Category Archives: Health and Hygiene

When do babies eyes change colour?

My first daughter had deep brown eyes when she was born and to be honest, I was shocked as I was expecting them to be lighter, my second born had the brightest blue eyes. Now, aged 5 and 2 (almost) they both have bluey/green eyes. They obviously changed colour at some point but I can’t remember exactly when. Here is what the experts say:

What determines eye colour?

Eye colour is determined by our genetic make up long before we are born, and whilst you may expect 2 blue eyed parents to have a blue eyed baby, it really isn’t as simple as that. As a rule, the brown eyed gene is the most dominant and this is why children born in Asia are typically brown eyed, we don’t carry just one eye colour gene though. Someone with hazel eyes could have a brown and grey gene whilst someone with blue eyes could have the blue and grey gene. In this instance, it could be possible for your baby to have any of the above mentioned colours, it depends what the dominant gene is. If the brown gene is inherited, your child will most likely have an eye colour that is a shade of brown (hazel for example). If two brown genes are inherited, it is likely your baby will have dark brown eyes.

Why do they change colour?

Caucasian children are usually born with blue eyes, it is only when cells develop and produce melanin that eye colour can be determined (as well as skin and hair colour).

When will I know my baby’s true eye colour?

Most experts are of the opinion that eyes only get darker over time and not lighter, this depends on the levels of melanin being produced (more melanin equates to darker eyes) . Generally speaking, by 12 months you can expect the eye colour your child has will be what he/she has for life (although it is possible for other events such as a trauma to affect eye colour). In some very rare cases your child’s eye colour could change up to the age of 36 months.

My view: Researching information for this post has been very interesting but has also highlighted to me that we still have lots to learn about the role genetics has in determining eye colour. I was surprised to learn it is more likely for 2 brown eyed parents to have a blue eyed baby than it is for 2 blue eyed parents to have a brown eyed baby, in simple terms; as we all carry two eye colour genes and brown is the most dominant, it is unlikely that a blue eyed person will carry the brown gene but, two brown eyed parents could carry the less dominant blue eyed gene. So, what colour eyes will your baby have? Who knows! Let me know if you have been surprised by your baby’s eye colour!

References: eye doctor guide

Help! My baby is a cone head

Following a vaginal delivery it is not unusual for a newborns head to be slightly elongated. In fact, the bones inside your little ones skull are intentionally moveable, without this, it would be almost impossible to give birth naturally.

How long will it last

The elongated or cone shaped head caused by a vaginal delivery usually returns to a traditional head shape after around 48 hours. There is nothing you need to do to encourage this, it happens completely naturally. As well as the bone structure being mobile and allowing the skull to change shape, it may also be that your newborn has some slight swelling on the top of her head, this again is completely normal and is caused by fluids being squeezed towards the scalp during a natural delivery. This too will resolve itself within 48 hours.

What if it lasts longer than 48 hours

If after 48 hours you notice some lumps on the top of your baby’s skull, it may be that a collection of blood is present between your baby’s skull and the lining. This is known as cephalohematoma. It usually presents itself on day two and lasts for around 3 months, it isn’t something that needs to be treated or anything to worry about but is always worth mentioning to your health visitor, even if it’s just for additional reassurance.

My opinion: Whilst pregnant you are more than likely imagining a beautiful looking, perfect little boy or girl and it can be a shock when you see a bruised, bloody, cone head baby in front of you. Do not worry as this is completely normal, if you are concerned what people think then you should remind yourself that anyone who has given birth will not only know this is temporary but will probably have expected your newborn to look like this. Your baby is amazing and perfect and beautiful.

How to change a disposable nappy

You should change your baby’s nappy as soon as you realise he has a poo. How often you change your little ones wee filled nappy is dependant upon the quality of the nappy and sensitivity of your newborns skin. As a minimum I would recommend before every feed (if feeding every 3-4 hours), and of course as much as required in between feeds, particularly if the nappy looks heavy.

