What to Expect the First Year: 10 Solutions for Common Health Problems
Conditons like baby eczema and GERD are common in the first year of life. Read on to learn more about these conditions and others.
1. Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD)
“One hundred percent of babies under 6 months reflux stomach contents back up,” says Dr. Shelly David Senders of Senders Pediatric Research in University Heights, Ohio. “That is because the valve that keeps things in the stomach is a two-way valve for the first six to nine months and then eventually becomes one way. Babies often overeat and often don’t burp effectively, and so a little extra food under a little more pressure comes up the mouth and occasionally out the nose. Most of the time,
reflux is painless. Occasionally, it can be painful as well.”
Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD) Solution
Burping your baby more often helps, as does positioning Baby at an angle whenever possible. GERD is not harmful, but it is annoying, just as it is for adults, Dr. Senders says.
2. Diaper Rash
Any baby who wears a diaper will have
diaper rash at some point. Diaper rash, according to Dr. Jordanna Gilman, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, is irritation of the skin in the diaper area. “Bacteria and yeast deposits can cause a rash,” Dr. Gilman says.
Diaper Rash Solution
Change diapers frequently. If a rash is present, use a warm wet wash cloth, not baby wipes, which can cause irritation to clean the diaper area. After it is clean, cover the area with zinc oxide, which provides a protective barrier, Dr. Gilman says. Don’t use lotions, powders, or oils, which can irritate this sensitive area.
The arrival of the first tooth is exciting, but extremely painful for the baby. When teething, babies will often drool excessively (which can cause a rash), have diarrhea, and be feverish. These are
symptoms of teething and are generally harmless.
Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen for the
teething pain. To numb the gum, use something ice cold like a teething ring, frozen wash cloth, a cold spoon, or let Baby eat an ice pop.
4. Ear Infections
Ear infections are extremely common in infants. A sure sign of an ear infection is when the child frequently tugs on the sore ear, Dr. Senders says. A fever and cold symptoms are also often present. Ear infections are felt in the jaw, so it may mimic teething pain as well.
Ear Infections Solution
Call the pediatrician to verify that it is an ear infection and follow the doctor’s advice.
Eczema is dry, red, itchy skin. “It first appears on the cheeks, then the arms and legs,” Dr. Gilman says. It does not usually appear in the diaper area. It occurs when Baby’s skin becomes dehydrated.
Keep the skin well hydrated. Baths can help hydrate the skin, but avoid using soap, which can dry out the skin. Immediately after the bath, apply a cream like Vaseline to lock the moisture in the skin. During the winter, when the air is dry, use humidifiers. Drinking fluids doesn’t help hydrate the skin, Dr. Gilman says. Skin is hydrated externally.
Although colic is very common, experts can’t come up with the exact cause. It could be due to the baby eating too fast and is mimicking GERD systems. It could be a reaction to an inexperienced parent or any kind of excitement or anger in the household. “In most children, this is a mismatch between parental expectations and normal newborn activity,” Dr. Senders says. “I like to point out that it takes two months to get to know a person. Active children do everything with gusto—they cry with gusto, they eat with gusto, and when they are 3 months, they giggle with gusto.”
Swaddling is very helpful, Dr. Senders says. “Non-nutritive sucking appears to be the most helpful,” he adds. “Using your finger or a pacifier is like a glass of wine, a hot shower, and a back rub all in one.” Some babies are soothed by rocking or riding in a car or the sound and motion of the washing machine. Most important, the parent should stay as calm as possible. When the parent is stressed, it can make the colic attack worse.
7. Newborn Rash
The most common is called erythema toxicum, which is a blotchy rash that looks like hives, Dr. Senders says. African-American and Asian children often have two different types of rashes: pustular melanosis and Mongolian spots. Pustular melanosis look like small pustules but heal up with a darkened spot underneath. Unlike infectious pustules, they are not red, nor are they filled with pus. Mongolion spots are brownish or bluish areas on the back or buttock that becomes somewhat lighter over time but remain throughout life. Baby acne, which can appear through the first six months, looks like regular acne.
Newborn Rash Solution
Nothing. These rashes disappear on their own. Dr. Gilman advises parents not to try and unclog or pop the pores.
Constipation is defined as harder stools, not infrequent stools. Babies who are breastfed have soft stools, while babies who use formula, even when combined with nursing, have harder stools. Because it is hard to make a bowel movement while lying down, it is normal for babies to strain, grunt, and turn red.
For hard stools, Dr. Senders suggests using dark Karo syrup, 1 tablespoon one to two times per day over a week and then adjusting it down and out over a few weeks. Occasionally, children who persist with hard stools have immature guts and need a little extra time.
9. Nasal Congestion
The most common reason why babies sound congested, particularly at birth, is because of GE reflux, which happens when the stomach contents reflux up and hit the back of the nose. This makes the baby sound congested.
Nasal Congestion Solution
Use a cool mist humidifier to create extra humidity in the air, which will loosen the congestion.
“Thrush is a fungal infection of the tongue and the cheeks with a germ called candida albicans,” Dr. Senders says. It is rarely painful for Baby. However, if the infant is breastfed, thrush can cause a red, cracked, and painful inflammation of the mother’s nipples. Thrush is distinguished from normal taste buds by the presence on the inside of the cheeks.
For thrush in a bottle-fed baby, there is little to do, Dr. Senders says. In a breastfed baby, the pediatrician may prescribe an antifungal drug. It is also helpful for the mother to use an antifungal cream on her nipples.
Even if your baby is reaching, rolling over, and blowing raspberries on time, you'll undoubtedly have a worry at some point soon that has you apologetically ringing your pediatrician in the middle of the night. Using his 10+ years of pediatric health (andview gallery
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