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Moms know what a big change it is to have a newborn at home. You’ve waited for months for your baby to get here. Now she’s here and you aren’t quite sure what to make of this tiny creature.
During the first couple of weeks after you give birth, you may wonder: is this how a newborn is supposed to look and behave?
Here are some common newborn traits you should know, and some not-so-normal things to look out for:
Contact your pediatrician: If your baby won’t stop crying after trying the above.
Contact your pediatrician right away: If your baby has trouble with breathing. When in doubt, go to the ER or call 911.
Contact your pediatrician right away: If your baby is grunting with each breath or wheezing. When in doubt, go to the ER or call 911.
Contact your pediatrician: If your baby routinely gags during feedings, vomits (especially if there is blood), or if you notice any signs of dehydration (e.g., not enough wet or dirty diapers, no tears when crying, soft spot on the head has sunken).
Contact your pediatrician right away: If your baby is still showing signs of crossed or wandering eyes by 6 months.
Contact your pediatrician right away: If you have any concerns about the shape of your baby’s head.
Contact your pediatrician right away: If your baby has trouble breathing or skin or lips that persistently look blue, purple or gray. When in doubt, go to the ER or call 911.
Contact your pediatrician right away: If your baby develops a rash or hives along with a fever*.
Contact your pediatrician: If the jaundice doesn’t improve. Your pediatrician will check the condition and treat it appropriately if bilirubin levels get too high.
Contact your pediatrician: If your baby’s belly feels swollen and hard, or if she seems very uncomfortable when trying to pass stool. Babies often go several days without having a bowel movement. There is no need to be concerned as long as she is comfortable while having a bowel movement and is otherwise acting well.
Contact your pediatrician: If your newborn’s navel area becomes red or if you notice foul smelling discharge.
Contact your pediatrician: If the area continues to be red or swollen beyond the first few weeks or if your baby develops a fever*.
Contact your pediatrician: Any time you spot blood in your baby’s diaper, just to be sure.
Contact your pediatrician right away: If your baby shows signs of a seizure (rhythmic jerking and loss of consciousness).
Contact your pediatrician: If you see any signs of blood in your baby’s poop.
Contact your pediatrician: If your baby is too sleepy to feed or is difficult to wake up.
*A fever can be a sign of something serious. The definition of a fever in the newborn period is a rectal temperature of 100.4 or higher. A fever in a newborn is an emergency until proven otherwise, so bring your baby to the ER should she develop a fever as defined above.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns about your newborn, talk to your pediatrician.
If something doesn’t seem right with how your newborn looks or acts, trust your instincts if you believe they need medical care fast.
Learn more about pregnancy and baby services at Edward-Elmhurst Health.
8 honest truths about life with a newborn
When to take your child to the ER
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