It seems that babies always have their mothers worried about something new. However, as any pediatrician will tell you, confident moms aren’t born, they’re nurtured. But that doesn’t mean you need to get through every little crisis on your own. To give you a crash course in confident parenting, we’ve gathered the opinions of pediatricians on newborn health issues that hurt your brain but are normal. Here are the top 10 things doctors want you to know.
1. Your baby may be losing weight.
Babies usually lose 10 percent of their body weight by the third day of life . (Breastfed babies may lose slightly more than bottle-fed babies because breast milk usually comes in on the third day after delivery.) What are the causes of weight loss in newborns? Because babies are lethargic from the trauma of birth, feeding is not a priority for them. More importantly, they are also excreting some of the fluids they were born with that will ease their burden. But don’t panic. “Babies are born with enough fluid in their system to get them through the first three to five days, whether they eat or not,” says Suzanne Corrigan, M.D., a Dallas pediatrician and spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics. . Miriam Bar-on, M.D., professor of pediatrics at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago, adds: “After a week, they start gaining weight again.” . If your baby doesn’t regain birth weight at the two-week checkup, or if he or she loses more than 10 percent of his or her weight in the first few days, your doctor may suggest steps you can take, such as supplementing breastfeeding with some formula.
2. You should trust your instincts.
Everyone from your mother to the mailman will give you advice. While they may have more experience in parenting than you do, don’t underestimate your own instincts. After all, you rock, bathe, cuddle, change diapers, calm and feed this baby every day. Who can know him better than you? “Your own intuition will help you through a lot,” says Gwen Wurm, M.D., M.P.H., chief of community pediatrics at the University of Miami School of Medicine. . “Most parents have a sixth sense of what their child needs. I’m not suggesting that you ignore the symptoms of illness, but if you think everything looks good, then it probably is.”
3. Reckless behavior is commonplace.
A newborn’s skin may be soft, but it is often indistinct. Infantile acne usually breaks out in the first few days to weeks of life and is a major but temporary skin destroyer. Dr. Corrigan says: “It happens while the mother’s estrogen is still circulating in the baby’s body, and it goes away on its own.” . The same thing happens to the face, where blocked oil glands cause tiny white pimples to appear. Toxic red spots, small white or yellow bumps around the red, blotchy skin,” scares the crap out of everyone, says Dr. Corrigan. “We usually see it in babies under 10 days old. We don’t know what’s causing it, but it usually lasts three to five days and doesn’t make any sense.” Seborrheic dermatitis, or milk scabs, can also cause scaly, flaky skin on your baby’s eyebrows, behind the ears, and on her neck. Again, no treatment is neededーーjust wash with a mild, hypoallergenic soap. A rash that needs prompt treatment? Any oozing or accompanied by fever (which may indicate infection) and those that seem to get worse with simple treatment. 4.
4. spitting up.
You’ve just finished feeding your baby and she’s wearing her lunch. What’s going on? In newborns, the muscles that close the mouth of the stomach are sometimes loose and underdeveloped, allowing formula or breast milk to come right back up. But don’t worry that your baby will be hungry. “Spill a tablespoon and a half of fluid on the counter,” advises Dr. Bar-on. “See the mess it makes? “Combined with regurgitated mucus, it will look like the baby is spitting up a lot more than it actually is. If you’re bottle-feeding, to prevent spit-up, you can feed semi-upright, tilting the bottle so your baby drinks from the nipple (not the air). Use the breast or bottle, burp a few times, and keep her upright for a few minutes after feeding.
5. Coughing is common.
Babies cough and sneeze for the same reasons we do: to clear their nasal passages of irritants such as dust, or to clear mucus or saliva from their throats. Dr. Corrigan says, “Coughing and sneezing are the only ways infants can clear their airways, including clearing lint, vomit, and so on.” . “It doesn’t necessarily mean illness.” When does a problem occur? When it’s accompanied by congestion or fever or it interferes with your baby’s eating and sleeping.
6. strange poop is completely normal.
Nothing excites parents more than when their child poops. What is normal depends on your baby and her diet. At every feeding, breastfed babies will poop loose, yellow, mustard-like stools. Bottle-fed babies, whose stools have a more mayonnaise-like texture, may go only two to three times a day. “Newborns often have an active colic reflex, says Dr. Baron. “Eating relaxes their reflex, which causes them to poop.” But even if your baby isn’t very prolific, don’t worry. Dr. Corrigan says: “Breastfed babies may poop every other day, or even every four days, and then make a big fuss.” . “Everything is normal. Bottle-fed babies poop three to four times a day, then twice a day, and finally once a day. As their digestive system matures, their stools tend to decrease.”
How do you know if your baby is constipated? Don’t rely on the purring sounds she usually makes when she has a bowel movementーーshe’s just creating stress to help evacuate herself. Chitra Reddy, M.D., an assistant professor of pediatrics at the New Jersey State University of Medicine and Dentistry in Newark, says: “It’s not the amount of stool that gets you to the doctor, it’s the consistency.” . If her stools get hard several times in a row, she may be constipated. If your baby’s poop is more watery or bloody than usual, call your doctor, too. “These could be signs of infection or formula intolerance,” notes Dr. Reddy.
7. Your baby’s belly button feels no pain.
It’s black and purple. It’s withered. And it’s very nasty. But your baby’s umbilical cord has no nerve endings, so don’t be afraid to deal with it. To help it fall off within the recommended two to four weeks, your doctor recommends that you wipe it with alcohol after every diaper change. Let your doctor know if the umbilical cord has not fallen off after four weeks. Some rare immune problems are associated with cords that shed slowly.
8. Doctors don’t mind calling.
No woman wants to look like a hysterical mother, but sometimes calling the doctor is necessaryーーno one knows this better than the pediatrician herself. “Most of us are parents, too,” says Dr. Corrigan. “We all know what it’s like to get up in the middle of the night to take care of a sick child. We know you can’t schedule an emergency.” Don’t fret about bothering the doctor. If something is wrong, they want to hear from you. If you call during business hours to ask a basic question (how to bathe your baby, how to tell if she’s eating enough), chances are you’ll talk to a nurse or other knowledgeable person who can give you the information you need. “Use your common sense and do what you feel is right,” Dr. Bar-on says. “If you have a problem, call me.”
9. Babies cry, cry, cry.
Most pediatricians say you can expect to cry for about three hours a day – from whimpering to crying out. “That’s the minimum,” says Suzanne Corrigan, M.D. “Crying is the only way a baby has to express himself – to express that he’s hungry, bothered, scared or tired, among other things. Each cry may have a different pitch, and it takes a while for you to sort them all out.” So, if crying is normal, how do you know it really indicates a problem? “Crying can seem different in some way,” says Gwen Wurm, MD. It may sound more shrill than usual, or persistent, or uncontrollable. If it’s easy to calm your baby, the crying probably doesn’t mean anything serious.
10. moms need sleep too.
What kind of new mom doesn’t check her sleeping baby’s breathingーーnot once, not twice, but several times a night? But looking at the bassinet table will only make you more tired. “There’s no evidence that hypervigilance prevents sudden infant death syndrome,” Dr. Wurm says. “In fact, there is little evidence that even an apnea monitor (an electronic device that watches your breathing) prevents SIDS unless there is a medical reason to do so.” A smarter strategy: put your baby to sleep on her back, use a firm mattress, take blankets, pillows and stuffed animal toys away from the crib, and don’t put too much pressure on her. “There are specific things you can do to reduce the risk of SIDS,” Dr. Wurm says. But watching your baby’s every breath is not one of them.