Get organised

Organisation is key. If you have everything in one easy to access place, the whole process will be much quicker and much more military like (I’m talking efficiency – not dropping bombs). You will need:

  • A good supply of nappies
  • Some cotton wall balls and a bowl (to be filled with warm water) or some wet wipes.
  • A changing mat or an old towel
  • Some barrier cream
  • Some spare clothes (particularly in the early days).
  • Some nappy bags
  • A small clean towel (to dry your baby’s bum)
  • Step by step guide

  • Place the changing mat on the floor and gather all the above equipment within arms reach
  • Place your baby on the changing mat and remove the bottom half of his clothes
  • Place your baby’s feet next to each other and gently lift them up with one hand.
  • If your baby has a poo, wipe as much as you can with a clean part of the nappy.
  • Remove the dirty nappy from under him and place out of reach of your baby (hands and feet)
  • Wipe your baby clean with wipes or damp cotton wool; for girls wipe from front to back so you don’t spread germs to her vagina (I prefer to call it her minnie. For boys wipe around his penis (again, willy is my preferred choice of words ) and around his testicles. There is no need to pull the foreskin back
  • Now place the clean nappy under his bum so the flaps with the sticky bits on are under his back but easy to get to.
  • Once he/she is completely clean, dab the bottom area dry if needed and apply a barrier cream. This is to prevent nappy rash
  • Fold the nappy up to his tummy and fasten the sticky tabs on both sides. If your newborn still has an umbilical cord, fold the nappy underneath this.
  • Dress your baby and give him big cuddles.
  • It is recommended you empty poo down the toilet, you should never put a nappy down the toilet, this would be an expensive mistake. Just put it in a nappy bag and throw it in the outside bin!
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    How to burp a baby

    If your baby looks uncomfortable, in pain (such as grimacing or crying) or has stopped feeding unexpectedly and won’t re-start, it could be that she has wind and needs a little helping hand in getting rid of the gas. There are a few ways you can do this, you will probably find that one position is more affective than the others.

    4 Ways to burp your your baby

  • Over your shoulder: Firstly, place a muslin or something similar over your shoulder, lift your baby so his head is resting on your shoulder, support his head and neck so he doesn’t fall backwards, gently pat his back (very softly) or rub patiently in a circular motion. There is no need to bounce or rock your baby at all. In fact, standing still is much better! Once your little one burps, look him in the eyes and give him a big smile and a kiss.
  • Sitting upright: You need to be seated comfortably for this position. Sit your baby on your lap and support his head and neck so he is leaning forwards slightly, with your other hand gently rub his back in circular motions, the pressure on his tummy from being seated and your gentle rubbing of his back will encourage any trapped air to make its way out.
  • Over your lap: Some babies find it easier to burp when lying flat. An easy, safe way of doing this is to lie your little one on your lap, ensure her head is supported and gently pay her back it rub in a circular motion. You may find she lifts her head when burping, again, plenty of smiles and kisses are always well received after a big burp.
  • Across your forearm (newborns only): This is a fantastic position if your newborn seems particularly uncomfortable or if she suffers from colic. Slowly and carefully place your newborn onto your forearm with her head in the palm of your hand. Her legs and arms should be free to dangle and her stomach should be flat against your arm. Place your free hand on her back to ensure she is safe and won’t slip off. If you are doing this for the first time, it may be safer to try it whilst sitting on a bed. There is no need to pat or rub whilst in this position, don’t do it if your baby is too heavy, too big or too wriggly for you!
  • A little tip; If you feel your baby is uncomfortable but am unable to burp him, it may be that he needs to release some air/gas from the other end. Try lying him flat on his back and gently bending his knees up towards his tummy, hold them there for a few seconds and bring then back down again. After doing this a few times you can also try rubbing his tummy in a clockwise, circular motion, this helps the digestive system and can help to alleviate minor constipation issues.

    Why is my newborn crying?

    Crying is the only way a newborn can communicate with you. If your little one is crying, she is trying to tell you something important. My advise is to not ignore her, tend to her needs and let her know that you are there for her. Imagine if the only thing you knew was a safe, warm place and then all of a sudden that secure world has been ripped away. Now there are bright lights, lots of different people, loud noises, bodily functions and hunger pains. Sometimes your little one will be crying because she simply needs reassuring and needs to feel safe. Sometimes what your baby needs is obvious, sometimes it is a bit of a guessing game. Overtime you will get used to your baby’s cry and what it means. For starters, here is a list of the possibilities that you may need to explore:

    12 reasons your baby may be crying

    • Hungry
    • Dirty nappy
    • Tired
    • Needs to be burped
    • Needs to be comforted and feel secure
    • Is too hot
    • Is too cold
    • Is having tummy troubles
    • Is bored and needs stimulating/attention
    • Is over stimulated and needs a rest
    • Is teething (generally from around 6 months)
    • Is not feeling very well/ has a temperature
    • Is uncomfortable in her clothing

    This list is not exhaustive and never will be, let me know in the comments section how you soothe your little one and how you recognise his/her different cries.