As she sets upon the journey of her life, a newborn baby needs highly aware parents to ensure right building blocks are laid for her growth and development in the first days of life. As we celebrate Newborn Care Week, doctors at Columbia Asia Hospitals, Palam Vihar say lack of right care in the first 100 days of a baby’s life can have long-term implications such as stunted growth or lack of brain development.
In fact, the first 100 days of a child’s life is the critical time window which sets the ball rolling for a person’s intellectual and physical development over the long term. Right nutrition, infection control, breastfeeding and awareness about child behavior are crucial factors to prevent negative health outcomes.
“A baby’s health is sensitive, and must be careful managed, especially during the first 100 days after the child is born. Otherwise, he or she may experience life-long implications from the perspective of overall health and immunity-related issues. In essence, this period is the building block for physical growth, brain development, and strengthening of immune systems,” says Dr. Sanjay Sharma, Consultant – Pediatrics, MBBS, MD (Pediatrics).
The first 100 days of a child’s life are critical to enhance chances of a healthy living throughout the entire life period. Children lack immunity to most infections, and breast-fed babies get crucial antibodies from their mother’s milk. Additionally, immunization is important at the early stage to provide protection from life-threatening diseases. Research has shown that breast-fed babies are less likely to fall ill as compared to formula fed babies because breast milk supplies crucial early anti-bodies to them. At the same time, it minimizes risk of infection from feeding tools. It is therefore important to make efforts to ensure exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months.
“A number of times, we feel that there is nothing wrong in introducing a bottle of formula feed in the initial days. However, in some children a bottle may lead to nipple confusion or nipple preference in which they start preferring the bottle over mother’s milk. To avoid this situation, avoid introducing bottle before at least 3 months. At the same time, it is important to keep a check on whether the baby is receiving enough milk from the mother. If a child is not urinating 4-5 times a day, check with your doctor about the need for supplementation. If need be, feed the baby formula feed with a spoon,” says Dr. Sanjay Sharma, Consultant – Pediatrics, MBBS, MD (Pediatrics).