Keeping your new bundle safe + CPR tips
Guest author Heidi Young, RN (Dip.H.E.) Paediatric Nursing & Clinical Nurse Specialist (Allergy), shares her expert tips.
It’s amazing, isnt it? That overwhelming feeling of becoming a mother, maybe for the first time or maybe for the third, but it still feels the same every time….
Now you are responsible for this little life and it blows your mind, just a little bit!
Well in this article, I want to put your mind at rest with some practical tips and advice when it comes to keeping your new bundle safe and sound, and what to expect, because they can be full of surprises!
The Snuffles & Sneezes
Newborn babies are often quite snuffly and sneezy in the first few weeks, but the sneezing is just their way of clearing all the mucus, fluff and sometimes milk that is accumulating and absolutely nothing to worry about, unless they are showing other signs of it being a cold like a persistent cough or a runny nose.
Your newborn’s breathing may be very irregular at the beginning. they can breath rapidly and then stop for a while or they may breath very shallow too, all this is quite normal for a newborn. Even as a seasoned childrens nurse of 17 years, counting a newborn babies respirations is always a challenge!
When your child develops a fever, which is when their temperature rises above 38 degrees, it is a normal response to infection, because the newborn babies body is already a clever little machine.
Many virus & bacteria struggle to breed at a high temperature, so our bodies turn up the heat to kill off the infection.
So lowering your child’s fever can actually prolong an illness, however if your child is uncomfortable or has some pain, they may benefit from some pain relief.
If your child is under 3 months old and has a fever above 38 degrees, they must be seen by a doctor immediately, as a small baby can deteriorate rapidly, they don’t have many reserves and they also can’t tell us what is wrong. The source of the fever needs to be identified as soon as possible.
Very young babies can develop all sorts of blotches and rashes on their delicate new skin, so it’s important to recognise what is normal and what is not.
The little milk rash they get on their nose, often looks like tiny little white heads, and sometimes they can get dry flaky skin, just from being exposed to the outside world after being tucked up in your belly for 9 months!
If your baby is out of sorts at all, and develops a red rash, there is a quick test you can do to figure out if it needs medical attention. Get a clear glass, and press it on the skin over the rash, if the rash disappears under the glass, then it is probably nothing to worry about, but if it does not disappear under the pressed glass, then you need to get your child seen immediately.
Inhalation of a foreign body
I have some videos on my blog about how to help a choking child, so you can hop on over there and take a look as the positioning and actions you need to take can be different depending on the age of your child, newborn included.
Here I will layout the steps for CPR on a small baby. The steps we use are called DRSABC.
D - DANGER - Check the area for danger to yourself, the baby and anyone else in the immediate area. Remove it, or move the baby to a safe area.
R - RESPONSE - Check for a response using the talk and touch approach. Place one hand on the baby’s forehead and use the other hand to gently squeeze the baby’s shoulder, while talking loudly to them. The baby may respond by opening their eyes, making a noise or moving. If they respond, stay with them to make sure they recover. If you are worried, seek medical advice.
S - SEND FOR HELP - If the baby does not respond, send for help immediately by calling 000. Stay calm, speak slowly and ask for an ambulance. The operator will ask you a number of questions. DO NOT hang up the phone - Put it on speaker. If there is someone with you, get them to make the call.
A - AIRWAY - Lay the baby on their back, on a firm surface. Make sure their head is not tilted forwards or backwards. Use your fingers to lift the chin up towards you. Open the mouth and if you can see;
fluid: then place the baby on their side to help drain the fluid.
an object: if you can get to it easily, place baby on their side and use your thumb and index finger (in a pincer grip) to remove the object. Be careful not to push the object further into the throat.
The baby may recover as a result of you clearing the airway.
B - BREATHING - look for movement of the baby’s chest and stomach. Listen for breathing sounds by placing your ear close to the baby’s mouth and nose. Feel for air when listening for breathing sounds. Look, listen and feel for up to 10 seconds. If the baby is breathing normally, but is still not responding, place them on their side. Check them regularly to make sure their condition doesn’t worsen while you wait for the ambulance. If the baby is not breathing normally, they will need CPR.
C - CPR - To give chest compressions, use 2 fingers or one hand, depending on the size of the baby and your own strength. Place your fingers or hand on the lower half of the breastbone, which is in the centre of the chest. Push down to 1/3rd of the depth of the chest 30 times. Push fast, at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute. Once you have given 30 compressions, you should then give 2 breaths. To give breaths lift the chin up as described earlier. Take a breath yourself. Open your mouth and place it over the baby’s mouth and nose. Slowly blow enough air to see the baby’s chest rise and fall. Continue repeating 30 compressions to 2 breaths until the ambulance arrives and takes over or the baby begins to respond. If you are unable to or prefer not to give breaths, continue to give chest compressions without stopping until the ambulance arrives.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this today and you will take away some useful advice to keep in mind for your journey in motherhood.
You can catch me over at The Nest, with many more articles about child health and allergy so feel free to hop on over and pay us a visit!
Heidi Young is a paediatric nurse with over 17 years experience in various hospitals around the UK and Australia. She has treated children with all kinds of injuries and illnesses, and is also a Clinical Nurse Specialist In Allergy at the Sydney Children’s Hospital.
Heidi regularly sees parents come through the doors of the Children’s Hospital, upset in the knowledge that they didn’t know what to do for their child when it mattered most, and her business The Nest, Kids CPR & Allergy helps parents to feel empowered by attending a simple class so that know what to do in a medical emergency. They offer kids CPR classes, first aid and allergy prevention & management, and focus on how to help in an emergency, plus answering questions all about allergy to de-mystify some myths. For children with existing allergies they go through the red action plan, Epipen and how to recognise anaphylaxis and treat it FAST. Classes can be private in your home or at their public classes in Randwick.
Why not get your friends together, add in a couple of grand parents, auntie's, uncle's and the babysitter and arrange a get together, and empower yourselves with those life saving skills that you don’t need until you REALLY need them.
Click here to get in touch with Heidi at The Nest.
About Essential Me
Hi, I'm Amanda. I support women and couples during their pregnancy, birth and postnatal journey as a Doula, Ka Huna massage therapist and Pilates instructor. I'm Based in Sydney and would love to help you. Please check out my Top 10 Tips for the best possible birth experience here. I'd love to meet you for an obligation free interview to see if you feel we're the right fit. Contact me here. Thanks, Amanda x