Common Newborn Problems
- Jaundice: yellowing of the skin occurs in almost half of all babies. It is usually treated by frequent feedings and the use of bilirubin lights in severe cases. Your doctor will be able to tell if treatment is necessary by examining your baby and/or doing a blood test. If your baby is yellow on his face and upper part of his chest, then you may be asked to place him in front of a window for ten to fifteen minutes 3-4 times each day, although many experts say that this is unnecessary and you should make sure that your baby doesn't get too hot or too cold. The sunlight (and ultraviolet light if it is cloudy) helps to convert the bilirubin that makes his skin yellow into another substance that can pass in the urine. In some cases of blood type incompatibility, your baby may become severely jaundiced and require more aggressive treatment.
- Constipation: defined as the passage of hard, pellet-like stools that cause pain or bleeding (groaning or straining is normal) and not so much by how often your baby has a bowel movement (some breastfed babies only have one BM each week after they are 1 to 2 months old). Initial treatment is by giving 2-4 ounces of water or diluted prune juice once or twice a day or by changing to a soy based formula.
- Stuffy Nose/Sneezing: very common and usually caused by irritation from dry air, smoke, or dust. Try to eliminate common irritants. You can try using a humidifier or salt water nose drops.
- Thrush: white patches that coat the inside of the cheeks and tongue and cannot be easily wiped off. It is caused by a very mild yeast infection and is easily cleared up with a prescription medicine called Nystatin or Fluconazole.
- baby acne, drooling rashes, and flaky skin that will usually clear up on their own without treatment.
- Dry Skin: usually normal, but you can use a mild soap and a moisturizer once or twice a day.
- Spitting Up: many babies spit up (reflux) after eating due to overfeeding or because the valve that closes the upper part of the stomach is immature. It is usually not a concern as long as your baby is gaining weight and it is not causing him to cough or choke. Some steps to take to improve this problem are feeding smaller amounts, more frequent burping during feeds, avoiding pressure on his belly or vigorous activity after eating. It improves with age, usually without treatment.
- Watery Eyes: this is usually caused by a blocked tear duct and is not a concern unless the eyes become infected (let your Pediatrician know so that they can prescribe antibiotic eye drops). It usually clears up on its own before your baby is 12 months old.
- Diaper Rashes: very common and usually clear up in 3-4 days with a diaper rash cream. If it is not clearing up or is bright red and surrounded by red dots, your baby may have a yeast infection and will need an antifungal cream to help clear it up. Diaper rashes can be prevented by frequent diaper changes, increasing air exposure by keeping the diaper off as much as possible, and using a mild soap only after bowel movements (rinse with just warm water at other times).
- Upper Respiratory Infections: these are very common and include symptoms of a clear or green runny nose and cough and are usually caused by cold viruses. The best treatment is to use salt water nasal drops and a bulb suctioner to keep their nose clear. Call your Pediatrician if your child has high fever, difficulty breathing or is not improving in 7-10 days
For more information:
More Topics for Your Two Week Old
Ages and Stages Index
The Your Child At... articles are adapted from the Your Child newsletter and series of articles from keepkidshealthy.com and are used with the permission of Keep Kids Healthy, LLC.