It’s perfectly normal to worry when you wake up in the middle of the night to find your infant coughing and feeling unwell. You want to take the best care of your baby. Yet it’s normal during the first few days and weeks after you bring your baby home for your little one to develop health issues.
At WestMed Family Healthcare, we want to ease your mind. Knowing what to expect and when to see a doctor can help you feel prepared. Here are some of the most common health concerns that affect infants.
Fever is one of the most common issues that your infant is likely to face. You may worry when you notice that your baby feels unusually warm. If you suspect that your baby has a fever, use a thermometer to check their temperature. A fever in an infant is:
- 100.4 degrees or above using a rectal thermometer
- 99 degrees or above using an armpit thermometer
An oral thermometer isn’t accurate for infants. A rise in temperature means that your baby is fighting an infection. If the thermometer confirms your suspicions, try comforting your baby and wait to see if the fever goes away on its own.
Giving your baby extra fluids, removing extra clothing, and using a cooling fan can help keep your baby comfortable. If your baby seems to be in distress or if the fever doesn’t go away, stop in to see us at WestMed Family Healthcare.
Jaundice is a common condition that affects up to 50% of infants, typically within the first few weeks of the baby’s life. While it may seem scary, infant jaundice is rarely a cause for alarm in a healthy infant. Treatment usually isn’t necessary, but complications may arise in infants with other health problems.
Bilirubin is a waste product left behind after red blood cells are broken down. Newborn babies quickly break down old red blood cells. This causes an elevation in bilirubin. Because a newborn baby has an underdeveloped liver, the amount of bilirubin can exceed your baby’s ability to get rid of it, causing jaundice.
Look out for the following symptoms:
- Yellowing of the skin
- Yellowing of the whites of the eyes
- Poor feeding
For most infants, jaundice clears up on its own within two to three weeks. Visit one of our top-quality family doctors if your baby’s jaundice persists, or if your baby develops new symptoms.
Patches of red, itchy skin are common in infants. Your baby may become irritable, but don’t worry — most rashes and skin problems that infants have clear up on their own. Rash cream keeps your baby comfortable until then.
Some skin conditions, such as eczema may persist. The exact cause is unknown, but babies with eczema tend to have allergies or an overactive immune system. Schedule an appointment with us at WestMed Family Medicine if you think your baby has eczema. Look out for patches of dry, rough, red, itchy skin. The skin may be extremely sensitive.
Skin moisturizers and gentle soap can help ease your baby’s discomfort. For moderate to severe infant eczema that seems to stick around, we may recommend a steroid cream. Many babies outgrow eczema. Long-term management may be necessary if your baby continues to experience eczema flares.
Newborn babies feed frequently. Your newborn may feed every two hours on average for the first few days. You’ll get acquainted with your baby’s feeding patterns over the first four weeks. It’s common for infants to have some feeding problems.
Babies must be alert and hungry enough to feed. It can be frustrating when your baby experiences feeding problems. It’s common for babies to refuse feedings, but remain relaxed. Infants pick up on your mood and may not feed if you’re stressed or upset.
Look for hunger cues and keep trying. Don’t give up too soon. It may take a few days for your baby to get back on track.
Visit the doctor if your baby continues to have feeding problems that last more than a few days, or if your baby loses weight.
Minor health problems during infancy are common. For high-quality care for the entire family, call our Westminster, Colorado, office to schedule an appointment with one of our highly skilled providers.