Common Problems

Cradle cap

This is a scaly, greasy-looking crust that forms on the head. It is caused by heavy secretion of oil from the glands in the scalp and can be prevented by shampooing the baby's head daily. If cradle cap does occur, brush the head with a soft baby brush and apply oil. Let the oil soak into the crust and soften it. Don't put oil on the head after the shampoo.

Colic

An infant with loud, screaming, inconsolable cries that continue for most of the day, may have colic. The first time the baby acts like this, they should be seen by a healthcare provider to ensure there is no other serious problem.

Colic may be caused by abdominal gas, although the exact cause is uncertain. A baby with colic may get restless after feedings. There is no set pattern or time limit to the crying. Colic usually goes away when the baby is about 3 months old. Try to lay your baby stomach-down across your knees and gently massage the back to help relieve pain and crying. Eliminate possibly irritating foods from your diet (i.e. milk products, caffeine, cabbage, onions) if nursing. You may need to get away from the constant crying by going out for a night.

Cold

A cold is characterized by sneezing, a runny or stuffy nose, and coughing. If your baby has a cold, nursing or bottle-feeding may be difficult for the baby. To make breathing easier, add more moisture to the baby's room with a cool mist humidifier and remove excess mucus from the nose with a soft, rubber syringe. If fever is also present, consult your healthcare provider about how to treat it.

Never give your baby aspirin to bring the fever down. Aspirin may cause serious problems in children. If your infant develops a deep, wheezing or constant cough; rash; and/or a fever that lasts more than a few hours or returns after 3 days, consult your healthcare provider.

Thrush

Thrush is a fungal infection that causes white patches to form inside the mouth. These patches will bleed if rubbed. Contact your healthcare provider if you notice these symptoms.

Jaundice

Your newborn baby's liver works slowly at first. This causes bilirubin to build up faster than the liver can get rid of it. Bilirubin is a breakdown product of the red blood cells made by the body and removed by the liver. This build up may cause the baby's skin or whites of the eyes to become yellow, also known as jaundice. Most jaundice is normal. It appears on the 2nd or 3rd day of life, peaks at 2-5 days and gradually disappears.

Some jaundice requires more monitoring:

  • jaundice beginning within the first 24 hours after birth
  • jaundice which is more severe
  • jaundice that occurs with other conditions

To treat jaundice, your baby is placed under a special light or special "bili" blanket to help bilirubin go away faster. If the jaundice gets worse or your baby is not feeding well when you go home, call you baby's healthcare provider.

When to call your healthcare provider

  • A foul odor or drainage from the umbilical cord or if the skin surrounding the cord is red or swollen
  • Skin color is yellow, bluish or pale
  • Rectal temperature is less than 97 Degrees F or more the 101 Degrees F
  • Irritability
  • Excessive drowsiness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Restlessness in a baby who usually sleeps well
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Stiffness or inability to move a part of the body
  • Rapid or grunting respirations
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