Eyes, ears and nose
- Have you noticed your baby can cry and cry (and cry) but not shed a tear? That’s because tears aren’t produced until the end of the first month.
- As for their vision, babies can see best 8 to 15 inches away – making your face a perfect object to study. Anything too close or too far away will be a big blur, so hang mobiles accordingly.
- Speaking of mobiles, babies tend to look more to the right and left than straight ahead for the first few weeks, so try hanging them to one side or the other. And don’t worry if your baby is still uninterested – many won’t care for mobiles for another week or two.
- Clean your baby’s eyes by wiping a clean washcloth or cotton ball from the inside corner to the outside corner.
- A common concern parents have with a new infant is Oh my goodness, is my baby deaf? Why didn’t he turn towards that loud crash? Take a deep breath – there might be several explanations:
- Babies won’t turn toward a sound for another three months or so, but they should startle now. They most likely did a hearing test in the hospital, but if you’re concerned, clap behind your baby’s head and watch the reaction. If your little one doesn’t startle, still don’t panic. Babies tend to ignore sounds sometimes – good preparation for their teenage years when they swear they didn’t hear you say to take out the trash. Try again later, and if you’re still worried, call your doctor.
- It is also possible that some sounds – like the dog barking – are familiar from the womb, so they don’t elicit a response.
- Check that your doctor tested your baby’s hearing and ask for the results. Babies deemed higher-risk for deafness are those born premature (and weighing under 6 pounds), those who had complications during delivery, were exposed to drugs in the womb, or come from families with a history of hearing impairment.
- Be aware of how loud your stereo is playing, as heavy exposure to blaring music isn’t good for tiny ears (or any ears, for that matter). Babies and small children are at higher risk for temporary or permanent hearing damage, so if you have to yell over the music, it’s time to turn it down.
- Never stick anything inside of your baby’s ears, including cotton swabs. Simply wash the outside with a washcloth or swab. The ear itself is self-cleaning, so tell your doctor if there’s a large amount of wax buildup. Using a cotton swab can push the wax down further and cause more problems.
- Ah-choooo!! Sound familiar? While your newborn’s sneezing (and sometimes coughing) in the beginning may be unsettling, it’s most likely just excess amniotic fluid and mucus in the respiratory system – not an illness. They’re also getting rid of dust and other air particles that their bodies aren’t used to.
- Their noses, like their ears, take care of the cleaning on their own. If your baby does develop a cold, use a nasal aspirator to suction out the mucus – not a tissue or your fingers, which could push boogers up further. If their nose is stuffed up, use saline nasal drops before aspirating to clear their passages for easier feeding, sleeping and breathing. They’ll cry for sure – no one likes liquid squirted up their nose – but it needs to be done.