Newborn Health Issues
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During the first two weeks of infancy, your baby undergoes many changes, but there are newborn health issues -- such as jaundice -- that you should be aware of. Learn more here.
Transcript: From the top of the head to the tips of the toes, here's what to expect in your newborn's health during...
From the top of the head to the tips of the toes, here's what to expect in your newborn's health during the first 2 weeks of life! There's a lot going on in that little head of your baby! A vaginal birth alone can give your child a cone head, or scalp swelling If you delivered your baby the old fashioned way, the head may look a bit cone shaped as the skull bones are not yet fully fused. This allows the bones to temporarily overlap one another to ease baby's passage down the birth canal, and also allows space for your little one's brain to grow! Caput is generalized swelling under the skin of the scalp, and cephalohematoma is swelling that is more localized, confined to the tissue sheath that surrounds the skull bones. But don't fret, these conditions almost always clear up on their own. In the weeks following your baby's birth, you may notice that the scalp appears flaky, scaly, or even scabby. This skin condition is called cradle cap, and is generally harmless, though it may become itchy in serious cases; but will usually clear up on it's own in several months. Doctors believe it's from the burst of hormones released from the mother during birth. Other surprises to expect, also related to those same maternal hormones, are enlarged genitalia, including the penis, scrotum and vulva; And what might be more unexpected--vaginal discharge and period-like spotting in baby girls. While some of this may be surprising-and shocking-most of these symptoms will dissipate in a few days when the hormones leave your baby's body. So, your newborn's eyes are crossed and they don't even look like yours! Don't worry, a newborn's eyes don't usually move together until about 3 months of age. As for eye color, the slate grey tone you see now will have morphed into the actual color by 6 months. Your newborn's eyes may also have a blood shot or yellow tint to them, both of which are to be expected. The blood vessels you see in your baby's eyes may have burst while he was traveling the birth canal, and they will heal on their own. If the eyes look a little yellow, the skin might too. This condition is called jaundice, and indicates that the liver is not yet filtering the old bilirubin from your child's blood. A certain degree of jaundice is expected, and may be treated with light therapy, but VERY high levels can lead to serious brain damage. Talk to your pediatrician if concerned. If your little one's skin is looking a little bluish, particularly in the hands and feet, don't worry, it just means that your baby can't fully regulate temperature or circulation on his own yet, and could use your help with massages and a good cuddle. Now, don't get too worried, your baby's new body is just getting used to being in the world. Simply keep an eye on the condition, and contact pediatricians if things don't resolve on their own, as that could imply something more serious. Another common newborn medical condition is thrush, a yeast infection in the mouth. Because yeast can be present in the vagina, this condition is often passed to a baby from his mother during delivery. Thrush usually manifests as white spots in your baby's mouth, tongue, and throat. Some children also experience a yeast infection as a persistent diaper rash. Rarely, mostly in the immunocompromised, thrush can spread and cause a life-threatening infection. Your pediatrician may prescribe an anti-fungal ointment or oral medication to kill the yeast. There are OTC treatments, but it is best to have a doctor diagnose these spots as a fungus or yeast before giving your baby any medication unnecessarily. Moving down your baby's body, you'll notice the umbilical cord stump, where the belly button will be. The stump will eventually dry up and fall off, but expect to wait 10 to 20 days. When it detaches, you may notice a bit of blood in your baby's diaper, which is completely normal. In the interim, always fold your baby's diapers BELOW the umbilical cord stump and avoid tub baths until AFTER it has detached. Some doctors also recommend regularly cleaning the area with a cotton ball soaked in warm, soapy water., or even rubbing alcohol, though this can cause some over-drying of the skin. Parents often wonder how to care for a newly circumcised boy's penis. Luckily, all you really need to do is keep the area clean with mild soap and water. If your son has a bandage on his penis, change it as needed, and remember to apply petroleum jelly first so the bandage doesn't stick! Note that the incision will look red for several days, and you may notice a yellowish film around the head of the penis, do NOT try to remove it!. Although it will look worse in the days after the procedure, his penis is healing. It should start looking normal about a week after surgery. While all of these conditions are common in newborns remember that it's still smart to discuss any health concerns with your baby's pediatrician!More »
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Understanding the risk factors of sudden infant death syndrome can help you prevent it in your baby. Watch this video to get the facts.
Transcript: It's little wonder that new parents fear Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, the leading cause of...
