Our babies are so precious and so fragile. It is normal for any new parent to worry about how healthy their baby is, especially if it is the first. However, there are many things that a baby does that are completely normal and just take a bit of getting used to. First, babies are noisy. They have no way of communicating how they feel other than crying to start with. So, don’t worry too much unless there are other symptoms.
Some new parents are astonished at how many soggy diapers a tiny baby can produce. Again, this is normal, and is actually a good sign, as long as the baby is not experiencing loose stool. The main concerns for a new baby are dehydration, failure to put on lbs and any high temperatures or rashes.
New parents may feel they are stressing out their doctors by getting the baby checked out regularly, but if you are concerned, remember that you know your baby best, and if the baby is behaving in a way that seems abnormal, it is better to get the baby to a doctor to be on the safe side. Parenting has a huge learning curve and we may laugh in hindsight about what caused us so much stress in the early days. However, it is better to bring home a healthy baby and feel embarrassed than to do nothing and end up with a very sick baby.
20 They Cry a Lot
All babies cry, and some babies cry a lot. Crying is the baby’s way of communicating with you and of indicating that he needs comfort and care. There are many reasons that a baby will cry. Primarily it will be to tell you they are hungry, but it could also be because of a dirty diaper or because they are feeling discomfort.
The baby might just want comfort, and a cuddle will do the trick. Or it could have been overstimulated and is telling you he’s tired. If none of these reasons seem to be the cause, check that the baby is not too hot or cold or doesn’t have gas.
19 They have a Lot of Messy Diapers
Babies have a small tummy and therefore a small digestive system. Some breastfed babies will pass something every time they feed. Each baby is very individual in terms of digestion, and the number of messy diapers will change as they grow.
However, it is a good sign to have wet diapers as it shows the baby is getting enough fluid. Bowel movements may be less easy to predict, but with a breastfed baby there may be less than with a bottle-fed baby. It is not unusual for a small baby to need ten changes in twenty-four hours, so don’t panic, it’s quite normal.
18 They have White Spots on their Face
The little-raised spots that appear on a baby’s face are completely normal. It may be a surprise to see a spotty baby, but around fifty percent of newborns develop these spots that are also called milia. They are nothing to worry about and usually disappear within a couple of weeks.
Babies usually develop them around the mouth, nose, and ears, according to Good to Know. They do not cause the baby any discomfort, they are simply blocked pores. Despite being referred to as milk spots, they have nothing to do with milk, they are simply referred to in this way because of their milky color.
17 Their Breathing Changes as they Sleeps
One of the most stressful things about having a new baby is worrying that it will stop breathing. Parents spend a lot of time staring at the baby in the crib, stressing at every snuffle and snort.
Babies have a surprisingly large repertoire of sleeping noises that fall within the realms of ‘normal.’ Their breathing can change throughout the night from fast to slow and sometimes may even appear to stop for a couple of seconds. If you are at all nervous, go by the Look, Listen and Feel approach. Babies suggest, Look to see if the baby is breathing, Listen to see if you can hear it, and Feel the baby’s nose and mouth with your cheek.
16 They Have Cold Hands and Feet
You may find that your baby’s hands and feet feel very cold and assume that the baby needs wrapping up. It may not be the case. Babies have a slow circulation system as the rest of the body needs the blood and heat to function and grow. This can cause the outer extremities to feel cold to the touch.
The insides of the baby’s body need the heat more as it develops, and the baby may not be in any discomfort at all. If you are concerned about temperature, feel the back of the baby’s neck or its back, which will give you a better indication if he is cold.
15 They Spit Up
It can be very disheartening to feed a baby, only to have the whole meal come back up again. However, until the baby’s stomach has fully developed, spit up will appear and is generally nothing to worry about.
The baby may give a big burp and curdled milk will dribble from its mouth, possibly without the baby seeming to notice. This is quite different from upchucking. If your baby appears to be spitting up a lot and you are concerned about it taking enough milk, check the diapers are wet and that there are some bowel movements. Spit up often seems like a lot, but can in reality, be a tiny bit of milk that has gone undigested.
