Moms sometimes have a hard time figuring out what could be wrong with the baby, but most times most moms fret over nothing, or rather very insignificant stuff. Parents worry when their baby sneezes, coughs, doesn’t sleep, oversleeps, or doesn’t eat. They check constantly to see if the baby is breathing. How do you know if something isn't right?
A new mom will actually find it very difficult to tell when their newborn baby needs a pediatrician’s attention. It takes time for a mom to identify and learn her new baby’s habits.
Once a baby is born, they should visit the pediatrician’s office several times. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that a baby visits its pediatrician six times before they get to a year old. These consistent visits ensure that vaccines are administered and to check if the baby is growing properly in regards to height and weight. Most importantly, the doctor visits help the pediatrician pinpoint any compelling issues in an infant’s development that can be treated before they affect the baby further.
Habits mostly tend to be subtle, but there is a chance that a mom realizes her baby has developed a habit if the infant does it repetitively, causing concern. Here's a quick list of 15 habits that could be a warning sign and require that you call your pediatrician. However, this doesn’t mean that we have exhausted the list. if you notice any worrying habits, it’s best safe to call your doctor.
15 The Baby Doesn’t Latch On
Breastfeeding sounds like quite the easy task, besides it is among the most natural thing to do. Apparently not! Most people assume that the process is straightforward and simple. The hard truth is that most moms struggle when it comes to breastfeeding their young ones. A major breastfeeding issue is a challenge to achieve the correct latch. A proper latch is required in order for a baby to nurse appropriately, not inflict too much pain on the mom and for the baby to get the required milk amount.
However, it’s no walk in the park for some babies. Factors that increase the difficulties for babies to latch properly include the position of the mom’s nipples, their shape, and the baby’s mouth shape. The infant could also be tongue-tied, which means that the frenulum, is a string of tissue found underneath the tongue that affixes the tongue to the mouth floor, is probably short.
Despite latching problems being prominent, it is advisable that you see your pediatrician who will check the baby and if tongue-tied, a short and simple operation can fix it.
14 Swallowing Doesn't Come Easy
It is said that a baby doesn’t gag when a mom introduces solid food, but that’s just but a myth. Newborns are naturally born with a gagging reflex that protects them from swallowing unidentified objects. When a mom introduces a new item to her baby’s diet, the normal reaction is a rejection of the item, gagging, then spitting the item out. This reflex is on the higher side in the initial weeks after birth. However, as the baby grows, the gags become less and the baby learns to eat solid items.
However, it is important to identify habits that could be hazardous and require a pediatrician’s attention:
If you feed your baby on formula, he may throw up (not just a bit of spit up) due to overfeeding or probably because he is intolerant to formula. 2) Your baby may also have a physical condition that counters normal digestion causing the baby to gag. 3) Vomit that is discolored or has a tinge of green could be a sign of an intestinal obstruction. 4) If your child vomits an unusually high amount of milk after breastfeeding or experiences missile-like, vigorous vomiting, this could be an indication of a more severe problem.
13 Doing #1 Irregularly
Sounds absurd? It is one thing to not urinate, but it is another when your baby seems to have issue urinating. Normally, a mom would brush this off since it doesn’t sound like cause for alarm.
As stated by Parent Savvy, your baby should, on average, use at least four diapers in the course of a day.
There are however some signs that your pediatrician needs to be consulted on that could be bad news for your baby.
If your baby looks distressed or shows discomfort while urinating, there is a chance they have a urinary tract infection. 2) If the baby’s diaper has stains colored either pink or salmon-like, there is a chance the baby’s urine is highly concentrated. Not to worry, this is not alarming news. However, if the staining becomes persistent, it is advisable to talk to the pediatrician in order to check for other underlying factors. 3) If there is a bloody spot or blood on your baby’s diaper there’s probably nothing to worry about. However, the baby needs urgent medical attention if the bleeding is accompanied by either a fever or abdominal pain.
12 Never Making Eye Contact
Most infants are born with marginally crossed eyes. In most cases, until the baby is four months old, his eyes will probably stay crossed. Babies’ eyes, with time, develop typically and they can place both people and objects into focus. However, it is cause for alarm when your baby has crossed eyes after four months, this happens in rare cases.
According to the American Ophthalmological Association and the American Optometric Association, every infant should have their initial check-up when they are nine months old. It is essential that in case your baby has an abnormal eye turning, you should take him to the hospital so that he’s tested even before he turns nine-months-old. This is to prevent any future complications and rectify the problem. The baby could be diagnosed with several conditions such as Strabismus. This is when either one or both eyes wander either up, down, outward or inward or they fail to line up.
Both eyes need to function together in order for good vision to develop. If the baby has strabismus, each eye presents a contrasting image. This eventually weakens one eye, further causing amblyopia which is worse. It is critical that your baby is checked so he develops a proper vision.
