should I use?

    There is absolutely no need for expensive baby massage oils. In fact, a plain vegetable oil such as sunflower oil is all you need.

    References:
    mayoclinic, nct