5 common conditions in newborns to look out for

Don’t be alarmed if you see these symptoms in your newborn in the first weeks of their birth.

Crying baby

Mothers, especially new ones, feel scared when they can’t figure out why their baby is crying. Cgances are, they could be they may be suffering from one of these common ailments.

Bringing your newborn home from the hospital is one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking experiences in your life, especially for first-time mums.

Even though you’ve already “cared” for them for nine months in your womb, actually bringing your bundle of joy home probably has you resembling a bundle of nerves!

This stress can reach a peak when your newborn won’t stop crying even after you’ve tried to feed them and checked if their diaper needs to be changed. As it turns out, several conditions are very common during your baby’s first year.

Find out which symptoms to watch out for, plus, ways to help your newborn feel better.

Over 50 per cent of healthy newborns suffer from jaundice, which is caused by an excess of bilirubin ― a chemical that forms during the breakdown of red blood cells ― in the blood.

1. Jaundice

Jaundice is a shock for parents because it is such a visible ailment. In fact, over 50 per cent of healthy newborns suffer from this condition, which is caused by an excess of bilirubin ― a chemical that forms during the breakdown of red blood cells ― in the blood. You can tell if your baby has jaundice if their skin looks yellow, starting with their face.

Jaundice usually resolves on its own in several days. If it persists for an extended length of time and makes its way down your baby’s body, bring your little one to the doctor, who will recommend appropriate treatment after carrying out relevant tests. A standard form of treatment is phototherapy, in which a light is shined on your baby to help them break down excess bilirubin.

If your baby shows signs of jaundice in the first 24 hours of delivery, contact your baby’s doctor immediately. However, if it occurs after this period, breastfeeding your baby will help to clear the condition.

2. Diaper rash

Many newborns get diaper rash because their skin is sensitive and delicate. Keeping your tot clean and dry will help to reduce the risk of diaper rash. That said, do remember that most babies suffer from diaper rash at least once.

Rashes can have different levels of severity. Some will be hardly noticeable, others can be mildly red, while some can even cause the skin to bleed.

You can soothe bubba’s irritated skin with many over-the-counter products. Do note, however, that if a prolonged course of antibiotics is prescribed to your baby, it may cause other complications. This includes yeast infections for which you will need to seek treatment from your doctor.

Contact your doctor if the rash persists for more than a few weeks or if you notice a rash (called petechiae or purpura) which looks like small red or purple dots that don’t turn white when pressed. Call your doctor if the rash looks unusual, is severe, worsens after treatment or is accompanied by a fever.

 

Baby tummy massage

3. Colic

Colic is a horrible experience for both babies and parents ― most experienced mothers would agree. Unfortunately, colic, which occurs when your baby’s stomach is full of gas, is very common from birth until baby is about 3 months old.

Signs to look out for include intense or inconsolable crying, posture changes such as curled up legs or clenched fists or crying for no reason. You can reduce the likelihood of colic in your baby by adopting several simple precautions, such as avoiding caffeine or spicy foods if you’re nursing, using soy-based formula, giving your baby a pacifier and preventing him or her from becoming overstimulated.

Generally speaking, colic does not require a doctor’s visit. However, do contact your baby’s doctor if your baby has a blueish tint to their lips or skin from crying or if the colic persists for a prolonged period.

Diarrhoea can be the result of a virus, an infection or even medication… The danger in diarrhoea is that it causes dehydration. Contact your doctor immediately if you notice that your little one…is lethargic, has a high fever or is vomiting.

4. Diarrhoea

If your baby is suffering from diarrhoea, their stool will be extremely watery and they will experience more bowel movements than usual. Diarrhoea can be the result of a virus, an infection or even medication. If the cause is a bacterial or parasitic infection, your baby will need to see a doctor for medication.

If your baby is old enough to eat solids when they are suffering from diarrhoea, switch to easy-to-digest foods, such as bananas, crackers or cereal. Avoid giving any difficult-to-digest foods like cow’s milk or sugary fruit juices.

The danger in diarrhoea is that it causes dehydration. Contact your doctor immediately if you notice that your little one has dry eyes when he/she is crying, is lethargic, has a high fever or is vomiting.

5. Constipation

If your baby is on formula milk, check with your physician ― try different brands to find one that your baby can digest more easily. For babies on solids, take the opposite approach to diarrhoea by feeding your baby high-fibre foods like puréed pears and prunes.

Flaxseed oil, a natural laxative, will give your baby a boost of omega 3 (found in fatty fish such as salmon and sardines) as well. Another trick that many mums swear by is to give their baby a warm bath to relax their muscles.

Call your doctor if your baby hasn’t had a bowel movement in 24 hours, their stomach feels hard or if they’re really straining when they’re trying to have a bowel movement.

This information is brought to you by Wyeth Nutrition Singapore.

Photos: iStock

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