11 A Red Umbilical Cord
Most new moms are surprised to discover that the baby’s belly button, when they are born, is not as cute as they’d imagined. Basically, they don’t have one yet. What you forgot, is that the belly button was the point where the umbilical cord conjoined the placenta to the baby. During pregnancy, the cord delivered food and oxygen to the fetus. Once the baby is born it is not longer needed and so it is cut and clamped. Once it’s clamped, a stump is left that is purple in color and it eventually changes to dark brown till it falls off after a few weeks.
The stump is sensitive and should be cared for or it can get infected. It should be properly cleaned and kept dry at all times.
If it appears swollen, reddish, is constantly bleeding, is foul smelling or oozes pus; chances are something is wrong and the baby should see the pediatrician according to HealthLine.com.
10 Looking Sluggish
If the baby lacks or has little energy, sleeps longer than he should, and finds it hard to wake up to feed, there’s a probability that something is wrong. When he wakes up, if he looks sluggish or drowsy, doesn’t pay attention to any visual simulations or sounds and is barely alert, chances are that he has lethargy.
About Kids Health lets moms know that lethargy is very difficult to identify because it takes time to develop. It could either be a sign of a serious infection such as meningitis or influenza, or a normal cold. Heart conditions or blood diseases for instance thalassemia can be causes for lethargy.
Lethargy, however, can be caused by many other conditions and it is a symptom that is common to any illness. Due to this, it is advisable that once a mom notices the baby not only looks sluggish but experiences other symptoms synonymous with lethargy, she should inform her pediatrician for the baby to be checked. Treatment will be determined by the specific condition causing your baby to be listless and lethargic.
9 A Case Of Insomnia
Moms will swear that this is one of their worst nightmares. If your baby doesn’t sleep, chances are you won’t catch any sleep either. Sleep deprivation is not at all pleasant and reduces productivity and makes one moody.
Sleep Sense states that there a ton of reasons your baby won’t sleep.
Probably his diaper is soiled, he’s sick or hungry, or there’s too much going on around him. These are common reasons why your baby won’t sleep and you're probably used to them already.
Your baby is no machine. Just because you want him to nap doesn’t mean he will close his eyes every time you snap your fingers. What you can do is develop a routine just like the one adults and older kids conform to.
The brain can be trained on the number of hours and the pattern you can adapt to sleep and it conforms to that routine. During the first few weeks, it is completely normal for a baby not to catch a lot of sleep. However, if your baby refuses to nap completely or refuses to sleep while on his back, it is advisable that you take him to the pediatrician who can conduct a physical examination and identify any underlying causes.
WebMD states that jaundice is very common in newborns such that in most cases it is barely a cause for alarm. It is a yellow tint observed in a newborn’s sclera (white eye part) and the skin. It is an indication of excessive bilirubin in your baby's blood. Hyperbilirubinemia is the term used to describe the presence of too much bilirubin in the blood.
Many babies get jaundice in their first week of birth and it’s unfortunate that they only begin to experience the signs and symptoms of jaundice after they have left the hospital. Most doctors, therefore, prefer conducting a follow-up exam when the infant is between three to five days old. As stated, most infants get a case of mild jaundice.
Normally, it goes away by itself in a week or two without any negative impacts or it gets better. Jaundice should however not be taken lightly. This is because in rare situations if the levels of bilirubin are excessively high and remain untreated, there is a probability that your baby gets kernicterus brain damage, which can cause long-lasting complications.
7 Not Responding Normally To Sound
Your infant's hearing ability plays a big role and is the foundation of his learning ability. Normally, a pediatrician will conduct a screening to check for any signs of hearing impairment, but a parent/caregiver needs to be alert for any warning signs. Hearing loss signs will vary from baby to baby and the extent of the impairment will also vary.
Weird enough, the signs may not seem in any way as a concern. Maybe your baby is quite the sound sleeper, or according to What to Expect, perhaps he has colic and doesn’t relax to any soothing sound or voice.
If you notice the following signs it is advisable that you consult your pediatrician right away, especially in infants below four months:
If by two months, the baby doesn’t make sounds like ohh or keeps quiet when familiar voices are around. 2) If he’s not alarmed by a loud sudden sound, respond to voices, music or sounds. 3) If soft sounds don’t soothe him. 4) If he doesn’t wake up or move on hearing voices or noises nearby while sleeping in a very quiet room.
6 Difficulty Breathing
BabyCenter reminds moms that trouble breathing is serious and means you need to contact your pediatrician immediately. Below are signs that your baby is experiencing breathing difficulties.
