These common newborn problems can scare you to death mama, but they’re very much manageable. Here is the answer to scary newborn problems.
Are there scary common newborn problems you’ve encountered in your motherhood journey?
When you first hold your newborn in your hands, no one gives you a manual concerning their growth path.
As such, you may be tempted to compare your baby’s developmental milestones against other kids, especially those you’ve raised.
But does this approach always go well with us?
In this parental journey of faith, your kids will have different experiences, and some will be scary for sure.
No wonder the phrase” this one is not like the other.”
Yes, and they will never be the same.
As a mom of three, I have witnessed scary newborn experiences that could give one anxiety attacks.
How I managed to sail through, God knows.
This post highlights some scary newborns experiences which can make new moms blood curdled.
So, why don’t you keep reading?
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15 Common Newborn Problems That Scare New Parents
1. Baby Menstruation Newborn Problem
Wired as it may sound, your newborn baby girl can have some minor vaginal bleeding within her first 2-10 days after birth.
This is normal and is referred to as false menses.
Baby menstruation is one of the most scary common newborn problems you can encounter as a new mother.
According to medics, false menses may occur due to the baby’s exposure to the mother’s hormones in utero.
After birth and subsequent hormonal changes in your little one’s body, your baby may experience mild bleeding that can be traced in their diaper. And it only lasts about 1-2 days.
Additionally, their genitals may look swollen with a minor milky discharge.
Medically reviews suggest that this is normal and there is nothing to be alarmed about, so long as the blood-tinged discharge doesn’t last more than 3 or 4 days.
How do you care for your baby girl’s genitals during this time?
Regular baby wash is enough, mama. Spread baby’s genitals and gently wash out the creases. There is no need to go any deeper or use hash soaps.
Nature takes care of naturally cleaning the inside of the yoni. Just clean, warm water is enough to keep your baby clean.
Also, always wipe with water based diapers from front to back to avoid contamination of the vaginal area from the stool.
When should you worry about your newborn’s genitals?
Contact your pediatric provider if the bleeding goes beyond three days, increases in quantity or has a foul odor, as this may indicate infection.
2. Witch Milk Secretion
Witch milk secretion is also on of scary newborn experiences you may encounter.
Sometimes after birth, you may notice that your baby has swollen breasts with a fluid like milk.
This is called Witch’s milk or neonatal milk.
According to medics, neonatal milk occurs in about 5% of neonates and can affect both gender.
The term “witch’s milk” originates from ancient folklore that believed that the milk from a newborn’s nipple was a source of nourishment for witches’ familiar spirits.
As such, parents made sure to remove it before the arrival of the witches.
But that is not true.
Research shows that neonatal milk or Galactorrhea results from the influence of the mother’s hormones on the baby before birth, scientifically known as a transplacental maternal hormone.
While in the womb, a baby may get high maternal estrogen levels to pass into their bloodstream via the placenta.
This can cause your baby’s breast tissue to enlarge, causing Galactorrhea.
High estrogen levels in your breast milk after your baby is born can also contribute to neonatal milk secretion because The mother’s hormones can persist in the baby’s body for weeks.
How long does neonatal milk take to dry up?
Studies indicate that about 2% of babies who experience these conditions have their neonatal milk secretion dry up in about two weeks.
Some may experience it much longer, but the condition will resolve spontaneously within a few months.
Can you squeeze to remove witch milk?
Traditionally, some parents would squeeze out this milk to avoid attracting witches.
But that is not the case nowadays.
According to medics, massaging your newborn’s breast will stimulate their breast tissue leading to the secretion of more milk.
As such, it is highly discouraged. Do not massage, extract or manipulate the breast tissue of your young one. Breast manipulation may result in inflammation, abscesses and mastitis.
Is there a need for treatment?
The condition usually resolves spontaneously within a few months. No treatment is necessary unless the area becomes red or tender, an indication of infections like mastitis.
When to seek help
If the nipple discharge occurs on both sides of the baby’s breasts and isn’t spontaneous (only occurs when the nipples are squeezed) is usually considered OK.
