15 Most Common Infant And Newborn Problems

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The initial days of parenting may be overwhelming because of the several changes on the baby’s arrival. Also, most parents are not well-informed about managing infant and newborn problems, which leads to more anxiety.

Newborns are delicate and do not have a completely developed immune system. Therefore, they are at risk of getting infections frequently. If these infections are ignored at the right time, they may lead to complications. So, parents need to know about the common issues related to infants and ways to manage them.

This post provides you with a list of common infant problems and ways to deal with them.

Common Newborn Baby Problems

When it comes to health problems, the newborn stage is the most critical. Here are a few health conditions that are fairly common in newborns:

1. Abdominal Distension:

Most newborns have protruding bellies. But if your baby’s belly feels hard and swollen in between feeds, do some sleuthing. Nine times out of 10, it will be just gas or constipation, but sometimes a swollen belly can indicate a serious underlying condition (1).

2. Birth Injuries:

A difficult labor can leave your newborn with some birth injuries. Most newborns recover quickly from these injuries, so don’t stress about it. Some common birth injuries your infant may encounter are a broken collarbone, muscle weakness, forceps marks, skin marks, and disturbed head formation. (2).

3. Bluish Skin:

Baby skin problems include bluish skin. It is pretty normal for babies to have blue hands and feet, but this may not be a cause of concern. In some cases, newborns can also develop blueness around their mouth and tongue while crying. But the blueness goes away with time. But if your baby does not get her pink skin back, you need to consult your doctor immediately.

4. Coughing:

It is normal for a baby to cough when she is feeding as sometimes the milk can come in too fast. But if your baby has a cough that refuses to go away or if she often gags during feeding see a doctor. It may indicate a problem with the lungs or the digestive system. If your little one is coughing incessantly, especially at night, you’ll also need to rule out whooping cough (3).

5. Jaundice:

Jaundice is a common problem among newborns. Many infants have high bilirubin levels at birth as their livers are still immature. Most cases of jaundice in newborn resolve with time. But it can also cause serious problems. So, let your doctor prescribe a treatment to cure jaundice. An earlier theory that neonatal jaundice causes brain damage proved to be a false alarm (4).

6. Respiratory Distress:

It takes a newborn a few hours to breath normally. But once her body learns to breath, she should have no more difficulties. Breathing problems in babies happen due to many issues. If you notice your baby is having difficulty in breathing, check her nasal passage. In most cases, difficulty in breathing occurs due to a blockage in the nasal passages. You can treat this problem with the use of saline drops.

But if you notice any of the following symptoms, go see your pediatrician immediately:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Flaring of her nose
  • Grunting while breathing
  • Blue skin color that refuses to fade

If you had preterm labor, your baby is at a higher risk of developing respiratory distress.

7. Vomiting:

Vomiting is a common health problem among infants. It is normal for infants to spit up milk after feeding. But frequent vomiting is not normal. To prevent frequent vomiting and spit-ups, make sure your baby is not lactose intolerant or allergic to breast milk. You also need to burp your baby frequently to prevent her from throwing up her entire meal. If your child is vomiting and not gaining adequate weight, she might need medical intervention. Also, watch out for the color. If your baby’s vomit looks green, talk to your doctor about possible infections and treatment options (5). Digestive issues could also lead to vomiting.

8. Fever:

A fever is not the problem. A fever is just an indicator that your baby’s body is fighting off an infection. Mild fevers don’t even need medical intervention. But if your little one is running a high fever, let your doctor have a look at her. High fever (102 F) can be a cause of serious worry and lead to seizures (6).

9. Colic:

Is your little one crying without break, and you can’t figure out why? You can blame it on colic! Colicky babies are otherwise healthy and show no other signs of discomfort. Do check if your baby is allergic to the formula you are using as that too can cause colic in babies (7). Thankfully, most cases of colic resolve by the time your baby reaches three months of age.

10. Skin Problems:

Infants and babies have sensitive skins. So it is common for them to experience skin problems. Some of the common skin problems your baby may encounter include:

A. Diaper Rash:

One of the more common skin problems in babies is diaper rash (8). To prevent this common yet painful condition, keep the following points in mind:

  • Be regular when it comes to changing your baby’s diaper. Change diaper every four hours even if it is not soiled.
  • Use a diaper rash cream in case your baby develops a rash.
  • If you are using a cloth diaper, use fragrance and dye-free detergents.

B. Cradle Cap:

Cradle cap too is a common skin problem among babies (9). If your baby has developed cradle cap, do not worry. Try these methods to manage it.

  • Wash the baby’s hair every day
  • Use a mild shampoo.

11. Cold And Flu:

Some infections are common among infants and babies. Viral infections like cold and flu are normally harmless and go away without playing much havoc with your baby’s health. But for infants, a simple cold can turn into pneumonia, a very serious medical condition (10). So, it is important to see your doctor, even if your baby has a harmless cold.

