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5 Common Newborn Problems

Updated: Apr 20, 2021

As a new parent, or even an old one, you might not know what to do when your baby comes down with a cold or has diarrhea, or you don’t even know why your baby has been crying all day, and you can’t seem to figure out the problem and you’ve probably heard hundreds of old wives’ tale, concerning newborn problems, well this post today is not to debunk the tales just yet, but to tell you how to identify the problem and what you can do to make your baby feel better.

Here are some common newborn problems:

1. Jaundice

Jaundice is a condition that involves the yellowing of a baby’s skin, and eyes. Jaundice normally presents within 3 to 4 days after the baby’s birth. If it occurs in the first 24 hours, seek medical attention immediately.

Babies are born with excess red blood cells. They cannot get rid of it quick enough because their liver is not mature. This causes the waste product of the red blood cells bilirubin to rise up in the skin and causes the yellow color.

For most babies, jaundice usually resolves on its own within 10 days. If it doesn’t or your baby appears sleepy, restless, lethargic, not feeding, or difficult to wake, please see medical attention immediately.

Phototherapy (light therapy) is the first-line treatment for jaundice. Your baby will be put under phototherapy lights to break down and get rid of the excess bilirubin. In severe cases of jaundice, babies may require an exchange transfusion.

2. Colic:

Colic is a common newborn problem that can occur in a baby as early as two weeks after birth. Symptoms of colic may include excessive crying for more than 3 hours a day, fussiness, restlessness, clenched fists, and stiff legs.

The exact cause of colic is not known but some theory states it may be due to gas, or the developing digestive system in your baby, your baby is allergic to the baby formula, sensitivity to light.

If you suspect your baby has colic, here are 6 tips to relieve the symptoms

  • You can give a warm bath

  • Rub the abdomen to relieve gas

  • Try soothing with a pacifier

  • Take a walk to help calm your baby

  • Try changing the baby formula or diet (colic was as a result of an allergy)

  • Give baby a massage

If you are unsure, please seek medical advice.

3. Fever

Fever is usually an indication of an infection. The common causes of infection in Nigeria flu, malaria, or even respiratory distress, etc. A fever may also be accompanied by rigors.

If your baby has a fever, the first thing you need to do is to bring down the fever by exposing the baby to cool air by taking off excess clothing. If the fever persists, you may also give your baby a tepid sponge bath with a cool damp napkin and also administer an antipyretic e.g, paracetamol as prescribed. If fever persists or is above 38oc, seek medical attention.

4. Cradle cap:

Cradle cap is also known as crib cap and it is characterized by dry, scaly, sometimes yellowish, or reddish patches on your baby’s scalp.

This condition is quite similar to dandruff but is caused by over secretion of oil on the scalp. Cradle cap is not a condition to be worried about because it clears on its own after a while. It can be managed by washing your baby's scalp with a mild shampoo to loosen up and remove the scales.

5. Excessive crying and lethargy:

As your newborn baby adapts to his new environment, you may find he is crying a lot and this is normal. Can you imagine how you would feel being plucked from a very comfortable and warm environment then forced to sleep in a cold cot, wouldn't feel very nice right?! This is what happens to newborn babies.

Babies also cry for many different reasons such as they may be sensitive to light, hate your cologne or even the way they are being held, and a whole lot more. Don't fret, over time, you will learn their pattern.

If your baby doesn’t follow this pattern anymore, and always seems tired, sleepy, or uninterested in feeding, this could be a sign of lethargy and you should see a pediatrician immediately.

It is important to understand the common newborn conditions and understand when to take action. Most times, these health problems resolve on their own as your baby gets older.

If you have any concerns, seek medical advice.


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