If you’re a first time mum, you’d have a lot of questions about your newborn, and one of them is what is normal and what is not. Usually, babies present with different conditions every time and you wonder if it’s time to call your pediatrician or even pay him a visit. Some of these may be quite alarming or weird, while others might just catch your attention but won’t get you too curious.
The best thing to do, however, is to talk to your baby’s doctor and get advice when you are not sure about what is going on. Here in this post, are 15 weird things that are common to newborns, but are perfectly normal
1. Baby Boobs and Breasts Buds
Enlarged boobs are normal for both baby boys and girls. Breast buds are also present under the nipples. They are as a result of maternal hormones that they are exposed to during pregnancy. The bud tissues will shrink and become less noticeable after a few months. The buds would develop into breast tissues in females when they reach puberty.
Massaging the breast with warm water, pressing it down or attempting to squeeze some fluid out of it in a bid to make the swelling and buds disappear are not only futile, but they are also painful for your baby and can predispose them to serious health issues such as breast infection and burn.
If you have serious concerns about the size of you baby’s boobs, visit your paediatrician
2. Bloody Discharge
Bloody discharge from a baby girl’s genitals between 2 – 10 days after birth are also weird, but normal. You might notice a blood-tinged discharge on her diaper or after wiping her. This mini period is cased by a drastic decline in oestrogen, the maternal hormones she was exposed to during pregnancy. This discharge can last up to 4 days.
There is no cause for alarm when you notice this. Simply clean her lady bits carefully and wipe the blood away.
3. Swollen Genitals
Private parts of newborn may appear swollen and red. This is as a result of exposure to maternal hormones and collection of fluid in the area. A boy’s testicles and a girl’s labia may appear huge and swollen, but this will disappear in a few weeks when they get rid of excess fluid through urination.
Swollen genitals is nothing to worry about, so there’s no need to massage with warm damp clothes.
4. Weight Loss
Many newborns lose up to 5 – 10% of their baby weight in the first two weeks after birth. The main cause of weight loss in babies is the loss of excess fluid they accumulated while they were in the womb. Another cause is because they are still mastering breastfeeding, so they may not be getting enough milk. At about 2 weeks, however, babies normally begin to latch properly and get adequate supply of milk so they would begin to gain weight from then onwards.
Baby losing some weight that early does not usually mean your breast milk supply is low, and so you should introduce formula. Breast milk is best for your baby, and if you decide to breastfeed, it’s best to continue regardless of the weight loss.
If you have continuous worry about the weight loss, you should talk to your baby’s paediatrician.
5. Frequent Hiccups
These start from when they are foetuses. The causes are not specifically known, although some research showed they might be a natural burping mechanism to help free some space in the baby’s belly and allow them to have more food. But almost always, hiccups are harmless.
If the hiccups continues for a very long time, like 30-45 minutes, you should consider talking to your doctor about it. You shouldn’t give baby water or hold their nose in order to make it stop.
6. Frequent Spit Ups
It is normal for babies to spit up shortly after they had breast milk or formula. During the first few months, many babies experience acid reflux which makes food come back to their oesophagus from their stomach . This is because their cardiac sphincter and upper oesophageal sphincter are not yet strong enough. It is not normal if babies have forceful or projectile vomit as these could indicate an infection or an underlying condition such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), so you should consult your doctor as soon as possible.
7. Straining to Poop
You’d be surprised to know how may things we do effortlessly now that we had had to learn as babies. Pooping was one of them. Infant dyschezia is the term used to describe a condition where babies strain to defecate. When trying to poop, one has to tighten or squeeze the abdominal muscles and relax the pelvic floor muscles.
Babies, however, tighten the pelvic floor muscles at the same time as the abdominal muscles and that results in futile attempts to defecate. The process can be quite uncomfortable for them but after a few trials and errors, they get it right. Pooping can take a few weeks to master.
Intervening and trying to help the baby poop by stimulating their anus with Q-tips and oil or warm water will temporarily help, but it will lengthen the learning process and the discomfort will continue for longer than necessary. If you notice that your baby’s stool is hard and you suspect constipation as the reason for the straining, consult your doctor.
8. Crying a Lot
Babies cry a lot in their early days. They only way they communicate is to cry. Whether they are hungry, cold or hot, need nappy change, want to be held, tired, sleepy and when they have colic. Whenever they cry, try to figure out what’s wrong rather than panic. Sometimes, the cry can be so intense and you would wonder if you need to call your doctor, but you most likely don’t.
Sometimes you can’t seem to figure out why they cry or what to do to make them stop. But as long as the baby isn’t showing any signs of sickness, you can safely assume that they will stop crying later
9. Cold Extremities
When I first had my baby, I always thought she was cold whenever her extremities were cold. With that assumption, coupled with the fact that in my country it is culturally unacceptable to underdress a baby even when it’s hot, I always tried to cover her hands and feet to keep them warm. Until I learnt that their extremities are always cold because they are still cold blooded (they were aquatic until they were born), I was always worried.
Ensure you put them under adequate temperature and dress them up according to the weather. After doing that, you do not have to worry about the cold extremities.
10. Crossed Eyes
It is normal for babies eyes to move independently of each other when they are newborns. This usually resolves by the time they are 4 months old, and may reoccur only occasionally till they are toddlers. until then, you don’t have to worry that they have strabismus.
11. Sneezing a Lot
From birth to about 5 weeks, it’s normal for babies to sneeze a lot. They sneeze
because they need to clear their lungs and airways from residual amniotic fluid. It could also be because they are new to this world and particles in the air could easily irritate their respiratory system.
You should be concerned if the frequency of the sneeze is too much and the baby is showing other signs of sickness such as greenish mucus and fever.
12. Random Jerking Movements
The abundant space around them after birth isn’t something they are used to, and it takes a while before they get accustomed to it. Because of this much space, they tend to jerk up randomly, sometimes from sleep.
These movements are called startle or Moro reflexes and are normal. If they indicate anything, it’s that your baby is well aware of his/her surroundings.
It would help to swaddle them at sleep time to help them get the snuggly womb feeling and help them sleep better
13. Cradle Cap
Cradle cap is the term used to describe white flaky patches on baby’s head. It is something that many babies have, especially if they have some hair. It is nothing to be worried about and it will eventually disappear on it’s own.
You can get rid of it by applying coconut oil on the affected areas and gently combing out the flakes. Gently massaging coconut oil on the baby’s scalp might help relieve the itchiness too. You can’t get rid of them all in a day, so be patient because it will take a while.
14. Strange Noises
Babies make a lot of different sounds when awake and even while they are asleep. This is said to be caused by mucus trapped in their respiratory system and since they can’t blow it out, it whistles and makes snort-like sounds as they breathe.
15. Skin Issues
Acne, rashes, wrinkled skin and peeling are very common in newborns. Babies have several skin issues at birth and they may have several until they are about a year old. Pimples develop because their pores are not large enough to release the sebum. Their skin is prone to rashes and breakouts. Sometimes, their skin reacts with chemicals from products and some ingredients in food.
Try to introduce new products or food one at a time to be able to detect any reactions your baby could have. Apply coconut oil or shea butter regularly on any rash till they disappear. If the rashes refuse to disappear, consult your doctor.
What are those things that got you worried about your baby?