Vision and Eye Care
The doctor will check your newborn’s eyes in the hospital and at every well-baby visit. It’s normal for babies eyes not to focus together in the first few months of life, but they should be working together by four to six months of age.
As your child’s vision develops, pay attention to the following signs, which could indicate a vision problem:
- Visible discomfort such as rubbing the eye, blinking, or squinting
- Light sensitivity – keeping eyes closed a lot, eyes may appear tired
- Unusual redness of eyes and/or lids
- Droopiness of the eyelids
- Crusted eyelids, sores, or tearing
- Eyes that look crooked, crossed, or don’t move together
- Head held in a titled position
- Cloudy eye, uneven pupils, or bulging eye
Your doctor or clinic may refer your baby to an eye specialist if your baby is:
- Has multiple medical problems
- Shows eye problems
If you believe that your child has eye problems, you should ask your pediatrician about visiting an eye specialist who specializes in pediatric vision.
Your Baby’s Oral (Mouth) Health
Your child’s first teeth are very important. They serve as placeholders and guides for permanent teeth. They contribute to overall health and growth development. First teeth are also important for chewing food and learning to speak clearly. Bacteria in your mouth can be transmitted to your baby and cause cavities at any age.
In order to maintain good oral health for your child follow these simple rules:
- Before your baby has teeth, wipe the gums gently with a clean wet cloth after each feeding.
- Don’t put your baby to bed at nap time or at night with a bottle or sippy cup, unless it has only water in it.
- As soon as the first tooth appears, start brushing your baby’s teeth with a small amount of fluoride toothpaste in the morning and before bedtime. Fluoride is a mineral that protects teeth.
- Ask your doctor about fluoride drops for your baby, especially if you are only breastfeeding or if the water in your community does not have added fluoride.
- When your baby gets a tooth, put a small pea-sized dab of toothpaste across a small soft brush. Wipe off excess toothpaste until child can spit out.
- To avoid spreading the germs that can cause cavities, don’t put anything in a child’s month if it has been in your mouth. Don’t pre-chew food or cool off food in your mouth before giving it to the baby; and don’t kiss the baby on the mouth. Adults can chew sugarless gum or mints that contain Xylitol to reduce the germs in their mouths.
- Don’t share spoons, cups, or toothbrushes.
Having cavities is the most common childhood health problem. By taking care of your baby’s teeth and helping prevent cavities, you are taking an important step in keeping her healthy.
—- from First5 Advice for New Parents