Have you ever gone madCall your pediatricianonly to find that a worrisome symptom wasn't a problem? There is no reason to be ashamed. That happens to the best of us! As a pediatric ER and mother of two, I sympathize with parents who call me when they want to know if their baby should see a doctor.
Of course, the little ones can have real emergencies, but you will be surprised how many problems are not really dangerous. Symptoms in an adult that indicate a serious illness, such as B. uncontrollable shaking, can be normal in a baby. This is because a child's physical immaturity and rapidly changing hormones cause their body to respond in unique ways.
To put your mind at ease, I've compiled some of the most common scary but normal baby symptoms I've seen. However, if you have any concerns about your child's health, you should always consult a doctor. Prevention is always better than cure!
What to expect when your baby sees the doctor for the first time
1. Cramps while sleeping
The new parents took their 1-week-old daughter to the GP's after seeing her move uncontrollably in her sleep. They showed the doctor a video of her convulsions, and he sent her straight to the emergency room at a small community hospital.
The emergency doctor took the baby to the intensive care unit (ICU), but when a pediatrician visited her, he diagnosed a harmless phenomenon called benign sleep myoclonus. It was no more dangerous than any other form of myoclonus:hiccup!
What made the pediatrician so sure that the baby was fine was that his seizure movements only happened while he was sleeping and stopped as soon as he woke up. My partnerDr. Michael Zimbric, a pediatric neurologist at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego, explains what happened:
“Babies have immature nervous systems and their movements are even more uncoordinated when they are asleep than when they are awake. These jerky movements are not unlike those of adults falling asleep.”
Doctors don't know why benign sleep myoclonus occurs, but have found that it can be triggered by a loud noise or touch.Studies have shownthat these movements are harmless.
When to worry about sleep cramps
A keyIndicator of a real seizureIt is the abnormal movement of the eyes along with the movements of the body. If you see these frightening symptoms, or if your baby is having trouble breathing, is turning blue, purple, or gray, or the seizure lasts longer than five minutes, call 911 or go to the emergency room right away.
What Your Baby's Cramp Really Means
2. Stuffy nose and abnormal breathing
A mother took her 2-week-old daughter to the emergency room because the baby always seemed constipated. The mother had a cold and was initially concerned that she had passed it on to her daughter, even though the baby had no othercold symptoms. His breathing became very noisy at night and the mother soon feared that her newborn had something worse than a cold.
It turns out that this normal form of blockage is caused by the hormone estrogen stimulating the nasal passages. Estrogen is supplied to the baby in the womb and during lactation or breastfeeding. (You may have felt the same waypadding during pregnancy.)
This condition usually resolves within two months whether your baby is breastfed or formula-fed. And by 6 months, when a baby's nostrils have doubled in size, this congestion is hardly noticeable, if at all.
When to worry about congestion and breathing
Go to the emergency room if your child's nostrils are distended with breathing (meaning this is the only way to open the airway) or if the chest or abdomen is tightening. These are signs of breathing difficulties.
Here are some other signs of shortness of breath in babies and children that require immediate medical attention:
- Rapid breathing, which could mean your child isn't getting enough oxygen
- Grunts sound when your son expires
- Sweating, especially if the skin isn't warm to the touch or feels cool and clammy
- wheezing or hissing, which may indicate restricted airway
When to take your child to the emergency room or emergency room
3. Lumps in the breast
The parents of a 6-week-old boy came to the emergency room after he woke up one morning with a warm red lump on his chest just below his right nipple. Again, estrogen was the cause. When a baby's estrogen levels drop after birth, the milk-producing hormone prolactin rises temporarily and can lead to breast growth.
In fact, at least 50% of healthy newborns suffer from it, often on just one side. Five percent of newborn boys even produce a milk-like substance known as "witch milk," which is exactly what happened in this case and explains why the lump grew so quickly. The enlargement usually goes away within the first month but may take three months or more.
When to worry about lumps in the baby's breast
If the breast is red or tender, or the baby has a fever, see your pediatrician to determine if an infection is present. Although the development of breast tissue is very common in newborns and during puberty (even in boys), it could indicate a hormonal problem if it occurs at other times.
