Common Baby Problems
How Our Experts Deal With Them
Written by Dr Maryam Tribak for Doctify
Every parent experiences it: that fear when you notice a new rash or when they won’t stop crying. Even if you know it’s just nappy rash or colic, your parental instinct kicks in and you want to do something to make it better. Here are some expert tips for four common problems in babies.
Around 40% of babies will get reflux, also known as posseting. Thank goodness for muslin cloths! The muscle sphincter between the stomach and the oesophagus which ensures the milk does not come back up is not fully developed in babies, so after feeds they may bring some of the milk they’ve just had back up. Over time, this muscular ring will get stronger and the stomach will get bigger, so by the end of the first year most babies will grow out of it.
- Feed your baby in an upright position
- Try to hold your baby upright after feeds for about 20 minutes
- Try to offer your baby frequent and smaller feeds.
Doctify’s leading paediatrician, Dr Yiannis Ioannou gives a few tips on how you can treat reflux:
“Reflux is a very common symptom and simple measures such as mentioned above often help. If a baby is gaining weight and is comfortable during feeding then the reflux will not cause harm and improves throughout the first year. In some cases, milk thickeners and medication may be required, but seeing a GP or paediatrician is important to reassure there are no other underlying causes.”
Cradle cap, or infantile seborrheic dermatitis, is basically baby dandruff. It is a harmless condition that can look worse than it actually is. It is often seen as rough, white or yellow scaly patches on the baby’s scalp.
It is likely to appear in the first few months of your baby’s life and will usually resolve on its own. Although the cause isn’t clear, it is thought the condition is related to the baby retaining some of the mother’s hormones after birth leading to overactive sebaceous glands. The condition is not an allergy, it is not contagious nor is it linked to poor hygiene.
- You can rub a little mild baby oil onto the scalp overnight and use a soft brush to loosen the scales in the morning. Then wash off the remaining oil with baby shampoo.
- Avoid picking at the scaly patches as this could lead to sore red patches and infection.
- If the condition does not appear to get better and is spreading or becomes inflamed and sore, see your GP as this may indicate an infection.
Nappy rash may appear as red patches on the baby’s bottom. A wet or dirty nappy irritating the skin usually causes it. Occasionally a nappy rash can be caused by the ingredients in baby wipes, soap or bubble bath.
” Start with regular nappy changing, especially when stool and urine are mixed. It is the combination of the two that has an irritant effect on the skin. Exposure to air and keeping the nappy area dry can also help but may not always be practical. There are topical treatments and barrier creams available over the counter that can allow the skin to heal and can be applied after each nappy change.
“If the rash is not improving or there are lots of red spots visible within the rash it may indicate a thrush infection. This may need treatment with topical antifungal creams. In these cases there is often thrush in the mouth too, that appears as white coating within the mouth on tongue and gums that will also need treatment. If there are any associated feeding difficulties, more extensive rash on the rest of the body, or concerns regarding weight gain, these can sometimes indicate other causes that would need further assessment. If concerned or you notice the nappy rash is not improving, I always recommend a review by a GP or paediatrician.”– Dr Yiannis Ioannou, Paediatrician
There is no normal number of times a baby should poop. Some babies go every feed, others may take a day or so. Every baby is different and as a parent you will quickly pick up on what is normal for your little one. Breastfed babies are less likely to become constipated than formula fed babies. Things can change when you introduce solids, which often have little fibre. Water is absorbed from foods on its way down the intestine, another reason why weaning can make the poop thicker and less frequent. Certain clues to look out for which may help you identify constipation include:
- Less frequent bowel motions from their normal routine
- Dry, hard stool.
- If your baby appears uncomfortable and straining when passing a motion
- Liquid stool – your baby may appear to have loose stool but this can sometimes be a sign of constipation as some of the liquid stool bypasses the blockage in the lower intestine.
- If your baby is eating solids include some high fibre foods like fruit, vegetables, and some whole grain food like brown rice, pasta and bread (but not too much whole grain under two years of age as this can be too filling, meaning they don’t take the calories and nutrients they need)
- Pureed fruit like prunes, pears and apricot are also high in fibre.
- Cut down on constipating foods like rice and banana.
If constipation persists speak to your GP.
Fortunately these conditions are usually self-limiting, however, trust your intuition, as you know your baby best. If you are worried about your baby or unsure seek medical attention.