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Common Health Problems in Infants

Newborn babies are very delicate and fragile. Their vital organs and immune system are still not fully developed so they are prone to sickness and health problems. It is best that mothers know what to do when their babies experience comment health problems in infants.

Infants go through dramatic physical, mental and physiological changes in the first year of life, most of which are expected. However, they are also susceptible to several health problems. The American Academy o f Pediatrics offers the following recommendations for dealing with some common conditions encountered by mothers:

Diarrhea

In the early months, babies have mustard-like, soft stools. That’s not diarrhea. Diarrhea is considered to be very loose, watery stools produced more than six or eight times a day. Diarrhea may have different causes. If your baby had diarrhea contact your doctor.

Extra sleepy babies

In a very short time, you’ll get a sense of how much sleep is normal for your baby. If you find that he’s sleeping a lot more than usual, talk to your doctor to help out the cause.

Baby’s delicate eyes

Babies are often born with one or both tear ducts blocked. They usually open in a couple of weeks, when the baby starts producing tears. If not, you may notice mucus around the eyelid. This usually isn’t harmful, but it could lead to infection if the duct remains blocked. Call your baby’s doctor if you notice anything unusual around his eyelids.

Baby acne

Baby acne is a common newborn condition. It is the outbreak of many small red pimples of whiteheads on a baby’s cheeks, forehead and chin that typically appears at 3 to 4 weeks of age. Baby acne occurs from mom’s hormones crossing the placenta into the baby in late pregnancy. Among other things, these hormones stimulate the oil glands on the baby’s skin, resulting in baby acne.

Because it is most prominent when a baby is hot or fussy, or when the skin is irritated, baby acne can be minimized by not overdressing or bundling your baby, washing your baby with mild soap and using a gentle laundry detergent.

Dehydration

Whether related to heat exposure or illness such as fever or diarrhea, it is important to prevent your baby from becoming dehydrated. Watch for these signs of dehydration:

  • Plays less than usual
  • Decreased urination (less than 4 wet diapers in 24 hours)
  • No tears
  • Dry skin, mouth and tongue
  • Sunken eyes
  • Grayish skin
  • Sunken soft spot (fontanelle) on baby’s head

Call your baby’s doctor if any of these symptoms develop or if you have any questions about your baby’s health.

Fever

If your baby seems cranky or feels especially warm, take his temperature. Fever is a common event during your child’s growth from baby to adulthood. Fever is nature’s signal that the body may have an infection.

In children, normal body temperature is between 36°C and 37.5°C (96.8°F and 99.5°F). Generally, a temperature above 38°C (100.4°F) using an oral thermometer or 38.5°C (101.3°F) using a rectal thermometer is considered a fever temperature. If your child has a fever higher than 39°C (102°F), it is important to contact your physician

Vomiting

It’s common for babies to spit out now and then, especially very young ones. The cause might be gas, overeating, or over stimulation. But when vomiting becomes forceful or, if it’s accompanied by fever or diarrhea, contact your doctor

Rash

Scaly patches on your baby’s scalp might be ‘cradle cap.’ Sometimes just washing the hair and gently brushing off the flakes every day helps control it. The condition will usually go away after your baby’s a few months old.

Colds and Sniffles

You can help your baby through a cold by using a cool mist humidifier in his room and maybe using a bulb syringe to suction mucus gently from the nose. This is helpful especially before feedings, so your baby can breathe better. Don’t give your baby any medications for colds unless you speak with your doctor.

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