However, you should seek medical intervention if the milky secretion goes beyond 2 months or the area becomes red and tender. Be sure to discuss this issue with a pediatrician as soon as you notice the secretion.
3. Cradle Cap Newborn Problem
Cradle cap is common and affects most newborns. It’s the appearance of crusty or greasy scaly patches on a baby’s scalp.
Most parents find cradle caps scary, especially when the scaly patches start turning yellowish or start spreading on other body parts like the eyelids, armpits, groin, and ears.
The condition isn’t painful or itchy. But it can cause thick white or yellow scales that aren’t easy to remove.
but you may wander,
What causes cradle cap in newborns?
According to medics, a cradle cap may result from your baby’s oil glands producing too much oil (sebum), which may interfere with the natural shedding of skin on your baby’s scalp.
This can create a build-up of dead skin over the scalp.
Does poor hygiene cause cradle caps?
No, mama, cradle cap has nothing to do with poor hygiene. Professional health care providers suggest that the condition is due to oil glands in the baby’s scalp producing too much oil.
Do not be too hard on your baby. It is not an allergy. And neither is It caused by poor hygiene, nor does it pose any severe health implications on your young one.
What is the fastest natural remedy for cradle caps?
The cradle cap usually clears up in weeks or a few months. Home care measures include washing your baby’s scalp daily with a mild shampoo to help loosen and remove the scales.
If the scaling is heavy, apply a natural oil to the scalp before shampooing. Afterward you may gently wash the hair and brush the scalp lightly to loosen the scale. Over time, I have found using The 3 -Step Cradle Cap system effective in managing the dead skin.
Be sure not to scratch the cradle cap too hard, as you may accidentally injure your newborn.
If you’re a traditional mama like me, you may find using your breast milk effective in reducing the severity of cradle cap in your newborn. To do this;
- spray some breast milk in your baby’s hair and massage for about 5 minutes.
- add coconut oil to soften the flakes and continue massaging for additional five minutes
- Brush off loosened flakes
- Shampoo with mild soap and rinse thoroughly.
- You may repeat the process daily or during bath sessions.
Note; Breast milk contains many protective components and can help ease the severity of eye issues, cradle cap and mild rashes, which sometimes are related to allergies.
How do you know if the cradle cap is infected?
Talk to your doctor if the skin around the cradle cap becomes swollen with red blisters or lesions with a foul smell.
This can be a sign of inflammation. Your professional healthcare provider may recommend products that can help with further irritation.
4. Baby Twitching in their Sleep
Baby twitching or involuntary muscle jerks is a normal occurrence in most babies.
Scary as it may seem, some research suggests that these myoclonic twitches may foster baby development by transforming rudimentary movements into coordinated movements.
But what causes twitching in sleep?
According to medics, twitching in babies happen during deep sleep, also known as REM(Rapid Eye Movement.
REM sleep is the deepest stage of sleep which occurs after the four NREM stages and is the .
It involves rapid eye movements and dreams. In this sleep stage your body experiences almost complete paralysis , except for twitches.
Studies on animals links twitching during REM sleep to brain and sensorimotor development.
When baby twitches in sleep, they activate circuits in their developing brain—activating these circuits teaches babies’ brains about their respective body parts and what to do with them.
One study shows that there’s plenty of REM sleep during early development. Researchers link these twitches to synchronizing developing structures and strengthening neural connections.
As your child grows, you may notice the twitching patterns change.
Parents are encouraged to observe a link between what is twitching during sleep and what new skills the baby is displaying.
For example, twitching in the wrists and fingers may usher your baby into a stage of reaching out for things.
Sometimes, however, twitching may indicate serious health issues with your baby that need medical attention.
How do you tell if your baby’s sleep twitches are normal development?
If the twitching stops when your baby is awake , it’s likely harmless myoclonic twitches.