A weekly guide to your baby's first year milestones
4. Bloody Blast
A concerned couple brought their 5-month-old son to my emergency room when he had blood stains in his saliva after breastfeeding. They feared that he would react badly to the milk or even bleed internally.
But spitting up blood in a normally behaving baby is rarely a cause for concern. She assumes traces of swallowed bloodsore nipples of breastfeeding motheror due to a small tear in the esophagus caused by vigorous spitting. Neither condition is cause for concern, even a small tear in the esophagus heals easily.
This particular mother confirmed that she had cracked nipples thanks to her baby's newborn teeth and that they were the source of the blood.
When to worry about spitting up blood
If your baby looks sick, vomits a large amount of blood, coughs up blood after formula, or has projectile vomit, seek immediate medical attention.
5. Orange peel
New parents brought their 10-month-old son to my emergency room because his skin was turning orange. she hadjaundice at birth, and the parents have been instructed to return when their skin turns yellow again. But I knew this baby wasn't jaundiced because his eyes stayed white and his skin was orange, not yellow.
This is a very common phenomenon called "carotene" caused by eating too many beta-carotene-rich vegetables. Babies prefer the sweet taste of foods high in carotene, like sweet potatoes and carrots, and many first foods that aren't orange are also high in beta-carotene. (You just can't see it in veggies like spinach and broccoli because the green chlorophyll pigment coats it.)
Baby's first food: how to introduce solid food
Carotenemia, which does not affect adults, occurs because of the way baby formula is made. Extensive cooking, mashing, and pureeing of vegetables breaks down plant fibers in ways our teeth can't, making more carotene available for absorption by the baby's intestines.
So when a baby has taken in more carotenoids than needed, the excess is released through sweat and pollutes the skin. In fact, you'll first see the color orange where babies have the most sweat glands: their nose, palms, and soles.
When to worry about baby's orange peel skin
Honestly never. As your baby's diet changes, the orange color will fade. If you continue to serve a lot of beta-carotene-rich foods, the skin will turn orange, but it's harmless.
6. Slightly irregular breathing
A grandmother who was a babysitter called an ambulance after her 3-week-old granddaughter stopped breathing several times. The happily sleeping baby breathed rapidly for about 20 seconds and then stopped breathing altogether. The wife feared the baby had inherited her husband's sleep apnea.
While this intermittent breathing may sound alarming, "periodic breathing" is common in newborns. Babies usually breathe faster than older children because their lungs are small in relation to their body size.
However,Researchers suspect that this is the reason for the irregular breathingIt's because the chemical sensors that detect carbon dioxide aren't fully developed in a newborn. This means that sometimes babies just don't know they need to breathe and have to stop until carbon dioxide levels are high enough to trigger those sensors.
When to worry about irregular breathing in babies
Look for changes in skin color that indicate lack of oxygen, such as B. a bluish, greyish or purple discoloration of the skin (especially around the lips and fingernails) or mucous membranes (e.g. gums) or signs that your baby is having problems. breathe. These signs require immediate medical attention.
5 Newborn RSV Symptoms That Should Never Be Ignored
A mother brought her 2-month-old daughter to the emergency room because the baby hadn't had a bowel movement in five days. She growled, flushed, and felt her stomach harden, but all that came out was a little mushy poo.
It can be pretty shockingseeing your newborn struggle while pooping, but remember that they will lie down, making it difficult for feces to come out. "Babies still don't know how to control and coordinate the anal sphincter, the muscle that holds stool in the rectum," he says.Rebecca Preziosi, MD, a pediatrician at Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Center in San Diego. "You have to push and grunt to get the chair past that muscle."
I explained to the mother that it's okay for a baby to poop once a week. As the gut becomes more efficient and digestible, it takes longer for the body to produce a lot of stool after 6 to 8 weeks.
How Often Should a Newborn Poop?
When to worry about constipation in babies
Talk to your doctor if your baby's poop is hard or lumpy (signs of constipation) or if your baby doesn't poo every day for the first month or so. It could indicate a rare problem with the nerves that control the rectum.