Young babies are much more vulnerable than older children or adults. Babies contract infections much more easily, and this can be a source of a lot of stress for new parents. It is, therefore, a good idea for new parents to learn of the most common health problems in young babies, so they can know how to recognize them and what to do in case they happen.
Jaundice is very common in newborns and infants. Jaundice is caused by an excess amount of bilirubin in the baby’s blood. Jaundice is characterized by yellow skin and some yellowing at the bottom of the eyeballs. It often occurs in babies whose livers are not developed enough to break down and remove excess bilirubin.
In most cases, jaundice disappears 2-3 weeks after the baby’s birth. If it does not, it is wise to get in touch with a doctor so they can check if there is an underlying issue causing it.
Although colic is very common, it is neither easy to deal with nor very well understood. It is characterized by a baby crying continuously for no obvious reason. Its exact cause is not known, although some studies suggest it is caused by hormones that cause stomach pains, gas, a growing and expanding digestive system, or overstimulation by sound and light.
Colic normally starts at 2 months of age and should go away by the time the baby reaches 3 months. If colic persists past three months, the underlying cause might be a milk or formula intolerance or an underlying condition.
Newborns sometimes have bluish skin, which fades as their blood circulation improves. However, if the baby has bluish lips and has difficulty breathing, it could be an indication of a heart problem or lungs that are not functioning as they should. In this case, you should take them to a doctor immediately.
Respiratory distress happens when there is a blockage of the nasal passage, which leads to insufficient oxygen in the baby’s blood. One symptom is the baby turning bluish due to deoxygenated blood in their body. If this happens with a newborn, let a nurse keep an eye on them, and do not worry because it normally takes a few hours for a baby to learn to breathe properly on their own. Once they are breathing correctly, the bluish color should fade. If the baby is wheezing and the bluish color does not fade, take them to see a health specialist.
Fever is a sign that your baby’s body is fighting an infection. Note that babies can have elevated body temperatures after vaccination, but if the high temperature persists for a few days or if they have not had a vaccine, you should talk to a healthcare professional.
Persistent high-temperature or fever is very dangerous for a baby as it can cause seizures, brain damage, and other life-threatening problems.
Ear pain in babies can be an indication of an ear infection, infection of the ear canal, pressure from a sinus infection, or any other number of health problems. Babies with an ear infection will usually tug at the affected ear and be very fussy. Viral and bacterial ear infections are especially dangerous for babies as they can be lead to meningitis or hearing loss. Ear pain and infection can cause a lot of damage, and that is why healthcare professionals insist you take your baby to a doctor if they have ear pain or a noticeable ear infection.
Oral thrush is a very common fungal infection, especially in infants. It is characterized by white lesions on the inner cheeks and tongue. If your baby has oral thrush, you should keep an eye on it and talk to your doctor to see if it is serious enough to arrange an antifungal prescription.
Diarrhea is also quite common in babies. It can be caused by infections or can be a reaction to antibiotics. If your baby has diarrhea, give them oral saline and water to keep them hydrated. If you notice a change in the color and texture of their stool, you should call a doctor immediately.
Constipation is also common in babies, and if your baby is constipated for more than three days, also talk to your doctor.
Cold and Flu
Cold and flu are common in babies as they try to adjust to the outside world. They may be common, but flu and colds should be taken very seriously, especially in infants who are less than 2 months old. This is because colds and flu that are caused by an infection can lead to pneumonia and other life-threatening illnesses.
It is quite common for babies to cough if the flow of milk is too high. That said, continuous gagging and coughing could be an indication of something seriously wrong with their digestive system or lungs. Coughing persistently at night might also be an indicator of respiratory problems or whooping cough. If your baby coughs while being fed or during the night, take them to the doctor as early as you can.
Vomiting can be caused by coughing but vomiting or spitting out milk are nothing to worry about unless the baby is not able to keep anything down. In this case, you should talk to a doctor. If they vomit every time you feed them, they may become dehydrated, which is very serious in young babies.
To Care for Babies
If you are interested in caring for babies, becoming a nurse might be the best career path for you. There are lots of different career options for nurses, including becoming a neonatal nurse practitioner or a general nurse. Nurses are trained to handle almost all health problems in babies and grownups, and if you are interested in becoming a nurse, you should check out the various online DNP programs that are available.
Babies are precious, but they are also vulnerable to all manner of illnesses and health issues. All parents should endeavor to learn how different health issues manifest so they can identify them and get their babies some help when they happen. Keeping a close eye on your young baby remains the best way to proactively protect them.