27 June 2006

The second month

We look at what is happening during this month.


What we will look at:

  • What your baby can do
  • The six week baby check-up
  • Immunisation
  • The BCG pimple
  • The six week mother check-up
  • Your baby’s reflexes
  • The first smile!
  • Dealing with sibling rivalry
  • Colic
  • Blocked nose?
  • What you can do to help your baby

What can your baby can do?

  • Lifts head briefly when on stomach on a flat surface
  • Focuses on your face while breastfeeding
  • Responds to sound

Your baby’s six week check-up
This can be done by your paediatrician or at a clinic. Remember to take the “Road to health” card with you. The following examinations will be done:

  • Gross and fine motor examination
  • Physical examination
  • Psycho-social development

Click here to find out what the check-ups entail.

For most babies immunisation is a traumatic event. Be comforting and reassuring and try to distract your baby. Remember that you have the right to choose whether you want your child immunised or not.

At six to eight weeks, your baby should be immunised against:

  • Polio (OPV)
  • Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DPT)
  • Hib
  • Hepatitis B (Hep B)

What are the diseases?

  • Diphtheria - a bacterial infection that causes airway obstruction and later affects the nerves and heart.
  • Tetanus - a bacterial infection that produces a potent nerve toxin causing muscle spasm.
  • Pertussis (whooping cough) – a respiratory tract infection caused by bacteria. It can lead to fits, lung collapse, and ear and chest infections.
  • Polio – attacks the nervous system. Can cause permanent paralysis in any part of the body and can be fatal if it affects the breathing muscles.
  • Hepatitis B - a viral infection of the liver.
  • Hib – a type of bacteria that can cause meningitis, resulting in deafness and brain damage.

All immunisations, except polio, are done by injection. Your baby may have a raised temperature or feel unwell after immunisation. Sponging with lukewarm water or giving paracetamol for fever may help. A red swollen patch may appear around an injection site. This should subside within a few weeks.

What is this pimple?
The BCG injection against tuberculosis which was given at birth on the right arm, may leave a pimple which could have a whitish discharge. Don’t apply any medicines, ointments or cream and don’t cover with a plaster. It will heal naturally at about four months.

Your six-week check-up
This check-up is necessary to see whether you are recovering properly. The doctor usually does an internal examination to see if your womb has returned to normal. He/she will also check if tears and stitches are healing well.

Your baby’s reflexes
What are the different reflexes of a young baby? Click here to find out.

The first smile!
Around six week, you should see your baby’s first smile. Before this time it may appear that your baby is smiling but these “fake” smiles are usually as a result of reactions of his nervous system. Keep your camera handy!

Dealing with sibling rivalry
It is normal for siblings to feel threatened by the arrival of a new baby. They may find it difficult to cope with your divided attention and may feel that you don’t love them or have time for them anymore.

Often a sibling’s reaction is not due to the arrival of your new baby but could be because he is angry with you for “leaving” him and “disappearing” when you went to hospital.

Toddlers may display regressive behaviour such as going back to wanting a dummy or bottle, talking like a baby or even crawling.

Don’t jump to conclusions when you child behaves differently. It is also possible that the changes could be normal, age-appropriate behaviour.

How can you make it easier for your child to adjust?

  • Involve your child in caring for the baby and show your appreciation.
  • Buy a doll and encourage your child to copy your behaviour when you are taking care of the baby.
  • Make sure that your child is occupied during feeding times. Reading to your child while you are feeding is a good idea.
  • Spend quality time with your child when the baby is sleeping.
  • Reward positive behaviour towards the baby.
  • Constantly reassure your child that you love and care about him or her.
  • Make your child feel special. Praise his or her strengths, talents and accomplishments.
  • Don’t feel too anxious when your child struggles to cope with the new sibling. It is normal for him or her to take a while to adapt.
  • If your child refuses to go back to school, don’t force him. Allow him to stay home but make your day boring and dull.

Colic affects many babies under the age of three months. The baby appears to be in pain and may cry non-stop for an hour or longer. The baby tenses its stomach muscles, pulls up its legs, passes flatus and the face becomes red. Feeding does not calm him and he struggles to settle.

Colic is very stressful and exhausting for parents. Try the following ways of settling your baby:

  • Hold your baby close to your body
  • Massage
  • A long, warm bath
  • Take him for a ride in the car
  • Play soothing background music
  • Constant movement - walk around with him or put him in a rocker

Learn more about colic.

Blocked nose?
If your baby’s nose is blocked, use a few saline drops in the nostrils to unblock it. A few drops of breastmilk in the nostrils also do wonders.

What you can do to help your baby
Don’t bombard your baby with all sorts of activities and stimulation. If your child is alert and seems interested, try one or two of these activities at a time.

  • Make your baby aware of his hands by stroking his palms, massaging the hands and playing games with his fingers.
  • Let him touch objects of different textures and let him lie naked on different textured surfaces.
  • When your baby is lying on his tummy, place bright coloured objects in front of his head. This will encourage your baby to lift his head.
  • Let your baby look at himself – place mirrors in his cot and pram.
  • Sometimes surround her with brightly coloured objects.
  • String a few colourful beads on a piece of elastic and stretch it across your baby’s pram so that she can reach it.
  • Place her on her back and help her to practise kicking.
  • Speak to her all the time – even think aloud when you are involved in an activity such as shopping.
  • Play soothing background music.
  • Massage her after a bath.

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