If your newborn is experiencing twitching movements, including stiffening when awake, you may be dealing with a seizure issue such as:
- Infantile spasms which may occur between 2 and 12 months of age and involve a cluster of jerks and body stiffening.
- Benign familial neonatal convulsions which may begin within the first few days of life and persist up to 9 months of age.
- Febrile seizures which can occur during illness when your baby experiences a rapid spike in temperature.
- Epilepsy disorders
If you have concerns about baby twitching, be sure to take a video and Reach out to your doctor for medical reviews.
5. Newborn Head Misshapen
Anytime a woman goes into labor and subsequent childbirth, you expect to have a perfect baby.
But this is not the case all the time.
Sometimes your newborn may pop out with a little funny-shaped head. Or better still, come out with a round head only to become flat on one side a few weeks or months down the road.
If this ever happens to you, don’t worry.
Baby’s head shape changes are completely normal.
There are many good reasons why newborns don’t have perfectly round-shaped heads, to begin with. This includes the labor and birth process.
Babies’ heads comprise several flat bones loosely joined together to allow flexibility during the birth process.
Yes, these little heads are moldable and slightly squishable to help them easily slide down the birth canal.
This is why your newborn’s head might look “squished” if you’ve had a long labor or if you have a vaginal birth.
Additionally, your newborn may get a head misshapen due to positional head changes.
A newborn can temporarily get a flattened head from:
• back sleeping all the time
• too much time lying down. This can be in a car seat, stroller, or rocker during the day
• preferring to always sleep with their head turned to one side
• tight neck muscles (muscular torticollis) that make it easier for baby to turn their head to one side only
How do you treat a baby’s misshapen head?
Newborns with strange head shapes from their birth journey normally don’t need any treatment.
The unevenness on the head may level up within 2 -3 weeks as the head bones slide back into place.
If your baby has positional head shape changes, at-home methods may help treat the problem.
Try these remedies to help your baby’s head shape even out:
- Change your baby’s head position often. Put a bright toy on the sides to encourage your baby to turn their head often.
- Try to hold your baby upright when they are awake to give their head a break from always resting against something.
- Give your baby regular tummy time while awake to help strengthen their neck muscles.
- Taking your baby for physical therapy early enough can also help correct the head unevenness.
- Baby helmets. If your baby’s misshapen head hasn’t changed within 4 months, they may need to wear their little helmet temporarily. Be sure to consult your pediatrician before buying the headbands or helmets.
When should I worry about my baby’s misshapen head?
Some changes in a baby’s head shape can mean too much pressure inside the head. This can be harmful to a baby’s developing brain.
Let your doctor know immediately if you notice anything unusual or different about your baby’s head shape, like:
• your baby’s head shape is still misshapen 2 weeks or more after birth
• a bulging or swollen spot on your baby’s head
• no soft spot (fontanelle) on your baby’s head
• firm or raised edges on their head
• changes in your baby’s eye shape or positioning
• changes in your baby’s forehead shape
• slow or no growth in your baby’s head size
6. Natal and Neonatal Teeth
Normal babies start teething around 6 months of age. Some babies may start teething as early as 3 months. Then again, some do it later on.
But there is still this worrisome breed of unique babies with teeth at birth or the development of teeth in the first few weeks.
These are the type of teeth that can bring mom’s head to a standstill.
The Natal and Neonatal Teeth
What is the difference between natal and neonatal teeth?
Natal teeth are present at birth. Neonatal teeth tend to erupt much later.
According to research, neonatal teeth grow within the first few days of life, approximately within the first 30 days after birth.
The appearance of Neonatal teeth may be too quick for your baby to exhibit the normal telltale signs of teething like drooling, fussiness, and biting their fingers.
You may only notice a small, loose, and discolored tooth glaring in the mouth of your little one.
What causes natal and neonatal teeth?
While the condition’s cause is unknown, studies point to child developmental issues as the main cause.
Other causes may include excessive development during the initiation and proliferation stage or Hyperactivity of osteoblastic cells within the tooth germ.
What are the effects of neonatal teeth?