It's little wonder that new parents fear Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, the leading cause of infant death in the United States. To understand SIDS, you need to know that it is NOT a disease or a condition. Rather, SIDS is a diagnosis that's made when an infant dies suddenly and an exact cause CANNOT be found. Most SIDS deaths transpire during the first year of a baby's life, with 90% of cases occurring BEFORE the sixth month. The peak age is 2-4 months, and there is a male preponderance, as well as higher occurrence in winter. While there is no definitive CAUSE of SIDS, researchers have managed to pinpoint some risk factors that make it more likely. Foremost among the SIDS risk factors is putting your baby to sleep on his or her stomach. It has been theorized that a baby who sleeps on his tummy can "re-breathe" the air that has been exhaled, resulting in a carbon dioxide buildup that can prove deadly. Pressure on the jaw can occur in babies that sleep on their stomachs, which can in turn narrow the airways and make breathing difficult. For all of the above reasons, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends ALWAYS putting your baby to sleep on his or her back. Additionally, your sleeping baby should NEVER be surrounded by fluffy pillows, blankets, or stuffed animals. All of these objects can contribute to re-breathing or suffocation in an infant. As such, ensure you put your baby to sleep on a firm mattress, and keep the crib free of anything fluffy, like soft blankets. This is important for another reason, too: A baby who overheats may fall into a very deep sleep and stop breathing. Keep your little one safe by dressing your baby in light clothing and keeping the nursery room at a temperature in which you feel comfortable in short sleeves. Another risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome is exposure to cigarette smoke, both before and after your baby is born. Additionally, low birth weight, and prematurity, maternal age younger than 18 years, and multiple births are also risk factors. Eliminating THIS risk is easy! DON'T smoke when you're pregnant, and insist that NO ONE smoke around your infant. Preliminary studies have suggested that keeping a fan in your baby's room may keep the air clear, and can also help regulate room temperature. Meanwhile, putting your baby to sleep with a pacifier in his or her mouth may also help to reduce the likelihood of SIDS. And sleeping in close proximity to a young infant, but not bed-sharing, has also been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS. Even with all of these precautions, SIDS is scary. For that reason, it may help to talk to your baby's pediatrician about any additional precautions to take to keep your baby safe.More »
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If you have a baby with colic, you're probably willing to try anything for relief! While there's no cure for colic, there are ways to soothe a baby who won't stop crying. Find out how to handle colic babies here.
Transcript: Is your infant crying non-stop-don't' fret, here's help! Some 20% of babies younger than five months...
Is your infant crying non-stop-don't' fret, here's help! Some 20% of babies younger than five months experience colic, or uncontrollable sobbing. An infant is considered colicky if he or she cries for three HOURS in a row, at least three DAYS a week, for at least three WEEKS. Because that's a whole lot of crying and screaming, you're probably desperate to provide relief to BOTH of you. While no one knows for certain what CAUSES colic, doctors DO know that providing your baby with a familiar, womb-like environment can help calm those cries. To do so, focus on what pediatricians call "the five S's:" swaddling, shushing, swinging, sucking, and stomach or side position. Swaddling, of course refers to tightly bundling your baby in a thin, large receiving blanket. Aside from reminding your baby of the snug confines of the womb... swaddling will help ensure your baby doesn't become startled by his own arm and leg movements. Shushing your baby refers to steady, loud white noise like the sound of a vacuum cleaner, air conditioner, air purifier or clothes dryer. And if you're up for mimicking the floating feeling your infant enjoyed in the womb, swing your little one back and forth in your arms. Some babies like big, fluid motions, while others prefer smaller, faster jiggling movements. Your infant may also enjoy a bouncy seat, drives in the car, or long walks in the stroller. Sucking refers to non-nutritional mouth movements that may remind your baby of sucking his or her own thumb in your uterus. Offer your baby a pacifier or even your own finger to suck rhythmically as a way to help soothe the colicky cries. Finally, resting your newborn in a side or stomach position will make your little one recall being curled inside you. Just ensure that you're near your baby when your baby is NOT on her back... as falling asleep on her front or side slightly raises the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS. Expect some trial and error as you figure out which treatments your infant responds to. And remember: If you simply can't curb your baby's cries, take you little one to the doctor and talk it out.More »
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Jaundice in babies can affect the color of newborns' skin and usually clears up within several weeks. Get the details on jaundice in this video.
