EYES The eyes of newborns may appear to be red, puffy, and swollen. To clean your baby’s eyes, soak a clean, soft washcloth or cotton ball in warm water and gently dab around the baby’s eyes. Carefully wipe from the inside corner going out. Avoid using soap as this may irritate the baby’s eyes.
COMMON PROBLEMS: After a vaginal delivery, newborns are given antibiotic eye drops to clear any infection that may have been passed on to the baby as she traveled through the birth canal. Consult your pediatrician if you observe the following symptoms:
Persistent redness, swelling, crusting, or discharge in the eyes or the eyelids (more than 24 hours)
Sensitivity to light
Frequent squinting and rubbing of the eyes
Drooping or swollen eyelids
Some newborns take two weeks from birth for their tear ducts to fully function. Warm compresses and gentle massages applied to the area usually help open them up. “In case of a foreign body in the eye or puwing, flush the eye with water for a few minutes,” says Consuelo Teodoro, M.D., pediatrician at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center. This can also be done to stop itchiness in the eye.
Sources: l Dr. Consuelo Teodoro, pedaitrician, Cardinal Santos Medical Center l Baby and Child Care, by Benjamin Spock, M.D. and Steven Parker, M.D. l Your Baby’s First Year, by Steven Shelov, M.D. l Webstes: raisingchildren.net.au ; cincinnatichildrens.org