Melomed Articles

19 December 2019 - Dr. Mugammad Taib  Ismail

Baby Wellness


Before we discuss some of the common questions, it may be important to discuss some basic principles.

Physiology, the way in which the body works, anatomy, the way the body's structures are organised, and illness in an adult is not the same as that of a child or a baby. By enlarge, the treatment and management of illnesses/problems in a baby is very different than the management of an adult. In other words, what works for an adult will not necessary work for a baby and may in fact be dangerous to the baby.

Below are a few of the common questions that parents ask:

How often should a baby poop?

This can vary greatly. Some babies will poo once every 3 days (or twice a week). Other babies will poo 6 times per day. These extremes are completely normal, however, more than 6 times a day may indicate that there is a problem, e.g. a milk allergy. Less than once in 3 days may also indicate a problem, e.g. Hirschsprung Disease. Consult with your paediatrician. It is always a good idea to show the paediatrician what the poo looks like. It may be convenient to take a picture of the soiled diaper to show your paediatrician.

What can I use for colic?

Colic is characterised by a fussy baby or crying for long periods of time, lasting about 3 hours. These crying episodes are usually predictable, happening at the same time every day (typically in the early morning).

It will usually last for 3 months and there is no proven cause for colic. Between the episodes of crying, baby will look and feed well. No medication has been proven to consistently help with colic. Probiotics e.g. Reuterina; colix, lactose enzymes (digests milk e.g. Colix) and Telament colic drops, are good, safe products which, on occasion, will help with colic. Avoid other remedies since it can have serious side effects.

Does applying oil to the scalp help cradle cap?

Oil does help, however, it is important to remove it 30 minutes after applying it. If it is left for longer it will dry and block off the sweat glands worsening the cradle cap. It may be more convenient to add some oil to the bath water, e.g. adding Bennets bath and massage drops to the bath. This will help to soften the cradle cap.  Furthermore, use a gentle shampoo and conditioner e.g. PURE shampoo/ PURE conditioner

When can I start feeding egg/seafood/nuts?

It is reasonable to start the introduction of high risk 'allergy'' foods after the age of 8 months. Starting too late increases the risk of allergies. Start with the milder allergy foods, for example, start with egg whites, then introduce egg yolk. Start with hake fish, and eventually build up to shellfish. Nuts are conveniently introduced by giving small amounts of peanut butter.

Does teething cause diarrhoea/fever/cough?

Most babies will teeth over a period of 3 years. During this time, they are bound to get colds/flu's/diarrhoea etc. It is purely a coincidence that they would teeth and get an illness at the same time as they are teething. Teething does not cause illness nor does illness cause teething.  

When should I put my child in a walking ring?

Walking rings often interfere with a baby's development. Balance may become an issue. From the age of about 7 -8 months, most children learn by exploring. While walking rings allows a child to move around, it limits a child's ability to explore, for example, unpacking a cupboard. It may also cause a delay in walking as the child is not given the opportunity to pull him/herself up along the furniture and developing the necessary balance and motor control in order to walk. The use of walking rings is strongly discouraged.

Should I give my baby water?

Breastmilk consists predominantly of water. Our grandmothers would often give their babies boiled water whilst they did not have enough breastmilk. By giving breastmilk and/or formula, your baby will be getting enough water. Additional water bottles will therefore not be necessary.

While in adults water is helpful to alleviate acid reflux and constipation, it must be mentioned that water does not alleviate constipation or acid reflux in babies. In fact, water can worsen acid reflux in babies and interfere with absorption of nutrients. This is potentially dangerous to a baby.

When can I start feeding my baby?

Feeding before 4 months is too early. Feeding after 6 months is too late. It may cause problems such as allergies and coeliac disease. The correct time to start feeds is between 4-6 months. Your baby will just about be able to sit. Baby should intentionally try to grab food from your plate and try to eat it. Another sign that baby may be ready is when they lick objects as if they are licking an ice-cream.

When can I start tea?

Tea is of no benefit to a child. Many teas are iron chelators, put simply, they draw iron out of the body. Iron is important in a child's growth and development. In adults, tea acts as an appetite stimulant, however in children, tea often suppresses appetite, and can lead to the child being a fussy eater. A good healthy appetite is important in a child's growth and development. We recommend that no tea be given until at least the age of 5 years.

When can I start juice?

If a baby never drinks juice it will not cause any medical problems. Juice is not an essential part of a baby's diet. Fresh fruit and vegetables are better, tastier and healthier. It can be made into smoothies as well.

How long should I continue pureed foods?

A baby should progress from smooth pureed foods to adult-type meals (eg. Lasagne) at the age of 8 months. This is a quick progression. So, on day 1 it will be smooth foods. On week 2 try to add some texture e.g. mash the veggies with a fork. Gradually increase the texture as baby tolerates.

What colour should the poop be?

In the first few days after birth the poo will be black. This usually lasts for 2-3days. Thereafter, the poo should be yellow, green, mustard, light brown, dark brown. Red poo might indicate blood while white poo may indicate a liver problem. If the poo is red or white, see your paediatrician.    


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