28 Feb Common Newborn Conditions and What to Do
Newborns are precious bundles of joy! But what if your bundle of joy has jaundice or won’t stop crying? Should you be worried?
Today we’re talking about some of the more common newborn conditions, whether you need to be worried about them, and what you can do to treat them.
This is probably one of the most common conditions seen in newborns today. Babies with jaundice have a yellow tint to their skin. This happens because of a buildup of bilirubin (a chemical that the body produces when red blood cells are broken down) in the bloodstream. Our livers are responsible for removing bilirubin from our blood, but it might take a newborn’s liver a little while to start functioning properly.
The most common treatment for newborn jaundice is phototherapy, or light therapy. This treatment uses special lights that emit light in the blue-green spectrum, and this light changes the composition of the bilirubin so that it can be excreted in the stool and urine. Your newborn will lie on a special baby tanning-bed-like device that emits the blue-green light and gets rid of the jaundice painlessly.
Any healthy baby can get jaundice, and while your baby will be checked for it in the hospital after birth, it usually worsens on days 3–7 of life. That’s why it is so important to see your pediatrician within 1–2 days after discharge from the hospital. When treated effectively, jaundice is nothing to worry about—but if not treated, it can lead to serious problems (including, at its worst, brain damage), so be sure to follow the instructions you’re given.
Sometimes, a baby’s hands or feet can turn a blueish color when they’re cold, but the color should return to normal as soon as the baby is warm again. And have you ever seen a baby crying so hard that it’s bright red in the face? It happens, but again, you don’t need to be alarmed about this. The baby’s color should normalize as soon as they calm down. However, the baby’s face, lips, and trunk should never be blue. If your newborn’s skin (besides cold hands and feet) is consistently a blueish color, that might be an indication that the baby isn’t getting enough oxygen in their blood. In that case, call your pediatrician or 911 immediately.
Crying, Crying, Crying
We all know that babies cry…a lot. Sometimes it’s because they’re hungry, sometimes they’re just tired, and sometimes they’re letting you know you need to change their diaper. Other times, there’s just no rhyme or reason. If you’ve done everything you can think of and they’re still crying, try swaddling them, cuddling with them, or singing/talking to them. Some people think that you need to let babies “cry it out” and you shouldn’t coddle them, but this really isn’t the case with newborns. Healthychildren.org points out that “you cannot ‘spoil’ a baby this age by giving him too much attention,” so cuddle away!
Over time, you’ll learn your baby’s cries and what they mean. If you find your baby crying for unusual amounts of time (or if their crying sounds strange), it might indicate a medical problem. In this case, contact your pediatrician.
For more information on the web, visit healthychildren.org. If you have questions or would like to discuss any concerns you have regarding your newborn, you can schedule an appointment with me, Dr. Kathryn Mandal, by calling 817-617-8600 or scheduling online at continuumtx.com.