Your baby's been home about five weeks now and you're probably slowly getting the hang of being a mum. Here are some of the issues that your baby might be dealing with:
By Dr Michelle LIM, Associate Consultant and Associate Professor Tan Thiam Chye, Visiting Consultant, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KK Women's and Children's Hospital
Caring for a newborn can be blissful and rewarding. But it can be a little challenging at times, especially if you're dealing with a crying or sick baby. Here are a few common issues that many babies go through and how to manage them.
It's advisable to consult a doctor if your baby has these symptoms:
Your baby may have a temperature and show symptoms like a blocked and runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing and coughing.
What to do: Keep your baby hydrated with plenty of milk.
Related: 7 Reasons Why Your Baby's Crying
For babies, a fever is a body temperature above 37.5 ̊C. Most fevers with viral illnesses range between 38.3 ̊C and 40 ̊C, and may last three to five days.
What to do: See your doctor, especially if your baby is younger than three months old.
Related: Common Childhood Conditions — Fever
Coughing is not always a sign of illness — your baby could just be trying to clear mucus and irritating substances from the airways.
What to do: Ensure your little one gets plenty of rest. Consult your doctor if there's vomiting or if your baby has a high fever or difficulties breathing.
Related: Common Childhood Conditions — Coughs and Colds
This is an infection of the small airways of the lungs, which causes wheezing and rapid or difficult breathing.
What to do: See a doctor, especially if breathing gets laboured or if your baby becomes listless and refuses to eat.
Younger babies don't usually get constipation, and some babies may not have daily bowel movements.
What to do: Monitor your baby's bowel movement and if the stools are harder than usual or if your little one shows any sign of discomfort, do see a doctor.
Related: Common Childhood Conditions — Diarrhoea
This is when your baby passes watery stools.
What to do: Keep your baby hydrated with plenty of milk and consult your doctor if symptoms persist.
Related: Diarrhoea (Child)
If your infant cries more than three hours a day in the late afternoon or evening, more than three days a week for more than three weeks, it could be due to colic. Your little one may also have clenched fists, tense abdominal muscles and may curl up the legs. The exact cause of colic is not known. Some possible contributing factors include excessive swallowing of air, milk allergy and an immature digestive system.
What to do: Give your baby small but frequent feeds, and ensure your little one burps well. Cuddle and talk or sing to your baby. Consult your doctor if the crying doesn't stop, or if there's a change in your baby's feeding pattern.
These issues can be easily dealt with at home:
8. Spit Ups
It's normal for your baby to spit up a small amount of milk.
What to do: Feed your baby in an upright position. Burp your child frequently during and after each feed to keep air from building up in the stomach.
Related: Care of the Newborn
9. Heat Rash
These are clear or red spots that usually appear on the forehead, face and folds of the neck, chest, and arms.
What to do: When the temperature gets too warm, keep your baby in cool, lightweight clothing. Turn on the air-conditioner or fan. The heat rash should usually resolve by itself.
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Read these next:
The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth 2008, World Scientific
Healthy Start for your Pregnancy 2012, Health Promotion Board Singapore
This article was last reviewed on
22 Nov 2023
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