Transcript: Is your newborn baby looking a little yellow? When a baby's skin, eyes, or gums takes on a yellowish...
Is your newborn baby looking a little yellow? When a baby's skin, eyes, or gums takes on a yellowish cast after birth, this is known as jaundice. Jaundice occurs when a baby has high levels of a pigment called bilirubin in his blood. Bilirbuin is a byproduct of the process whereby old red blood cells which are usually destroyed in the body. People of every age have bilirubin in their blood, but it's USUALLY broken down by the liver and eliminated with stool. In a baby with jaundice, however, bilirubin builds up faster than the liver can remove it, in turn causing that yellowish hue. This happens for a variety of reasons in newborns, the most common being that a baby's liver is still adjusting to this new task. Known as normal, or physiological, jaundice, this form of bilirubin build-up is also common in premature babies. Luckily, physiological jaundice is almost always harmless and tends to clear up within several weeks. Another reason this condition can occur is that your breastfed baby is not getting enough milk from you. In cases like this, lack of sufficient fluids makes it hard for your newborn to eliminate excess bilirubin through his stools. Breastfeeding jaundice can be treated by supplementing breast milk with formula, or with more frequent nursing. It's important to note that in very rare cases, however, breast milk can actually cause jaundice. Known as breast milk jaundice, this occurs when substances in your milk interfere with your newborn's ability to eliminate bilirubin. In this case, your baby's doctor may recommend that you take a few days off nursing to allow you're your baby's liver time to adjust. Finally, jaundice can occur when you have an incompatible blood type with your baby. This rare condition causes you to produce antibodies that prevent your infant's liver from working efficiently. If this is the case, your doctor may suggest a blood transplant to remove old bilirubin and give your baby a fresh supply of blood. Whatever the cause, excess bilirubin is rarely harmful. Still, delayed development, deafness and even cerebral palsy can occasionally result from severe jaundice. For this reason, you should always report signs of yellow skin, gums or eyes to your baby's doctor. Your pediatrician will recommend carefully watching the condition, or adjusting your breastfeeding habits as necessary. On a rare occasion, several doses of phototherapy, which is exposure to controlled doses of ultraviolet light, will be necessary to combat jaundice. Phototherapy works by changing bilirubin to a substance more easily broken down by your baby's liver. The good news is that once your baby's bilirubin levels drop, it's unlikely that jaundice-or your worries!-will return.More »
Last Modified: 2013-03-26 | Tags »
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Many newborns have colic. But what causes colic? How do you stop the crying? Find out more in this video.
Transcript: All babies cry- but if your infant can't seem to STOP wailing, your little one may be among the 20% of...
All babies cry- but if your infant can't seem to STOP wailing, your little one may be among the 20% of babies who have colic. Because sobbing is a baby's only way to communicate, it's not surprising that the average newborn cries some two hours a day. This crying is spread out over a 24-hour period, and a parent can expect it to stop once an infant's needs are met. In other words, if your baby is screaming because he's hungry, he'll likely settle down once you feed him. But if your infant just won't stop crying, he probably has colic. Colic is a term used to refer to an infant younger than five months who spends some three HOURS in a row crying, at least three DAYS a week, for at least three WEEKS! That's a lot of crying, and you're probably wondering what on earth causes it. No one is sure why some babies are more prone to colic than others, but it's widely suspected that colicky infants have sensitive or immature digestive systems. A newborn's digestive tract isn't yet adept at breaking down milk enzymes, so processing this food may cause frequent and painful gas. It's also possible that a colicky infant is sensitive to certain foods that are being received through breast milk. Common culprits include dairy, , cruciferous vegetables wheat, spicy food, nuts, strawberries, garlic and caffeine. Some experts also speculate, that a baby who won't stop crying is easily overwhelmed by the sights and sounds around him. Babies like this may experience much-needed physical release from screaming. And-not surprisingly-babies born to mothers who smoked during pregnancy are twice as likely to have colic. If you think your baby has colic, it's wise to take your little one to the pediatrician. Your doctor will be able to rule out other conditions that could cause your baby's sobbing. Additionally, your pediatrician will reassure you that colic usually lessens by a baby's third month and stops altogether by the fifth. If you're not sure you can maintain your sanity until then, check out other videos on this site to learn some surprising ways to calm the cries.More »
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