Becoming a new mom, whether it is your first time or your fifth time, can bring on a range of emotions from joy to anxiety. As you and your infant begin to get to know one another, and as you learn how to best meet your little one’s needs, you will at times find yourself wondering (or even worrying) about their health and care essentials with these common baby questions.
Below are several of the most common baby concerns that all newborn parents face, and a few answers to give you better guidance as to how to handle these issues. However, if you ever have questions – please reach out to your baby’s pediatrician right away. It is always better to be safe than sorry, and to catch something as early as possible.
This article is written by Tranquilo Mat
For more on this topic, check out the full Baby’s First Year collection
COMMON BABY CONCERN 1: UMBILICAL CORD
After birth, the umbilical cord is clamped and cut. Within a day or two it will dry up, and after 7 to 14 days it will fall off of your infant (on its own,) leaving baby’s belly button behind. If during this process you notice any of the following, please call your doctor right away:
- Any bleeding beyond the first minute after clamping or anything more than a drop or two of blood after the cord stump falls off.
- Redness around the umbilical cord area, especially if it occurs suddenly or gets worse over time.
- Hot to the touch.
- Baby is irritated or sensitive when that area is touched.
- Purulent discharge (or pus) like snot or boogers, but coming from the umbilical cord.
- Any foul smell from that area.
COMMON BABY CONCERN 2: CIRCUMCISION SITE
After your infant’s circumcision, you’ll need to keep any eye out for proper healing and call the doctor if you notice any of the following signs of trouble:
- Persistent bleeding or more than quarter-sized spot of blood on his diaper.
- Persistent redness more than five days after circumcision.
- Yellow discharge lasting more than a week.
- Any swelling beyond day 1.
- Crusty, fluid-filled sores.
- Trouble urinating.
COMMON BABY CONCERN 3: JAUNDICE
Jaundice is common a few days after your infant is born, and usually starts to appear visually from head to toe. It usually gets worse, progressing slowly down baby’s body before it gets better and ultimately resolves. While some jaundice is usually minor and not worrisome, here are some things to watch out for:
- A significant change in appearance – for example, yesterday baby’s head was slightly jaundice but now all of baby is jaundice.
- Your infant is sleeping excessively, and even too sleepy to feed or feed well.
COMMON BABY CONCERN 4: INFANT THRUSH
A common yeast infection in breastfeeding babies that can be passed easily between mother and baby making it difficult to treat. Besides the discomfort, it’s not harmful long term – but it is annoying, so seek treatment immediately if you notice any of the following:
- White rash on inside of baby’s mouth.
- Painful sores on mom’s breasts.
COMMON BABY CONCERN 5: DIGESTIVE ISSUES
Your infant’s diapers are chocked full of information about baby’s digestion. So if you notice any of the following warning signs, call your baby’s doctor ASAP:
- Lime green frothy poop similar to algae – could be a sign of difficulties breastfeeding, or a stomach bug.
- Black coffee ground type poop AFTER baby’s poop transitions from meconium. This poop is thick and sticky and a sign that baby has some bleeding in their digestive tract.
- Red tinged poop, or poop with red flecks, that is normal in consistency could indicate a milk protein allergy.
- Red, bloody diarrhea is a sign of a bacterial infection that needs a doctor’s attention ASAP.
- Chalky white clay or playdough type poop is a sign of liver or gallbladder issues so call the doctor immediately.
- Red currant jelly poop consisting entirely of blood that has a “congealed fat” consistency as it indicates a serious bacterial infection that needs medical treatment quickly.
- Chronic constipation.
COMMON BABY CONCERN 6: VACCINE RELATED REACTION
While vaccine related reactions are rare, it’s worth noting what they are and contact the doctor if you are worried. Some common minor side effects include fussiness, tiredness, loss of appetite, vomiting, and occasionally a generalized mild swelling of your infant’s entire limb where the injection occurred. While you may want to alert your doctor to these, it’s more important to call the doctor if you see any of these moderate to severe reactions within a few minutes or hours of a vaccination:
- Non-stop crying for more than 3 hours.
- Fever over 105F.
- Febrile seizure.
- Allergic reaction which may take the form of one or more of the following:
- Swelling of the face or throat
- Difficulty breathing
- Any unusual behavior.
SIGNS OF AN INFECTION OR OTHER BASIC ISSUES
There are a few general signs that something is wrong with baby and it’s time to call the doctor. These may occur with or without any additional specific symptoms we listed above related to their umbilical cord, circumcision site, digestion or vaccine related reactions:
- Fever over 100.4F
- Any vomiting (e.g., throwing up an entire meal vs. spitting up a small amount after feeding)
- Two or more diapers with diarrhea – a watery stool with no solid parts or seeds
- Mucus in baby’s stool two or more times in a few hours or days.
- A significant decrease in the number of wet diapers a baby has per day, especially if it’s not resolved with increasing their breastmilk or formula intake.
- Excessive sleepiness or lethargy, especially if they are having difficulty feeding because they are too sleepy.
- Any bleeding that doesn’t quickly resolve when pressure is applied to the area.
When you leave the hospital, consider that your baby’s “normal” and contact the doctor if there are any clear or immediate changes in this new “norm.” You know your infant best, so when in doubt, always consult with your doctor’s office. They are happy to answer calls from new parents who they understand are still absorbing copious amounts of information about their infant and have a plethora of questions. They really do expect your calls for all things big and small, so don’t fret about this rite of passage as a new parent and call your doctor whenever you suspect something is wrong! In the best cases, you’ll catch something serious early. And if you’re wrong, you’ll at least have a good laugh later about how your doctor told you not to worry.
Of course, this won’t be the end of your well baby visits during baby’s first few years of life, but it does cover baby’s first 3 months! You’ll be back to the doctor’s every 2 to 3 months until baby’s first birth day and then 3 more times before they turn 2. Specifically, you can plan on check ups at 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, and 12 months with additional visits at 15 month, 18 months, and 24 months. It’s a ton of time spent at the doctor’s office, but you’ll be happy to do it to ensure your baby’s healthy, happy, and developing normally!
For additional info on how to best prepare for your little one’s doctor appointments, please read How to Best Prepare for Your Baby’s First Pediatrician Appointment.
For more on this topic, check out the full Baby’s First Year collection
Featured Contributor: Tranquilo Mat
Tranquilo Mat is the only portable soothing sleep aid that helps babies fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Invented by a nurse, mom approved, and baby loved. To learn more visit www.tranquilomat.com. As Seen on Shark Tank!