All new parents, whether they’re caring for baby #1 or #4, feel concern when their little one suffers from a health problem — even if it’s one that’s common in infants.
So, don’t worry. You’re not alone.
Not only that, but Dr. Madhav Devani and our entire team of caregivers at Ross Bridge Medical Center are devoted to supporting your family any time you need us, whether it’s for expert care, education, or just a listening ear.
If you have a new baby at home and need a primer on the types of health issues your little one might run into, read on.
Health conditions that affect newborns and infants
When you think about it, newborns and infants are so new to this world that many things can affect their brand new skin, digestion, and immune systems. In the first six months with your baby, you will likely deal with:
- The common cold
- Complications related to nursing
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Skin issues
When it’s obvious your baby is in distress, she’ll likely cry, have trouble resting, and give you special cues that only you, as her parent — the expert on her — will recognize. Rest assured, you can deal with most of these problems at home, but also remember that we’re here when you need us.
The common cold
When your baby has a cold, you’ll know it. He’ll be stuffed up, cough, and may run a fever. In order to relieve his congestion, try using a nasal syringe to extract excess mucus. One of our providers might also suggest using it to administer some saline drops.
Moist air can also help relieve congestion, so placing a humidifier in your baby’s room can help unclog his nose, too.
It’s important to know that since babies haven’t been exposed to many — or any — illnesses yet, fevers come with the territory of parenting. You can relieve a fever by making sure your baby is well hydrated and gets plenty of rest.
If your baby is 0-3 months old, a minor fever is routine, but if it’s above 100.4, call us and we may advise that you bring the baby in. Ditto if your baby is 3-6 months and her temp goes over 102 degrees.
The Mayo Clinic’s website has a handy guide that covers when you can treat a fever at home and when you should consult a doctor.
Colic is one of the most common and uncomfortable conditions that babies suffer from, yet not a lot is known about it. Your baby has colic if she cries for prolonged periods (several hours typically) and is hard to soothe. She may also be gassy and have a swollen tummy.
Causes can include the effect of Mom’s diet on the baby (if she’s nursing) and overstimulation, but we’re still not completely sure about its origins. Burping your baby, giving her a warm bath, swaddling her, and going for a drive have all been known to help.
It’s important for you to get a break if your baby has colic too, as it’s very stressful dealing with the crying and distress that goes along with colic and seeing your baby in distress.
Babies can also suffer from constipation and diarrhea as their new digestive systems get acclimated to breast milk, formula, and their first taste of solid food. Generally, constipation occurs once your baby starts on solid foods and water, but fiber-rich cereal and pureed prunes can help ease symptoms.
If you’re nursing and your baby has diarrhea, eliminate certain foods from your diet one by one to see if it makes a difference. An infection could be the cause, also. Finally, it’s critical to keep your baby hydrated, so feel free to call us to discuss using Pedialyte or Infalyte (just don’t administer until we’ve talked).
The most common skin issues for babies are diaper rash and cradle cap. Diaper rash is a painful, red rash that erupts on the baby’s bottom. Cradle cap is a yellow, flaky crust that develops on their scalp, which is more of a cosmetic problem than a health concern.
Topical ointments and frequent diaper changes will help alleviate the rash. Soft brushing after washing your baby’s hair can help loosen the scalp scales, but it goes away on its own eventually.
We’re here when you need us
If you and your baby are dealing with one of these health issues — and these tips and some good old TLC haven’t helped — don’t hesitate to call us. Dr. Devani or another one of our providers will be happy to help. Call our office or book an appointment online.