It’s normal to be overly concerned about your baby’s health, especially if it’s your first child. There are many common conditions that babies can get that may seem worrying as a new parent but are actually perfectly normal and fairly harmless. That said, there are also times when you should call the doctor. Here are some of the most common times to show concern and when to take action.
Many babies are born with a yellowish complexion known as jaundice. This is due to a chemical in the blood known as bilirubin. The liver of a newborn baby is still developing and so has trouble getting rid of this chemical. In most cases, jaundice will disappear naturally within the first week a baby’s life. If it continues after this then it is worth seeing a doctor who can recommend further treatment.
Many babies receive injuries during birth. It’s common for tools like forceps to cause scarring, most of which disappears after several weeks. However, in some cases birth injuries can cause more permanent damage. Fractures and infections caused by bad delivery could be worth seeing a doctor about. You may even want to consider a birth injury lawyer to compensate you for these injuries. Many of these injuries should be spotted early by a medical professional and any failure to identify them could be seen as malpractice.
Many babies are stubborn feeders at first. However, if you’re having real feeding problems and aren’t able to get them to swallow enough milk, it could be due to a medical problem that could be worth looking into further. A doctor or midwife will be able to observe you feeding and make a diagnosis.
A lot of newborns also get constipation and diarrhoea as there are bodies still getting used to the process of pooping. Such problems are common in formula-fed babies, but can still happen to breast-fed babies. You should worry if your baby is going days without pooing or if the consistency is extra watery or solid.
Breathing difficulties can be worrisome for most parents. Irregular breathing, incessant grunting or very fast breathing for long periods are all times to consider a doctor. Be wary that many babies do catch colds and get wheezy – this is usually not a major concern. You should only worry if they get a persistent whooping cough (regular coughing is normal and nothing to worry about).
Umbilical stump issues
Your baby’s belly button will take time to heal. The umbilical cord takes several days to dry up and fall off. You should only worry if there is pus or excessive bleeding (a little bit of blood is to be expected so don’t worry if there are small stains on their baby grow).
Common problems that aren’t worth worrying about
Rashes and flaky skin can often be a concern to new parents but are usually not a major problem. A flaky scalp is known as cradle cap and is perfectly normal, just as nappy rashes can often occur on the legs and groin. There are products such as creams and ointments that you can use to help these heal. Coughing and sneezing is also nothing to worry about in most cases, although you may want to see a doctor if your baby has a fever as this may require specialist prescription medication. As for constant crying without rhyme or reason, this could be a case of colic – very distressing for parents but generally not dangerous.