How To Treat Common Ailments In Newborns by Adwina Jackson
When your baby arrives, the days will be so much happier. However, you must also be prepared for bad situations.
Your newborn baby is very likely to face some of the common health problems in her early days. Moms usually get overly worried and panic finding their precious newborns sick.
Below are some of extremely frequent problems your newborn baby may face, with some easy, simple and effectual solutions to them.
1. Problem: Sticky Eyes
Most of the babies suffer from this problem, wherein a thick, sticky, yellowish mucous is secreted from baby’s eyes.
Sticky eyes are generally the outcome of blockage of lacrimal ducts (the tear ducts) in the eyes. Babies have fine lacrimal ducts so they are blocked easily.
All you need to do is dab some cotton wool in slightly warm, sterilized water (water boiled for 20 minutes and then cooled) and massage the corners of your baby’s eyes. Use different cotton wool for each eye to prevent cross infection. You may even consider applying cool tea. Place a tea bag in boiling water and let it simmer for a couple of minutes. Let the water cool down and then wipe the corners of the eyes using cotton wool. You can also gently massage around the eyes with your finger to help free the tear ducts.
2. Problem: Spitting up and Vomiting
First, it is important for the parents to understand the difference between the two. Spitting up generally occurs soon after feeding or sometimes up to an hour after they are fed, while real vomiting means throwing up of a large amount of the feeding and it is often forceful.
Spitting up is a normal phenomenon and goes on its own as your baby’s diet changes, i.e., with the introduction of solid foods in her 5th month.
Vomiting generally occurs due to inability to burp, when your baby is full, or when there is excess of mucous in stomach. Try burping your baby more often and feed her smaller amounts. Also, avoid playing with her vigorously. Another thing you can do in such a situation is to put the baby to sleep or give her few drops of gripe water. Even if she has vomited most of the feed, you do not need to feed her again immediately after she has vomited. Try to put your baby to sleep as sleep alone do wonders in making her well. You may wake her up a little sooner than usual for the next feed. However, if your baby is repeatedly vomiting, has green-tinged bile or blood in the vomit or is running a high temperature, take her to the pediatrician.
3. Problem: Gastroenteritis
Gastroenteritis is a common problem in newborns, caused because of inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. The symptoms of gastroenteritis include fever, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, chills, and aches. It is a contagious disease caused by bacteria and spreads through oral-fecal route. It usually occurs in babies suffering from immuno-suppression. The symptoms generally appear within four to 48 hours of exposure to bacteria and usually last for a day or two but in severe cases can persist for up to seven days.
The major critical consequence of this problem is dehydration due to excessive fluid loss by vomiting and diarrhea. Dehydration can be fetal. You, therefore, need to administer adequate amount of fluids to your baby. You can give your baby an electrolyte solution created for children (ask your pediatrician for a recommendation). Various unflavored/flavored oral dehydration solutions, commonly known under the brand names Pedialyte, Infalyte or Kaoelectolyte are available. However, consult with your pediatrician before you administer these fluids to your baby.
Continue breastfeeding or formula feeding, as that too would help preventing dehydration, and often alone are enough to keep your baby hydrated.
Warning! Never give your baby any anti-diarrhea medication because it can have potentially serious side effects and generally is no good treating gastroenteritis.
4. Problem: Baby Jaundice or Neonatal Jaundice
Baby Jaundice or Neonatal Jaundice refers to yellowing of baby’s skin and white of the eyes on second or third day of birth. It is a very common problem in newborns, affecting about 80-90 % of babies during their first week of life.
Baby jaundice is caused because soon after birth, baby’s liver is not efficient enough to dispose off a yellow pigment called bilirubin, formed by normal metabolic breakdown of hemoglobin in the red blood cells. As a result, bilirubin accumulates in the blood giving yellowish appearance to baby’s skin and eyes. Most of the babies do not require a treatment of jaundice, as it tends to clear up on its own when baby’s liver starts functioning efficiently.