12. Ear Infections:

Ear infections are also extremely common among little ones. If your infant or baby is tugging at her ear and is fussier than usual, she may have an ear infection (11). Viral infections go away once they run their course, but bacterial infections may need a dose of antibiotics.

13. Oral Thrush:

Oral thrush is another infection that may attack your tiny tot. When yeast takes over your baby’s mouth, she’ll be diagnosed with oral thrush. Talk to your pediatrician and see if your little one needs a prescription for antifungal medication (12).

14. Diarrhea:

Diarrhea is also common among infants and babies. As long as you keep your baby hydrated (13), you need not worry about diarrhea. Continue breastfeeding and start giving an ORS solution prepared at home.

15. Constipation:

Is your baby straining while passing stool? She may be suffering from constipation! Common among babies (14), constipation is not a big health issue unless it is causing your little one acute discomfort.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the three most common illnesses in newborns?

The most common illnesses that affect newborns are coughs, colds, and fevers. These illnesses can be treated at home if they are mild but may require medical care if they aggravate (15).

2. How do I take care of high-risk babies?

High-risk babies should receive essential newborn care, including thermal protection, exclusive breastfeeding, and timely immunization (16). Depending on your baby’s specific needs, your doctor may advise you on the best way to care for them.

3. What are the danger signs in newborns?

Some danger signs to be wary of in newborns are high fever, continuous vomiting, breathing difficulties, hypothermia, lethargy, yellowish skin, and poor feeding (17).

As a parent, you may encounter various infant and newborn problems, which may seem overwhelming. However, most of these problems are temporary, and your children overcome them as they grow up and develop immunity. All you need to do is keep yourself informed and follow the correct treatment techniques to get through their issue in a shorter time. So whether your child experiences abdominal distension, birth injury, or jaundice, get help from your doctor. Take proper care and help your child recover fast. Amid the newborn problems, remember to stay calm and enjoy their childhood. Do not waste your precious moments worrying about their issues.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. An Chen et al.; (2013); Clinical characteristics of abdominal distention in early newborns.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24342199/
  2. M Camus et al.; (1985); Obstetrical injuries of the newborn infant. Retrospective study apropos of 20409 births.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3833902/
  3. Frequently asked questions about whooping cough.
    https://doh.wa.gov/you-and-your-family/illness-and-disease-z/whooping-cough/whooping-cough-faq
  4. Risk of Brain Disorder Rare in Healthy Newborns with Jaundice.
    https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2015/01/122586/risk-brain-disorder-rare-healthy-newborns-jaundice
  5. Gregor M Walker et al.; (2006); Colour of bile vomiting in intestinal obstruction in the newborn: questionnaire study.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1476724/
  6. Fever in children.
    https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/fever-in-children
  7. B W Forsyth et al.; (1985); Problems of early infancy formula changes and mothers’ beliefs about their infants.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3998939/
  8. Diaper Dermatitis.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559067/
  9. Cradle Cap (Seborrheic Dermatitis in Infants).
    https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15786-cradle-cap-seborrheic-dermatitis-in-infants
  10. What Is Pneumonia?.
    https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/pneumonia
  11. Ear Infections in Children.
    https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/ear-infections-children
  12. Thrush and Other Candida Infections.
    https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/infections/Pages/Thrush-and-Other-Candida-Infections.aspx
  13. C G Victora et al.; (1989); Infant feeding and deaths due to diarrhea. A case-control study.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2705424/
  14. Vera Loening-Baucke; (2005); Prevalence symptoms and outcome of constipation in infants and toddlers.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15756220/
  15. Common Infant and Newborn Problems.
    https://medlineplus.gov/commoninfantandnewbornproblems.html#:~:text=Common%20health%20problems%20in%20babiessigns%20for%20more%20serious%20problems.
  16. Newborns: improving survival and well-being.
    https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/newborns-reducing-mortality
  17. Tewodros Yosef et al.; (2020); Knowledge of Neonatal Danger Signs and Its Associated Factors among Mothers Attending Child Vaccination Centers at Sheko District in Southwest Ethiopia.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7273486/
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Jessica Albert

Jessica Albert is a passionate writer who seeks to connect with her readers through wit and charm. Her work aims to invoke curiosity and keep the readers engaged through and through. She has prior experience working with magazines and e-commerce establishments as a content marketer and editor. Being a mother herself, she puts all her knowledge into creating content about... more

Dr. Neha Mehta

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Gold medalist Neha Mehta is an RCI-registered psychologist, certified relationship and child psychologist, and a well-known parenting coach practicing in Haryana. She has ten years of experience in the field of counseling. Dr. Mehta has completed her Bachelors in medical sciences from Delhi University and Masters in clinical psychology from Amarjyoti Rehabilitation and Research Centre, Delhi. Later, she did a... more

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