14 They Have a Lot of Gas
Babies suffer from a lot of gas, some more than others. Tiny bubbles of air get trapped in the baby’s stomach and they have to be released one way or another. It is very common in new babies, who need time to let their stomachs develop.
Each baby is different, and some suffer from a lot of wind, while others seem to breeze through. If a baby is struggling to release wind and is becoming uncomfortable, it is important to burp the baby after and during a feeding. If it still struggles to get the wind out, some gentle massage on the stomach can help expel it.
13 They Have Muscle Spasms
It can be quite frightening to watch a sleeping baby, then suddenly see an arm raise or a leg twitch. This is usually quite normal. The baby has an immature nervous system and twitching in the sleep is quite common.
Small babies struggle to control their reflexes and it may just be responding to a noise or a change in temperature in the only way its body can. If it is worrying you, try holding down the arm or leg that was twitching and if it falls still, there is nothing to worry about. If it doesn’t or the twitching occurs when the baby is awake, it is a good idea to get it checked out. Sleep twitching usually ceases by about four months old, according to Parents.
12 They Can’t Stop Feeding
it might feel like you are a human milk machine if you are constantly breastfeeding your baby. Some babies just seem to feed and feed and feed! If they are experiencing a growth spurt, this might occur in bottle-fed babies too, but it seems to be more prevalent in a breastfed baby.
Sometimes the baby is just seeking comfort from the breast, or it might be what is known as ‘cluster feeding.’ This is when the baby feeds regularly within a couple of hours, taking a small amount of milk each time, then coming back for more. It is not a problem, the baby’s stomach is small, so it can only take a little milk, and it helps to establish milk supply too.
11 They Only Take a Little Milk at a Time
Some babies are hungrier than others. It can seem very worrying when you know what the recommended amount of milk is for the age that your baby is, and they won’t take it. However, appetite is more complex than that. How much milk the baby is taking will depend on size, birth mass and rate of development.
As long as the baby seems happy between feeds and has plenty of wet diapers, there should be no reason to worry. A couple of weeks later the baby may be guzzling milk as it has a growth spurt. Otherwise, it might be teething even if it is very young.
Consult a Doctor
10 They Have a High-Temperature
If your baby has a temperature of 100 degrees F or above, it may have an infection and need medical attention. Even if the temperature is not at this point, but you are concerned that your baby might have a fever, you know your baby best, so seek medical advice if you are concerned.
The most reliable way to take a baby’s temperature is to put a thermometer under the armpit and take the reading from there. If your baby feels hot or clammy and has flushed cheeks, these are also signs of a fever. They may be teething or something that is not serious, but it is worth checking with a doctor.
9 They Have Loose Stool
Sometimes babies make a lot of runny poos. This is normal and very common in breastfed babies, especially if the mom has been eating high fibrous foods. However, if the baby is passing a lot of very runny #2's and there are no lumps in it, this could be diarrhea and needs attention.
The main problem a baby faces as a result of loose stool is dehydration and young babies are very susceptible to this. The most important thing to do when a baby is experiencing this is to keep them hydrated, so feed them as normal and top up with water if they are not taking much milk. You can also use baby-friendly oral rehydration solution and seek medical attention if the situation doesn’t improve.
8 They get sick often
Vomiting in babies has the same risk as loose stool, that of dehydration. There are many causes, from car sickness or even prolonged coughing, according to Emma’s Diary. If a baby has a stomach flu, such as gastroenteritis, they may be prone to dehydration and prolonged vomiting.
If it doesn’t go away and the baby is not taking any fluids, it is best to seek medical attention to ensure that the baby doesn’t experience a lack of fluids. If the baby’s stomach is swollen, they have a rash, shortness of breath or a fever, get the baby checked out by a doctor.
7 They Have a Rash that Won’t Go Away When a Glass is Pressed Against It
Babies are prone to rashes from baby acne, heat or eczema, reports Healthline. However, there are a couple of serious illnesses that have a rash as one of their symptoms. One of these is chickenpox, which presents as a rash of fluid filled bumps that are itchy and irritating.