The baby breathes much faster than usual. The head keeps bobbing. Grunts when the baby exhales. When your baby inhales, the tissue centrally located in the upper abdomen is sucked in. If you notice a bluish pigment on your baby's skin or lips. Babies’ lips are normally pink, it is, therefore, important to check your baby’s breathing if the lips turn blue. Dr. Danelle Fisher, MD is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the chair of pediatrics in Santa Monica, Florida, at Providence Saint John’s Health Center. She insists that this is not normal and it requires urgent doctor attention.
When a baby with blue lips starts to cough, has seizures and also a fever, you definitely need to rush the baby to the hospital. Don’t fret, however, when your baby is happy and playful after eating something blue or purple in color.
5 No Appetite
Newborns love to eat! They just don’t eat though, they eat a lot. A baby who weighs eight pounds should eat approximately 20 pounds in a day, a newborn’s average size. Totally unbelievable! This, however, will vary from infant to infant just like people’s appetites vary at every age.
If you observe that your baby who was eating a lot suddenly has no interest in taking the bottle or nursing, then there is cause for concern.
One thing to note is that with newborns there lacks reason or rhythm when it comes to the period they eat or how much they can consume in one feeding. However, one thing is for certain, a baby will feed when he is hungry.
If your newborn lacks appetite, there’s a probability he doesn’t like the breastmilk or formula fed, he could be sick or there could be an underlying problem that is best identified by your pediatrician.
4 The Crying Never Stops
Didn’t expect to see this? Well, this is because we are wired and have been reminded that babies cry. Everyone from their mom, friends, and doctors will remind a new mom that her baby will cry. Therefore, when the little one cries, most moms find it normal and dismiss it. What most moms don’t know is that even though they are already preparing themselves mentally for baby wails, they will be shocked to discover they cry even much more when born.
Even though your baby cries more than you thought he would, it is definitely normal that he is crying. He probably needs a nap, to eat, a diaper change has gas or just needs some tender love and care. If all these are sorted out, chances are he will calm down until he needs something again.
There could be a red flag, however, if your baby continues to cry for a long time after all his needs have been met. High chances are that he is sick. He could have gastrointestinal reflux (GERD). He may not be properly digesting formula, his stomach may reject the breast milk, or he could have colic, a disorder that causes extended crying spells whose cause is unknown.
It is therefore advisable to check with your pediatrician in order to identify the actual problem.
3 Makes Jerky Movements
According to Healthy Children.org, jerky movements are common in babies in their first weeks after birth. Sleep myoclonus is probably something you have not heard before, but if your little bundle of joy jerks suddenly while sleeping, or twitches involuntarily, there’s a chance he has sleep myoclonus and it could be upsetting him and the quality of his sleep.
Benign neonatal sleep myoclonus (BNSM) is a condition most people mistake for a seizure in the baby’s first month.
BNSM is in no way related to epilepsy and it normally occurs while the baby is sleeping. It is characterized by extreme lightning-fast jerks. It is a mild condition that normally disappears on its own within the first year, but the sad news is that the condition can prolong for up to three years.
Seeing your child experience such symptoms especially day in, day out, can be very scary and this may cause a mom, especially one who’s not a professional doctor to be constantly worried thinking it’s an epileptic seizure.
Even though it doesn’t cause harm to your baby and should go away after a year, it will definitely give a parent a scare and it could probably be a sign of something more serious. Best to talk to the doctor about it.
2 Always Sleeping
Doesn’t sound like a cause for alarm, matter of fact most mums wish their babies slept a little bit more so they can catch some sleep. Newborn babies love to sleep too, other than eating obviously! The Baby Sleep Site reminds us that babies sleep a lot. During the first week after birth, a newborn spends most of its time sleeping throughout the day and night. Although they sleep a lot, they also wake up a lot because they are hungry or their diapers are wet.
A newborn will on average spend close to 18-hours a day sleeping. Although it is normal, some cases of oversleeping could be considered unhealthy. If the baby sleeps for very long stretches of time and has to be wakened for feeding, something is probably wrong.
While you could have been blessed with a baby who loves naps, there is also a probability there is a bigger problem in play such as jaundice or an infection. If you feel that your baby is napping a little too much, it is advisable to inform your pediatrician.
1 All Blocked Up
You know how it feels when you’re experiencing constipation, it hurts and you feel pretty worked up since it is a waiting game. So, imagine the same thing happening to an infant. It is a very stressful ordeal for both the baby and the family. It is normally characterized by irritability, crankiness and a tummy ache.
Cases of babies not pooping for 20 days have been reported. This can be healthy, but unfortunately it happens constantly and to many babies. Any mom would wonder why, but several factors will obviously cause this, including the age of the baby and whether the baby is being fed via the bottle or breastfed.
If you have come from the hospital with your newborn and it’s been three days since he went number two, it is probably safe to consult your pediatrician.
Professionals state that a baby who is breastfeeding should poop up to five times a day. Although constipation is common, it can be precipitated by underlying medical ailments including botulism, hypothyroidism or various food allergies.