Neonatal teeth may cause suckling problems, choking risks, soft tissue injuries in the baby, and nipple pain in the mother.
Some studies also suggest that neonatal teeth may result in complications like developing sublingual ulceration or Riga-Fede disease. This disease is associated with repetitive trauma to the area.
How do you manage natal and neonatal teeth?
Natal teeth are often removed shortly after birth while the newborn infant is still in the hospital. This is often done if the tooth is loose and the child risks “breathing in” the tooth.
Your health care provider may use a special liquid or Ashton or soda mint to rub against the neonatal teeth and the adjacent gum. Then with time, they will disappear by themselves.
Also, your dentist may recommend the extraction of neonatal teeth if they pose a health risk due to poor rooting. It can often be performed with just topical anesthetic cream.
7. Baby Constipation
sometimes, you may notice that your baby will go beyond a day without having poop.
This is quite normal.
You don’t have to be concerned if your baby is feeding well and the poops are soft and passed without a struggle.
How do you tell if your baby is constipating?
- Passing at most three stools a week.
- Having lumpy or hard stools.
- Straining to have bowel movements.
- Feeling like they can’t empty the stool from their rectum.
- bloated tummy
Best home remedies for baby constipation
- Ensure you give your newborn a warm bath to relax their tummy.
- Using circular motions, massage your baby’s tummy in a clockwise direction. You may start from the belly button outwards.
- Lie your baby on their back and gently move their legs backward and forwards in a ‘bicycle’ motion.
Visit your pediatrician if your little one doesn’t poop for more than five days. Or, they are in severe pain when pooing, have traces of blood in their poop, have a fever, have a bloated tummy, and are not breastfeeding.
8. Skin Rashes and Patches
Many types of skin rashes may affect your newborn.
While they are rarely an emergency, some rashes can cause distress and fussiness in a baby.
The Main Causes of rashes in babies include:
Common type of baby rashes
This can be caused by wetness or the acidity of a baby’s urine and feces. A diaper creates a damp and moist environment on the baby’s skin.
If left uncharged for a long time, the acidity in urine and feces may irritate their delicate skin.
To help lower the risk of diaper rash,
- use good quality and absorbent diapers to foster dryness
and ensure your frequent change of your baby’s diaper.
- Use a soft cloth with water to wipe your baby after poop. Pre-packaged wipes are also good, but rinsing off with water is a sure bet to reduce diaper rashes.
- using a barrier cream before using a diaper
- Also, check whether Certain types of food aggravate her already sensitive skin and worsen diaper rash symptoms. Decreasing acidic foods, like citrus, in your baby’s diet may help.
Heat rash occurs in infants due to blocked pores of the sweat glands.
It’s more prevalent when the weather is hot or humid. As your infant sweats, little red bumps and possibly tiny blisters form because the blocked glands cannot clear the sweat.
- Dress your baby in fewer layers of clothes
- Invest in lightweight, soft cotton clothing. Cotton is very absorbent and keeps moisture away from the baby’s skin.
- Use the air conditioner to regulate the room temperatures
9. Baby Hiccups
Baby Hiccups may happen when the baby’s diaphragm contracts. These forces air out through closed vocal cords, creating the hiccupping sound.
The diaphragm is the main muscle the body uses for breathing. A rapid closing of the vocal cords creates the sound of hiccups.
Most new moms get disturbed by baby hiccupping, especially if it becomes a habit. But do you? Some studies suggest that hiccups may affect your baby’s brain development and breathing.
Hiccups in infants are likely another development tool — and one of the earliest they develop in the womb.
Additionally, a 2012 research suggests that the hiccup reflex may remove excess air from the stomach. They are associated with triggers like
• eats too quickly
• swallows too much air
How do you prevent and stop baby hiccupping?
You can try the following:
• To prevent the hiccups from happening, make sure your baby is not fussy when feeding to prevent them from gasping a lot of air. Do not wait until your baby is so hungry that they’re upset and crying before feeding begins.
· