Is this normal? When to call the doctor?

We outline what should cause concern and what’s merely part of being a growing baby.

When to call the doctor

All new parents panic at the first sign that something might be wrong with their baby – it’s perfectly natural. But there are certain situations that do actually need a doctor’s help. We outline them here.

Irregular breathing
In general, strange breathing is no cause for alarm. Newborn babies tend to breathe unevenly and noisily. But your baby  should not persistently breathe at more than 70 breaths per minute. This fast breathing, together with grunting noises with each breath and drawing in of the ribs while breathing, might be a sign that your baby has a lung or heart problem. If this is the case, contact your paediatrician.

Unusual bowel movements
It is normal for newborns to have many bowel movements per day, especially breastfeeding babies who tend to have frequent looser stools. The colour may vary from bright yellow to green or brown.  The only time you should be concerned is if the stool is white or black and if you find blood in the stool. If the stools are very watery, you should also speak to your doctor.

Skin dryness
You may notice your newborn’s skin is dry and peeling in some places. This is normal – your baby’s skin is adapting to the outside after being in a bubble of amniotic fluid for nine months. Yellow flaky scalp rashes are also a common condition for newborns, known as “cradle cap”. You can treat this with cradle cap creams or olive oil, or ask your doctor to prescribe a special ointment.

Weight loss
Normal babies will lose about 10% of their birth weight in the first two weeks of life. They should then start to gain weight again. After your first check-up, the doctor or clinic sister will tell you if there is any cause for concern.

Lazy eyes
Newborns take a while to learn to focus their eyes. If it still seems that your baby has a wandering or lazy eye after four months, you should discuss it with your doctor and find out if it could be something more serious.

Your little one has a lot of postnatal stages to go through that are perfectly normal. Keep your eyes and ears open for abnormalities or conditions that persist, and recognise that the rest is nothing to worry about. What are some of the things that worry you as a new Mom?

Baby Group Says...
This article has been checked by Dr Lauren Lee, GP. A member of the BabyGroup Medical Council.

”Newborn babies change every day and many new Moms don’t know what is normal. Ask your doctor if you’re concerned – there’s no such thing as a stupid question.” Dr Lauren Lee.

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