ASK THE DOC
Should you always swaddle your newborn, even when the weather is hot?
Q My one-year-old doesn’t like to drink water. Can I substitute it with juice?
A The average 10kg 12-month-old child needs 1 litre of uid per day; those who sweat excessively or have constipation may require more.
Of that, around 500 to 600ml should be milk – ideally either breast or full-fat cow’s milk after 12 months. (There is no medical need to continue with infant formula beyond the age of 12 months.)
The rest of the 400 to 500ml should ideally be plain water, but if it’s a struggle to get your child to drink up, you can offer diluted fruit juice – mix one-part apple juice to four-parts water.
Avoid other sweetened beverages or any drinks that contain caffeine, such as iced tea.
Note that a baby under six months old usually doesn’t need water, especially if she is exclusively breastfed.
If it becomes necessary to introduce water to a young infant, due to constipation or other medical problem, do so only on the advice of a doctor, and in small quantities (30 to 50ml, up to twice daily). Remember to only use cooled boiled water.
Q Should I always swaddle my newborn, even when the weather is hot?
A Swaddling is useful in controlling the early infant startle reex, which is common in all infants up to around three months of age. A newborn, used to the close connes of its mother’s womb, will ail his limbs and wake startled from sleep if he is not appropriately restrained.
Swaddles should be made of light, breathable fabric (the light, stretchy muslin ones are best), and be wrapped securely (not tightly) around the infant, without obstructing the mouth or nose, or be constricting around the neck.
Adjust the clothing that your baby wears under the muslin swaddle so he doesn’t feel too warm.
It is not absolutely necessary to swaddle. If you prefer not to use an air-con, and you nd your child sweats excessively when swaddled, despite minimising the clothing underneath, you can consider husk pillows, which have been traditionally used here for generations to soothe infants to sleep.
The rationale is that it mimics the weight of a caregiver’s hand on the infant’s body, and so provides comfort.
But, risks associated with this soothing method include the potential for the pillow to move and become a suffocation hazard to the baby, especially if it slips over the face, obscuring the mouth and nose.
Such pillows should not be used unless you’re keeping a close watch on your little one.