After nearly 40 weeks of waiting, you’ve brought your baby home and you’re giving parenting all you’ve got. Yet you can’t help but wonder, is everything you’ve got enough? After all, your life has now changed drastically; your schedule has upended, you’re holding your baby as if she were made of precious glass, and you can’t even remember the last time you showered or slept.
As your baby grows, your sleepless nights and hectic days will probably be filled with pure joy - and more questions and concerns. Don’t worry. You’ll soon feel like a pro in the babycare game. And to help you get there sooner, here are answers to some common newborn concerns.
1. My baby seems to have dandruff. How do I get rid of it? The dandruff you are referring to is called cradle cap, a common condition among newborns. It can be easily treated by applying mineral oil daily to the scalp and gently massaging it in for a few minutes before baby’s bath or leaving it on overnight. If it is severe, you may have to use a small amount of dandruff shampoo - massage in for a few minutes, then rinse. Do this once or twice a week until it disappears.
2. My baby keeps crying, does that mean he’s colicky? Francesca Tatad-To, M.D., pediatrician at The Medical City, says, “Nobody knows what really causes colic, but colic typically manifests as incessant crying for one to three hours with no identifiable cause. It generally occurs at the same time each day and may go on for two to six weeks. It is more common in newborns (six weeks of age and older), and rare in older infants and toddlers. There is no universal solution for colic, but there are some things that consistently work for particular babies. You can try gently rocking your baby, making a shushing sound, turning on something that makes white noise (like an electric fan), or putting your child in something that vibrates (like a car). Medications like simethicone (anti-gas drops) or traditional remedies like gripe water may provide relief for some infants as well.”
3. My daughter has pimples on her face. I thought newborns are supposed to have perfect skin? Newborn acne and whiteheads are extremely common. They are not nice to look at, but are not harmful and will eventually go away on their own. They usually worsen before they improve. No treatment is needed for these, though the application of expressed breast milk may improve their appearance. If the lesions look inflamed or infected, consult your pediatrician.
4. My baby seems a little yellow. How will I be able to tell if he has jaundice? According to Dr. Tatad-To, in general, parents and most lay persons are not trained to identify jaundice. It takes years of practice and experience to identify jaundice in its early stages, so this is best left to the professionals. Any degree of yellowing of the skin in a newborn infant requires further evaluation (such as a full physical examination, a review of feeding habits and elimination pattern, and possibly a blood test). It is crucial that babies be brought to their doctor within two to three days of discharge from the hospital so they can be evaluated for jaundice. While severe jaundice does have serious complications, most cases of jaundice during this period are normal and will resolve spontaneously.