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5 Common conditions that newborns suffer from and what parents can do to help

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Mums, we know how scary it is when your baby is crying and you can’t figure out why. Don’t fret, they may be suffering from one of these common ailments.

Bringing your newborn home from the hospital is one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking experiences in your life, especially for first-time mums.

Even though you’ve already cared for them for the 9 months in your womb, actually bringing your bundle of joy home probably has you resembling a bundle of nerves!

This stress can reach a peak when your newborn won’t stop crying even after you’ve tried to feed them and checked if their diaper needs to be changed. As it turns out, there are several conditions that are very common during your baby’s first year.

Read on for the symptoms to watch out for, as well as how you can help your newborn when he or she is feeling uncomfortable due to these conditions.

Diaper rash

Diaper rash is one of the most common ailments newborns suffer from because their skin is so sensitive and delicate. By keeping them clean and dry, you will help to reduce the risk of diaper rash, but keep in mind that most babies suffer from diaper rash at least once in their growing up years.

Rashes can develop with different levels of severity. Some will be hardly noticeable, whereas others can be mildly red or even result in bleeding.

There are many over-the-counter products that you can use to help relieve their irritated skin. A prolonged course of antibiotics may cause other complications, including yeast infections for which you will want to contact your doctor for treatment.

Contact your doctor if the rash persists for more than a few weeks or if you notice a rash called petechia or purpura which looks like small red or purple dots which do not turn white when you press them. Additionally, you should contact your doctor if the rash is severe or unusual, gets worse even after treatment or is accompanied by a fever.

Colic

Colic is a horrible experience for babies and parents alike, and most experienced mothers would agree with this. It occurs when your baby’s stomach is full of gas. Unfortunately, colic is very common from birth until the baby is about 3 months old.

Here are some signs that would come handy to you: these include intense or inconsolable crying, posture changes such as curled up legs or clenched fists or crying that occurs for no reason. You can reduce the likelihood of colic in your baby by adopting some simple precautionary steps, such as avoiding caffeine or spicy foods if you’re nursing, using soy-based formula, giving your baby a pacifier and preventing him or her from becoming overstimulated.

Generally speaking, colic does not require a doctor’s visit. However, you should contact your baby’s doctor if your baby has a blue-ish tint to their lips or skin from crying or if the colic persists for a prolonged amount of time.

Diarrhoea

You can recognise if your baby is suffering from diarrhoea when his or her stool is too watery and he or she experiences more frequent than usual bowel movements. Diarrhoea can result from a virus, an infection or even medication. If the cause is a bacterial or parasitic infection, your baby will need to see a doctor for medication.

If your baby is old enough to be eating solid foods when they have diarrhoea, switch them to easy-to-digest foods, such as bananas, crackers or cereal. Avoid any difficult-to-digest foods like cow’s milk or sugary fruit juices.

The danger of diarrhoea is that it causes dehydration. Immediately contact your doctor if you notice that your little one has dry eyes when they’re crying, or are lethargic, have a high fever or are vomiting.

Constipation

You can recognise if your baby is suffering from diarrhoea when his or her stool is too watery and he or she experiences more frequent than usual bowel movements. Diarrhoea can result from a virus, an infection or even medication. If the cause is a bacterial or parasitic infection, your baby will need to see a doctor for medication.

If your baby is on formula milk, consult with your physician and try different brands to find one that your baby can digest more easily. For babies who are on solid food, take the opposite approach to diarrhoea and feed your baby high fibre foods like pureed pears and prunes. Flaxseed oil is a helpful natural laxative and it will give your baby a boost of Omega-3 (found in fatty fish such as salmon and sardines) as well. Another trick that many mums swear by is giving your baby a warm bath to help relax their muscles.

Call your doctor if your baby hasn’t had a bowel movement in 24 hours, their stomach feels hard or if they’re really straining when they’re trying to pass motion.

Jaundice

Jaundice is very shocking for parents because it is such a visible ailment. In fact, over 50% of healthy babies are affected by this disease as a newborn. Jaundice is caused by an excess of bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is a chemical that forms during the breakdown of red blood cells. You can recognise if your baby is jaundiced if their skin takes on a yellowish tint, starting with their face.

In most cases, jaundice resolves itself in just a few days. If it persists for a longer period of time and makes its way further down your baby’s body, visit the doctor who will perform the relevant tests and recommend treatment accordingly. One popular treatment is phototherapy where a light is shined on your baby to help them break down excess bilirubin.

If your baby shows signs of jaundice in the first 24 hours of birth, contact your baby’s doctor immediately. However, if it occurs after that period has passed, breastfeeding your baby will help to clear the condition.

Don’t worry mums, if you’re overwhelmed with all this information! We just want you to know that these conditions are common and not a reason to panic.

Another way to help your baby stay healthy is to make sure they are getting all the right nutrients. For babies over six months, supplement their diet with a follow-on formula like S-26® Promil GOLD®. It’s designed specially to help babies receive the right amounts of nutrients and energy as they are making the switch to solid foods.

Find out more about S-26 Promil Gold and get your free sample here.

Medline Plus. Common Infant and Newborn Problems. Available at https://medlineplus.gov/commoninfantandnewbornproblems.html. Accessed on 14 September 2017
Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Facts about Jaundice and Kernicterus. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/jaundice/facts.html. Accessed on 14 September 2017
Family Doctor. Colic. Retrieved on 14 September 2017 from https://familydoctor.org/condition/colic/?adfree=true. Accessed on 14 September 2017
May Clinic. Colic. Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/colic/basics/definition/CON-20019091?p=1. Accessed on 14 September 2017
American Pregnancy Association. Omega-3 Fish Oil and Pregnancy. Available at http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/omega-3-fish-oil/. Accessed on 14 September 2017