After your baby is born, there are a number of things we think of when it comes to caring and helping our little bundle of joy, after all they are helpless and need you every waking moment. Few parents think about taking care of their newborn's eyes. In the weeks following your baby's birth, their eyes will be doing a lot of maturing and focusing.
Here are some eye care tips for newborn baby that you should know about:
You may notice your baby's eyes getting a little watery or having eye discharge. This is natural at first, but if it is too excessive, should be talked about with their pediatrician. You should never wipe out their eyes with your finger unless it is thoroughly cleaned, but it is best to use a clean, warm cloth to wipe the discharge and tears away.
They are learning how to focus and follow with their eyes, so a small amount of tears or "watery eye" can be normal. Their bodies are getting used to the outside world and this will cause some of the discharge as their tears and eyelashes block dust and bacteria. As soon as you see some build up, you should wipe it away gently so that they don't get a blocked tear duct.
Another major thing to watch out for is putting things too close to their face. The average newborn baby can focus on items or faces that are 8-12 inches away. Anything closer than that can give them some trouble focusing and can cause them to cross their eyes which can be stressful on their eye muscles. Putting things too close to their eyes can also increase their chances of having crossed eyes later down the road. Learn more about how to protect your child's vision
If your baby has one eye that is going farther one way than the other, this can be normal if it is the first couple of weeks. After this period, watch how your baby is focusing on objects or faces and tell their pediatrician if you have any concerns. Many times babies will grow out of this, but sometimes a baby may need to have surgery to get this corrected.
One thing that can help the cones and rods (sensors inside the eye) for a newborn baby is to show them black and white objects at the right distance. We used to see a lot more baby toys that are brightly coloured and can be overwhelming to their maturing eyes. Nowadays, there are a lot more mobiles and other small baby toys that have black and white designs because studies have shown that this can help the sensors in their eyes mature.
If you have any questions about your baby's eyes, you should always consult their pediatrician. They will, and do know best.