During the first few days after birth, certain weight loss is normal. The extent of weight loss, though variable from baby to baby, is in general greater in the breastfed babies as compared to those on formula. On a long-term basis, it does not make any difference.
Jaundice, or the yellow color of the skin and the whites of the eyes, is very common in the newborn period. Most of the time this condition is not of any concern. If the condition is considered significant by the doctor, appropriate laboratory tests will be ordered. Babies are kept under lights if jaundice is excessive and it takes 2-5 days to lower the jaundice count. Premature babies and babies on breast milk tend to have a high jaundice count.
Sneezing, Coughing and Hiccups
Many babies have stuffy noses during the first few weeks. This is normal and should not be of much concern as long as the baby is sucking and sleeping well. Sneezing is a way nature helps the baby clear the nose. Mostly it is not from infection. Hiccups are very common in the first few months and nothing should be done about it. They will disappear as the baby grows older.
The most important way to prevent diaper rash is to keep the diaper area clean and to change the diaper as soon as it is wet or dirty. After the baby has a bowel movement, wipe the bottom and the creases with a soft cloth or cotton balls and water. If the baby has a diaper rash, the rash can be handled by frequent diaper changes to keep the diaper area dry and clean. Baby wipes can make diaper rash worse. Changing the diaper during the night when your baby is sleeping will help when diaper rash is present. Often times keeping the diaper area exposed to air without a diaper is effective when other measures such as A&D Ointment or Desitin Ointment have been ineffective. Avoid using plastic pants over diaper if there is a rash. Diaper should be fastened loosely. We do not recommend the use of baby powder in the diaper area or anywhere else on the baby's body.
Some babies develop patches of yellow, scaly, greasy-looking crust over the scalp. This could usually be cleared by soaking the scalp in baby oil for 2-3 hours followed by brushing the scales off the scalp and then washing with baby shampoo or diluted Head and Shoulders shampoo.
Other than causing light fussiness, teething does not produce any symptoms. Fever, diarrhea, vomiting, colds and eye discharge should not be attributed to teething.
Blocked Tear Duct and Eye Discharge
Slight eye discharge, white or yellow, is not too unusual but it may need some eye drops or ointment if it does not improve with cleaning with water and soft clean cotton cloth. Get in touch with us if you notice any.
Most babies spit up a few times a day and mostly this is not a problem. We do recommend treatment for this condition if spit ups cause baby to have excessive fussiness, coughing/sneezing, choking spells or failure to gain weight.
Colic is manifested by fussing, crying and passing of gas. It is another very common problem found in the first few weeks of life. The exact cause of colic remains undetermined. It may at times be helped by medication or paying attention to proper feeding techniques or changing the formula. Some babies pass more gas than others. Passing gas and having green stools is not unusual and is considered normal phenomenon.
The frequency and color of stools vary tremendously. If the baby is comfortable and seems to be gaining weight, one should not worry. Occasionally a baby may not pass a stool for 2-4 days; however, if the stool is soft, it is not considered constipation and does not need any change of diet or medicine.
When any newborn (under 3 months of age) develops a rectal temperature above 100.4°, the parent should consult the doctor and the baby should be examined as early as possible.
Some guidelines for caring for your child when he/she has a fever are as follows:
- Keep your child lightly clothed. The fewer clothes, the faster the fever will go down.
- Use only a single sheet or no covers at all. Heavy covers, blankets and quilts tend to hold fever in.
- Keep the child's room cool--no warmer than 68-70°.
- Give lots of cool clear liquids (Pedialyte, cracked ice, sherbet and juices) to your child. This will cool your child and replace water loss.
- Fever up to 102° may be beneficial to the child to fight infection and it is not necessary to take measures to bring the fever down. For fevers over 102°, you may give Tylenol every 4-6 hours.
- A cool washcloth on the forehead may be soothing but do not give sponge baths.
- Do not give your child an enema for fever. Enemas should be given on doctor's orders only.
- Febrile seizures are relatively rare and are harmless.
- Click here for information on Tylenol (acetaminophen) and Motrin/Advil (ibuprofen) dosing.
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