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6 Common Health Issues Of Newborn Babies

Baby in diaper – Image – Seventh Generation

There are never enough manuals on how to care for newborn babies. Babies are delicate little human beings who are dependent on their parents and it’s understandable how frustrating and helpless parents can feel when their babies are sick.

And to make matters worse, unlike older children, it’s not as if you can ask your baby what’s wrong.

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It is important to know how to help your sick baby, and to know the warning signs for more serious problems. Trust your intuition – if you are worried about your baby, call your healthcare provider right away.

Below are six of the most common health challenges that affect newborn babies:

Diaper rash
Diaper rash is a common form of inflamed skin (dermatitis) that appears as a patchwork of bright red skin on your baby’s bottom. Diaper rash is often related to wet or infrequently changed diapers, skin sensitivity, and chafing.

The most important way to prevent and treat a rash is to keep your baby’s diaper dry and clean. And make sure the diaper isn’t wrapped too tightly.

Also, apply cream or ointment with zinc oxide or petrolatum (petroleum jelly). Smooth it onto your baby’s clean, dry bottom before putting on a clean diaper. And apply some baby powder to the diaper area.

Newborn Jaundice
Newborn jaundice is a yellowing of a baby’s skin and eyes. Newborn jaundice is very common and can occur when babies have a high level of bilirubin, a yellow pigment produced during normal breakdown of red blood cells.

The good news is that in most cases, newborn jaundice goes away on its own as a baby’s liver develops and as the baby begins to feed, which helps bilirubin pass through the body.

In most cases, jaundice will disappear within 2 to 3 weeks. But if jaundice occurs within 24 hours of birth or lasts more than 3 weeks, the Paediatrician will investigate the cause and take necessary action.

Sleeping 24-day-old baby cradled by his mother | Image: UNICEF-UN0188884-Njiokiktjien VII Photo

Colic
Colic is frequent, prolonged and intense crying or fussiness in a healthy infant. Colic can be particularly frustrating for parents because the baby’s distress occurs for no apparent reason and no amount of consoling seems to bring any relief.

It is suggested that wind or indigestion may be involved in colic, but the causes are largely unknown.

Common Cold
A common cold is a viral infection of your baby’s nose and throat. Nasal congestion and a runny nose are the main signs of a cold.

Babies are especially likely to get the common cold, in part because they’re often around older children. Also, they have not yet developed immunity to many common infections. Within the first year of life, most babies have six to eight colds. They may have even more if they’re in child care centers.

There is no cure for the common cold. Most colds go away on their own after about seven to 10 days and do not turn into something more serious.

To treat a common cold in a baby. Keep the baby comfortable. Give the baby fluids. For babies 6 months or younger, let them drink breast milk or formula. At 6 months, the baby can also have some water. Let the baby get plenty of rest.

Cough
Children often cough when they have a cold because of mucus trickling down the back of the throat. By far the most common cause of coughing is a viral respiratory tract infection, like a cold or the flu. And most babies have six to eight colds within the first year.

Coughing also serves as the method the body uses to keep the airways clear, ridding the throat of phlegm, postnasal drip (nasal mucus that drips down the back of the throat), or a lodged piece of food.

There are different types of coughs, however, the two listed below would serve this purpose:

Baby Dry Cough: This occurs when a baby has a cold or allergies. A dry cough helps clear postnasal drip or irritation from a sore throat.

Baby Wet Cough: This results from a respiratory illness accompanying a bacterial infection. A wet cough causes phlegm or mucus (which contains white blood cells to help fight germs) to form in the baby’s airways.

Noisy breathing
Noisy breathing is very common in children. The cause can be anything from a blocked nose during a cold to a potentially serious condition like pneumonia or asthma.

Some of the noises that babies and children make when they breathe are perfectly normal. It can take some time to get used to the way your newborn breathes when you are a first time parent, but you can always ask your health visitor, doctor, or a more experienced parent for advice if you’re worried.

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