Young Baby – How to Succeed – Part 5

Young Baby – How to Succeed – Part 5

Newborn Senses

A newborn can respond to and readily differentiate between substances with a number of different taste sensations, such as sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. However, it should come as no surprise that, of all of these, there is a marked preference towards sweet-tasting foods. Further, studies have shown that neonates display a distinct preference for foods that exhibited a smell that reminded them of those that their mother used to eat regularly.

At birth, a neonate has a highly developed sense of smell. This displays itself in its first week of life when it is able to distinguish between the smell from its own mother’s breast milk (which provides the main source of nutrition for newborns before they are able to eat and digest other foods), and that from the breast milk of another female.

Infant Mortality

Infant mortality refers to the death of an infant in the first year of its life. It can be characterised in two distinct ways, viz. in terms of neonatal death, which refers to deaths occurring in the first 27 days of life, and in terms of post-neonatal death, referring to deaths after the first 28 days of life.

On this basis, Infant Mortality may be defined as the number of infant (corresponding to the age of one year or younger) deaths for every 1,000 live births. Globally, one of the most common causes of infant mortality has historically been associated with dehydration (which is defined as the excessive loss of water from the body. There are three main types viz. hypotonic (loss of water alone), hypertonic (loss of electrolytes, especially sodium), and isotonic (equal loss of water and electrolytes). The primary cause of such dehydration is diarrhea (which is the condition of having frequent loose or liquid bowel movements. Acute diarrhea is a frequent cause of mortality in developing countries, and is the second most frequent cause of infant mortality worldwide).

Oral Rehydration Therapy, or ORT, is a simple treatment for dehydration associated with diarrhea, especially gastroenteritis (which is inflammation involving the stomach and small intestine that results in acute diarrhea), which may have as its cause, cholera or rotavirus. ORT consists of an aqueous solution of salts (primarily sodium chloride) and sugars which is administered orally. The method is applied globally, and is particularly important in developing countries, and is responsible for saving millions of children a year from death due to diarrhea.

Currently, the most common cause of infant mortality is pneumonia (which is an abnormal, inflamed condition of the lung resulting from infection by way of bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites, as well as chemical or physical injury to the lungs). However, other causes of infant mortality include the following:

– Malnutrition

– Malaria

– Congenital Malformation – This refers to defects associated with or damage to a developing fetus

– Infection

– SIDS – Also known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or cot death, it represents a syndrome associated with the sudden death of an infant that is both unexpected, from an historical viewpoint, and also remains unexplained after a thorough forensic examination and a detailed investigation at the scene of death