You may fasten the recovery of your baby by the following:
Give your baby a little exposure to sunlight in the early morning or late afternoon. Never expose your baby to the strong rays of the midday sun as it may cause sunburn.
Feed your baby as often as possible as it would help excretion of excess bilirubin via urine.
You should always call your healthcare profession as sometimes bilirubin levels may be very high and your baby might have a specific treatment, Phototherapy. In this treatment, a baby is placed naked (with her eyes covered) in a special crib and is exposed to controlled amounts of ultra violet light. Ultra violet breaks down the pigment levels in the skin and helps recover jaundice. In another version of treatment, the baby is wrapped in a fiber-optic blanket called a bili-blanket or bili-pad. You may hire a bili-blanket with your doctor’s prescription and treat your baby at home.
5. Problem: Common Cold
Almost every baby suffers from runny nose very now and then. This is a mild viral infection that occurs very frequently in babies because their immune system is not very well developed yet.
There is no medicine, which can kill the virus causing common cold and cure cold. However, you can comfort your baby and prevent infection go worse by ensuring that she gets plenty of rest and by giving a plenty of fluid (frequently feeding the baby).
You can ease her congestion by:
Administer a few saline drops in baby’s nostrils to loosen up the mucous and after a few minutes suck the saline using a rubber bulb saline.
Washing baby’s nose with warm water containing menthol or eucalyptus oil may also help unclog her nose. You can even make her inhale steam, either plane or containing eucalyptus oil vapors.
You can make her sleep with head slightly elevated by placing a towel under crib’s mattress. This will help prevent postnasal drip.
You can apply petroleum jelly outside her nostrils to lessen irritation.
In case your baby is running temperature as well, you can give her infant’s acetaminophen. Never give your baby aspirin because it makes babies susceptible to Reye’s syndrome.
Warning! Never use nasal spays on babies unless prescribed by your healthcare professional.
6. Problem: Colic
Many babies have crying attacks in the evening, usually between 6 pm and 9 pm. They cry loudly, stretch their legs up and turn bright red. These attacks are termed as ‘colic’ and can last for hours.
Colic or crying attacks are generally caused when the babies have excess of gas in their tummies. In this case, you can consider doing the following:
Ensure that your baby is not swallowing air from a bottle.
Burp your baby frequently even while breastfeeding.
Try giving your baby gripe water, other herbal remedies including as weak teas brewed from fennel, chamomile, or carom (ajovan) seeds.
Some babies also get gas due to inability to digest lactose, a constituent of milk (lactose intolerance). Changing baby’s milk can make the baby do better.
If you breastfeed, try changing your diet since it has an influence on milk you produce. Try eliminating spicy foods, beans, potatoes, high-fiber grains and caffeine and see if your baby does better.
If your baby is on formula, you can try Soy based formula as it is hypoallergenic.
You can make your baby calm by making her suck a pacifier, gently massaging, talking outside for a walk. You can also try feeding your baby since many babies cry and fuss from hunger.
7. Problem: Twitching, Acne and Dry Skin
Most babies tend to jerk while asleep. This kind of twitching arises because their nervous system is still developing and does not require any treatment; it tends to disappear once baby’s nervous system is fully developed.
Many babies get acne, usually towards the end of the first month. This is particularly distressing to many new parents. The acne is most probably caused due to exposure of baby to her mom’s hormones when inside mom’s womb. Treatment normally requires cleansing baby’s skin by clean, wet washcloth. If required gently wash your baby’s face with mild baby soap once a day and avoid laundering the crib sheets in harsh detergents.
Some babies have a very dry skin that usually peels off especially on the hands and feet. You can massage/apply baby lotion. Put some baby lotion on cotton and gently apply on baby’s skin. However, since in some cases, it may be a severe condition called eczema, it is advisable to seek your doctor’s advice.
Hope you get these tips helpful!
Adwina Jackson is a working mother of a gorgeous young boy. Join her guides about Newborn Guide at http://insparenting.com/guides/newborn-guide/ Visit her daily blog now where you can get helpful parenting stories and tips on http://insparenting.com/
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