Thursday, November 30, 2017

What's Wrong With My Baby? The Most Common Parenting Worries

New parents panic. It’s understandable. There is no book, leaflet, internet blog, or other parent in the world that can fully prepare you for your own parenting experience. The tiredness and exhaustion plus the plethora of hormone changes you’re experiencing will certainly make for some confused thinking too. No wonder you feel so helpless in the beginning. In fact, you might be feeling like this a lot for the first few years! The only thing you can be sure of is that every new parent feels exactly the same way.

Worrying endlessly about your newborn is natural. After all, you’re responsible for this tiny being that can do literally nothing for herself. She can’t scratch that itch, find food, clean herself up or make herself understood. The most simple biological processes can be traumatic for her right now! Life is a very steep learning curve, and you need to learn alongside her. Don’t assume anything will naturally work itself out. Sometimes you need to fix the problems for her.

Itchy, sore, skin

Unfortunately, this problem comes with the territory of being a newborn. The outside environment is harsh. She’s never worn fabrics or experienced tap water on her skin. No wonder that fragile skin is so sore! Dermatitis is very common for many reasons and can appear anywhere on her skin.

Her own reaction to the environment could be causing cradle cap. This can appear in lots of places, not just on top of the head. You can get ahead of the problem with a cradle cap treatment shampoo. You should always speak to your child’s doctor if you are ever concerned about anything. Your midwife or community nurse can also help.

Inside the diaper are even more problems! Red skin is common throughout the diaper years. There is little you can do to prevent it, but special creams for this area can reduce the friction. Regular diaper changes can help too, but don’t forget the diaper itself can cause some of this redness. Your diet plays a big part if you’re nursing. Keep your meal choices healthy and natural and drink plenty of water. If you notice a significant change in baby’s ‘deliveries’ then speak to your doctor.

Hot and bothered

Babies and children (and a lot of adults) sweat when they sleep. This is natural and normal and is not usually indicative of an illness. They might feel hot to the touch and even appear a little red in the cheeks and ears. If this continues throughout the nap and when they are awake, check their temperature. If it is very high, call the doctor. Slight elevations in temperature are often nothing to worry about and cool within a few hours.

You can help maintain your baby’s healthy temperature by adjusting clothing to suit the ambient temperature. Make sure bathwater is no more than slightly warmer than the skin temperature. It might feel cool to you, but baby’s skin is incredibly sensitive compared to yours. Of course, your baby will soon let you know if something isn’t right. They might not be able to move their limbs or body out of the water, but they will shout, scream and cry!

Overheating is another big problem for babies. The extra warmth might be comforting to them at first so they might not cry or fuss. By the time it is making them unwell, they might have fallen asleep. Keep checking for signs that your baby is too warm if you’re moving from outdoors to indoors. Keep their sleeping area a constant temperature, so you don’t have to keep worrying once they’re comfortable.


Babies cry. They do it a lot. In fact, they cry far more than you would expect. This doesn’t mean that anything is wrong. Sometimes they might be crying for no reason at all. Start by performing all the usual checks.

Is the diaper fresh, and is it comfortable in there? Adjust it and see how little one feels now.

Is the clothing too tight, too rough, too warm or too cold? Make adjustments or simply swap for something more comforting.

Is your little one moving his mouth, lips, tongue or fingers? This might be a sign they’re hungry again. Offer some cooled boiled water if you’re not ready to nurse just yet.

Is there an early tooth cutting? If little one is not hungry, see if he’s drooling a lot more than usual. With a clean finger, gently feel the gums for swelling or a hard tooth breaking through. This can be treated with a special gel or a teething ring to chew.

Is your baby uncomfortable? Lying on your back all day isn’t comfortable for us either. Try moving him about a little to get his limbs moving. Pick him up for an upright cuddle for five minutes. Help him sit in his baby donut or near his toys.

Has your baby got indigestion? This is more common than you think. Winding doesn’t always get everything. He might not be in pain, but just not used to the sensation. Try baby massages to help here.

Is he tired? Sometimes babies need to be taught how to sleep. It isn’t always a natural process for them. Chances are you find your little one sleeps easily on you or your partner but takes a while in the Moses basket. Try a routine song or motion like rocking each time you want him to settle for sleep.

Does he just want a cuddle? Who doesn’t! It’s lonely being a baby, sometimes. So go ahead and enjoy a little cuddle time. Read a story, play with his stuffed animals, or just make silly faces together.

Some parents go through an extensive list of checks but still can’t soothe their baby. It’s entirely up to your personal parenting preferences what you do about a healthy baby who won’t stop crying. Some prefer to let little one self-soothe. This is hard for any parent because you have to listen to your baby crying without undertaking any further action. It can work quite successfully in many cases.

Other parents play music that soothes but also acts as a competitor noise. It’s loud enough for baby to hear it easily over his cries, but not too loud for mom to hear if the baby becomes distressed. Some will take their baby out in the stroller and walk and walk in the fresh air until they have fallen asleep. This is quite a healthy approach for you, but can be embarrassing if you know others are hearing your baby cry so much! If ever you are worried by your baby’s persistent cries, speak to your doctor.

Danger Signs

Of course, there are always danger signs you must call for immediate medical help. Newborns are very vulnerable, so when things go wrong, it can all happen very quickly.

Blood in the nappy. Even if this looks like it might be from a sore that has split the skin, seek help. Infection can get in so easily and will make your baby very ill if it does.

Floppiness. Any baby that seems to go floppy must be seen by a doctor immediately. Check for a fever, and make sure baby’s eyes are watching and following you.

A rash that won’t fade. Babies often have mottled skin and red marks and spots. But if the pressure of a glass tumbler doesn’t make your baby’s rash fade, call the doctor immediately.

Fever. A very high temperature is dangerous for adults too. If you have one or your baby does, seek medical attention. Keep little one cool by reducing the clothing he wears.

Blue tinges. If your baby has blue tinges to his lips, nostrils or fingertips, call the doctor. Check there is nothing obstructing his windway. Ensure your baby can breathe easily.

It’s important to note that none of these are common occurrences. However, it’s important you’re able to identify when something serious or dangerous is wrong with your baby. There are many pediatric first aid courses you can undertake to help you feel better equipped to cope should an emergency occur. There are also child safety courses you can take at your local community center or with your pediatric nurse’s team.

Getting To Weaning

There are, of course, dozens of typical problems that make parenting harder work than we would like. The vast majority are just a normal part of babyhood, and we just have to ride them out. Weaning is one of those times when everyone in the family can feel a little emotional. Your baby wants the comfort of nursing. And your poor chest is feeling the urge to provide for your child too. Hormones are playing a part in your emotional discomfort too. But teeth and age for your child have determined now is the time to start.

You might start with jars or packets from well-known brands, supported with a milk formula. But there is nothing wrong with you using a blitzer on your own meal to make it mushy for your little one. Keep the salt and sugar out of your home cooked meals, and you can sit and enjoy it together. Water is the best mealtime drink for you both too. What have been your most worrying moments as a parent?

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