One thing that differentiates the Philippines among other countries is the fact that it has a very young population. We have one of the highest birth rate in the world, as latest the Philippine Statistics Authority (formerly the National Statistics Office) report that on average, three Filipino babies are born every minute.

Casting aside the debate on our population, we have to face the reality that we are a nation of babies. As such it’s important that everyone is educated on how to properly take care of newborns,

The Philippine Pediatric Society has come up with a rather sensible guide on newborn care. What it came up with should come in handy not only for first time parents, but also for moms and dads who need to brush up on the basics of taking care of their baby.

We’re listing down some things worth remembering from this guide.

How should you feed your newborn?

Breastfeeding a well baby requires a minimum of 15 minutes feeding on each breast. Doctors said by the 4th day of life, we can expect the baby to gain a rather regular feeding pattern. Newborns should be fed every two to four hours. How do you know that your baby is getting enough milk? The PPS said if the baby is getting one to two hours of sleep after feeding and six or more diaper changes per day, while gaining adequate weight, your baby should be getting enough milk.

The PPS cannot stress enough the need for breastfeeding. However, if your doctor determines, for some reason or another, that your baby should receive formula, one to two ounces per feeding during the first week of life should be enough as long as she is fed every two to three hours.

A way to check if the baby is digesting milk well is her stool. Breastfed newborns have golden yellow, watery-lined stools as compared to the yellowish, more formed stools of formula-fed babies.

Should you really have your newborn burp?

Yes, babies need to burp after feeding whether they are breastfed or formula-fed. Doctors explain that every time the baby takes in milk, he also takes air in. This can be very uncomfortable for babies. Burping greatly relieves this.

“If your baby regurgitates frequently but is gaining weight, there may be no cause for worry. But if regurgitation occurs every time he feeds, gastroesophageal reflux disease may be the cause. Your doctor will advise you on whether any work up is necessary,” the PPS said.

However, regurgitation is different from vomiting, which is a forceful expulsion of stomach contents. IF this happens, it is best to see a doctor because vomiting could be a manifestation of a disease.

How often should you bathe your baby?

It is a common myth babies should not bathe every day, especially if they still have the umbilical cord attached. Doctors said that as long as you carefully dry up the cord right after, you can give daily baths to your newborn. It’s also important that you use mild, non-medicated soap for bathing. Avoid oil, lotion, cologne, and powder which can irritate the newborn’s skin. Do not use alcohol to clean the cord as studies show isopropyl or ethyl alcohol will not prevent bacterial colonization and infection. It may even delay the falling off of the cord.

Do you really need to sub bathe your newborn?

The PPS said sun bathing really recommended during the first two weeks of life to decrease the newborn’s yellowish skin color. Morning sun also provides a good and natural source of Vitamin D. When exposing the newborn to sunlight, she must be minimally dressed. Sun bathing should take about 15-20 minutes anytime before 8:00 AM to avoid excessive exposure to ultraviolet light.

The truth about abdominal binders or bigkis?

These days, most doctors no longer prescribe the use of abdominal binders or bigkis, as studies show that these do not really help in preventing or treating colic (or kabag). In fact, binders may also contribute to newborn’s regurgitation as it may disrupt the normal digestion of your baby. It was also found out that binders do not help in protecting the cord from infection.

If you want to know more about proper ways of taking care of your newborn, you can visit any of the PhilCare clinics or doctors affiliated with PhilCare. They should provide your newborn with excellent care to ensure that your kid remains a well baby.