A measles rash consists of small white spots with a red rim, followed by a red rash. This is accompanied by flu-like symptoms and sensitivity to light. The most problematic rash is the one that does not disappear when a glass is pressed against it and this can be a sign of septicemia as a result of meningitis. If you suspect meningitis, take the baby to the hospital as soon as possible.
6 They Raise their Knees to their Chest and Cry Persistently
If your baby is very distressed and raises its knees to its chest, seeming to be in discomfort, it could be from colic. This condition is a mystery to doctors, but it is classified as a pain felt by the baby in threes. If the baby cries for more than three hours a day, it happens more than three days a week and goes on for more than three weeks, this may well be colic! Reports Web MD.
Its causes are not known specifically, but it seems to be irritated by gas, by a growing digestive system, and by hormones. It can be hard to treat colic, and it may be a case of trying one thing and if that doesn’t work, moving on to another until the most suitable treatment is found. Your doctor can help and remember that it does go away on its own, usually around four months old.
5 Their Fontanelle is soft, and they Have Dry Lips
The fontanelle is the area of the baby’s head that remains soft for the first few weeks to allow it to pass through the birth canal and to accommodate the growing brain. If the fontanelle looks depressed it could be a signal of something being wrong. The most common reason is dehydration and there will be other signs to indicate this, such as dry lips and diapers.
It can sometimes be a sign of malnutrition, also called ‘failure to thrive,’ where the baby is having problems absorbing nutrients from its food. Reasons for this include food intolerances or genetic disorders, according to New Kids Center. If you have any concerns that your baby might have any of these conditions, see a doctor who will check the baby over.
4 They Won’t Take Any Food or Liquid
Babies’ appetites fluctuate and some days they won’t eat much, followed by a flurry of feeding a few days later. However, if your baby refuses to eat or drink and is not gaining lbs, there may be something else going on. It could be something as simple as teething, but it is worth seeking medical advice to ensure that it is not something more serious.
It could be that the baby has an infection that is causing discomfort from eating or drinking. It is important to see a pediatrician in case dehydration sets in and so that tests can be performed to rule out more serious problems. You know your baby best, so be guided by a parent’s instinct.
3 They are Floppy and Lethargic
If your baby is usually quite perky and suddenly becomes lethargic and is floppy in your arms, you need to get her checked out by a doctor. It can be something simple that will go away in a couple of days, but it is not normal in a healthy baby if it is prolonged.
If the lethargy is accompanied by other symptoms such as labored breathing, a high temperature or a rash, it is time to get to the doctor. If the baby is unresponsive or you have trouble waking them, go to the hospital straight away. The doctors would rather you erred on the side of caution than worried about wasting their time.
2 Their Breathing is Labored
Labored breathing is not a good sign in a baby. It can be a sign of asthma, which can be treated with inhalers. If the baby is breathing unusually quickly or is struggling to catch its breath, medical help should be sought as soon as possible.
No doctor will take this situation lightly. It might an issue with the baby’s lungs that can be rectified. However, it can be a stressful experience for a parent, and doctors will understand your concern. It could be a fever or croup or even an allergy that is causing the labored breathing, but it could be something like pneumonia, so, New Health Advisor recommends your take the baby to be checked out immediately.
1 It is Hard to Wake the Baby
If you are struggling to wake your baby for feeding, or if the baby is hard to wake at all, it might be time to consulate a doctor. It could be a sign of low blood sugar, according to Parent Savvy, but you should get the baby checked out by a doctor nonetheless. If the baby is unwell it may seem disoriented or confused when it does wake. Again, this needs checking by a doctor.
Sometimes dehydration can be a cause of an overtired baby, so let the doctor know if you spot any other symptoms, such as dry diapers or dry lips. Doctors can perform tests to check the reasons for the deep sleep, which can range from low muscle tone to allergies. It could even be something as simple as the baby being in a deep sleep. Get medical advice to be on the safe side and for reassurance.