When it comes to your newborn baby, you might feel like you're facing a new crisis everyday. Is she going to the bathroom enough? Why is she crying so much? What are those red spots on her face? It’s probably difficult to not panic over the smallest issues. That’s your right, and your duty, as a parent: To worry over the health of your baby. There, however, some common infant problems that, believe it or not, aren’t worth a trip to the emergency room.
Whether it’s diaper rash, colic, or baby acne, these common infant problems have easy solutions and treatments. While seeing your baby uncomfortable and hearing her cry might be scary and disturbing, many of these conditions clear up on their own. However, as a parent, it’s important to trust your intuition. There’s never any harm in talking to your doctor if you think there is a bigger problem. When it comes to the health of your body, it's not worth taking any risks. That being said, here are some common infant problems that aren't immediate causes for concern.
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This is one of the most common infant problems. Sometimes urine or feces from your baby’s diaper will irritate her sensitive skin, and it can get worse if she’s having more frequent bowel movements. Diaper rash manifests as patches of inflamed red skin on her bottom, likely causing momentarily alarm for you and discomfort for her. However, tthere are super simple ways to treat diaper rash: You can avoid it by changing her diaper more frequently, air drying her bottom after changing her diaper, or applying an ointment, many of which are available at the pharmacy.
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Your baby is going to experience long bouts of crying. It's unavoidable, though you may spend countless hours and sleepless night dreaming up ever more creative solutions to making it stop. However, sometimes an otherwise healthy baby may fuss or cry for more than three hours everyday. In that case, she's likely developed colic, one of the common infant problems you've likely heard the most about. Colic usually appears between 4 to 6 weeks and goes away on its own by the time your baby reaches 4 months. Symptoms of colic include crying for no apparent reason (she’s not hungry, and her diaper isn’t wet for instance), the fits happen at generally the same time during the day, and she turns bright red during an episode. Of course, there are some measures you can take to soothe your baby in her colicky stage, like singing, rocking, swaddling, or taking her for a walk. Be sure to talk to your doctor if the crying is mixed with any other health issues. Otherwise try not to feel guilty or overly anxious. The colic will clear up on it’s own.
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Baby acne is another one of those common infant problems that, like colic, is temporary. It usually appears in the first couple weeks after your baby’s birth. Red dots resembling tiny pimples will appear on your baby’s nose, forehead, cheeks, and even back and chest. There’s not much you can do to prevent baby acne. It’s likely caused by Mom’s hormones, which are still circulating in the baby’s bloodstream. Once it appears, all you can do is be patient and wait for it to clear up. It doesn’t cause your baby any discomfort. Baby acne should disappear entirely by the time she reaches six months, without leaving any scars behind.
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If your baby’s skin has a yellowish tint, there’s no need to panic. It’s most likely caused by jaundice, or an excess of bilirubin in her blood. The cause is typically because the infant’s liver is not yet mature enough to filter bilirubin out of her bloodstream. The condition is common in infants and newborns (especially those that are preterm) and typically doesn’t require any treatment. Your doctor will examine the baby for jaundice either before discharging you from the hospital or at her first doctor’s appointment. If the issue persists, it never hurts to schedule an appointment to make sure there isn’t an underlying cause.
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Another one of the most common infant problems is abdominal distention. You’ll notice that your baby looks like she has a slight potbelly. It usually occurs when your baby swallows a little extra air while feeding or crying, or from constipation or gas. These issues should pass on their own. There are plenty of ways to help your baby pass gas, but more on that later. Though distension can occur in otherwise healthy babies, you might want to take your baby to the doctor just to be sure, as it can sometimes be a symptom of a more serious health issue.
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Though is may look strange or alarming, a blue tint to your baby’s extremities is actually totally normal when she’s cold. You’ll notice it on the soles of her feet, the palms of her hands, or around her lips. For instance, it might occur after you’re finished giving her a bath. Be sure to warm her up again quickly with socks, a blanket, or towel. Acrocyanosis usually happens during the first few months of life. Just be sure to tell your doctor right away if her head, torso, or mouth turns blue which could be a sign of a low oxygen levels in her blood.
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It will probably be disturbing to see your baby vomit (after all, it’s never going to be easy to see her uncomfortable) but rest assured that if it happens occasionally, that’s normal. Your infant is definitely going to spit up breast milk or formula. If she overeats or burps, chances are she’s going to spit up a stream of liquid, so keep a towel handy. It’s messy, but don’t worry, it’s not causing her any pain. Vomiting, which is the more forceful expulsion of food, does commonly occur within the first month, but if it’s persistent or especially violent, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor.
