Since having children I’ve realised that being a mum turns you into:
- a walking target for (often dubious and conflicting) unsolicited advice
- the family nurse, managing everything from snot bubbles and head injuries to fevers and poonamis.
As a GP I’m used to common childhood health problems. As a mum however I know most health advice out there just doesn’t work in the real world!
So here are some practical, honest and well practiced #DrMummyTips for common newborn conditions.
- Weepy bellybuttons
Try to make sure the stump doesn’t get too wet, is dried well after baths and that you roll the front of the nappy down to keep the stump exposed so it dries faster and is encouraged to fall off. (A lot of newborn nappies nowadays have a special dip at the front to make space for the stump so that it remains uncovered.)
If the stump has fallen off but the bellybutton is raw looking/weepy/smelly – see your GP.
- Nappy rash
A routine that works quite well for preventing nappy rash is to have nappy free tummy-time before every bath (good for developing neck strength and also prevents your bathroom from being sprayed…) and apply white Metanium regularly.
There is no need to apply a cream at every nappy change but every baby’s bum is different and some are more sensitive than others. (For example, my daughter needed the cream on a regular basis but my son only ever had cream applied at the point that any redness began.)
The trick with Metanium is:
- Use the white one regularly or at the first signs of redness
- Apply a VERY small amount and thinly
- If the bottom is getting increasingly more red – switch to the yellow Metanium. It tends to clear up any nappy rash within a day or two.
If despite this the bottom is getting worse or the skin starts to look raw, see your GP.
- Dry skin
Olive oil really does work. It is a great and natural moisturiser. Dab some cotton wool/your hands in a little oil and massage it over any dry skin.
Once the early weeks are over, E45 or Oilatum are excellent moisturisers and they have great bath products in their range too.
- Cradle cap
Dentinox shampoo works a treat. If you use it for every hair (or bald head!) wash, you are unlikely to get any cradle cap and so won’t be faced with the need to then treat it.
- Gunky eyes
This is usually not because of infection (conjunctivitis) but because their tear ducts are very tiny and don’t drain well, so a gunk builds up in the corner of their eye.
If you are unsure do get your doctor to have a look and then if they confirm it is not infected treatment is to clean the eyes regularly with water-soaked cotton wool and gently massage the tear ducts (either side of the nose).
As your baby grows, so will their tear ducts and this problem typically self-resolves within a matter of months.
For more #DrMummyTips follow me on Twitter @DrMummykins or visit my Facebook page DrMummykinsBlog.
I hope you found this useful! More tips to come in the next issue.
Dr Claudia x
London GP registrar and Muswell Hill mum of 2