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Your infant will usually poop at least once a day, but it’s not out of the norm for her to experience occasional constipation. She might strain, turn red in the face, or even cry while struggling with a bowel movement. Remember, infants have weak abdominal muscles that sometimes make it difficult to have a bowel movement. Infant constipation often begins in earnest once she starts eating solid food. If your baby is old enough, you might try adding a little extra water or even prune juice to diet. Feeding her pureed peas or prunes, which contain more fiber, might help as well.
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Among the most common infant problems is cradle cap, the accumulation of crusty or oily scales on the top of your baby’s head. Much like spitting up, cradle cap isn’t pretty, but it’s not painful (or itchy) for your baby. Skin flakes and scaly patches of skin are all symptoms of cradle cap and will typically clear up in a few weeks. Washing the scaly parts of your baby’s scalp with a mild shampoo will help clear up cradle cap. However, you shouldn’t try to peel or scratch the patches of dry skin. If the issue is severe your doctor might also prescribe a medicated shampoo
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In older children, a fever might be concerning, but babies commonly get fevers of up to 100 degrees simply because they have higher body temperatures than adults. Their bodies are also aren’t yet adept at regulating body temperature. This doesn’t mean you shouldn't take the fever seriously: A fever could be a sign that your baby might be fighting an infection or have a cold. You should monitor her condition closely, regularly taking her temperature and making sure she stays hydrated. If a fever higher than 100.4 degrees occurs in a newborn or baby under three months, take her to see her doctor.
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If you’re noticing that your baby is prone to farting, don’t worry. Babies are naturally gassy. Not only are their digestive tracts not fully formed or functioning, which can cause the production of extra gas, they also take in lot of extra air when they’re feeding or crying. As a result, babies often experience bloating and discomfort from trapped gas. She might even need help passing gas. You can rub her belly, or lay her down and move her legs and hips as though she were riding an invisible bike. Burping her after every meal with help get that gas get moving too. Otherwise, excessive farting should not be cause for concern.
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This is one of the few common infant problems that requires a trip to the doctor. The most common type of ear infection is acute otitis media, when fluid gets trapped behind the ear. These ear infections commonly occur before your baby is able to tell you what’s wrong. However, you should be able to see the signs of an ear infection: She might tug on her ears, cry more than usual, have trouble sleeping, or struggle with her hearing and balance. She may also have a fever. Babies are prone to this type of infection because it’s more difficult for fluid to drain from their underdeveloped ears. You should take your baby to the doctor if she exhibits any of these symptoms, who will prescribe the proper medicine to help the infection clear up within a few days.
Many babies are born without a fully formed tear ducts, which prevents their eyes from being able to properly drain fluid. You should see symptoms between birth and 12 weeks. Your babies eyes might tear up even when she’s not crying. She might also wake up with a crust over her eyelashes or eyelids, or pus in the corner of the eye. Typically, the tear duct will develop on its own; within a year symptoms should clear up. However, your baby could develop an infection, so be sure to tell your doctor if you suspect her tear ducts are blocked. He may recommend daily massaging of the eye area to relieve any blockages.
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It might be alarming to notice that your baby’s head is slightly misshapen or has a flat spot. Don’t worry, this is totally normal. The condition is called plagiocephaly. It occurs in about 50 percent of babies. Your doctor will be able to accurately diagnose plagiocephaly, but symptoms include a flattened area of the front, side, or back of the head, uneven ears, or a small bald patch in one spot on her head. If your baby does develop plagiocephaly, there’s not much you can do to prevent it. It occurs simply because your baby sleeps on her back in the same spot every night. Treatment is easy: Add lots of “tummy time” to your baby’s schedule, and make sure she doesn’t spend too much time in a baby carrier or swing. Your doctor might also recommend helmet therapy, which will reshape her skull over the span of a few months.
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Oral thrush is among the most common infant problems. It’s simply an overgrowth of yeast that causes irritation in and around your baby’s mouth. Everyone has the candida bacteria in their mouths and digestive tracts, but babies’ weakened immune system causes the overgrowth. Oral thrush occurs in babies younger than six months old. You might notice cracked skin at the corner of the mouth, or white patches on the tongue and lips. The patches might resemble cottage cheese and can’t simply be wiped away. While your baby’s mouth might be sore, she’s likely not in pain. Most cases clear up on their own, but your doctor might recommend an antifungal medication.
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Within the first year of life, your baby might experience up to seven colds. They’re so susceptible to the colds because they still have weak immune systems, and are probably exposed to other children with weak immune systems. Symptoms include a congested or runny nose, and sometimes a yellow or green discharge from the nose. Coughing, sneezing, and irritability are also common symptoms of colds in babies. If your baby is under three months, you should see your doctor, especially if she develops a fever, but otherwise colds without other complications clear up on their own within 10 to 14 days.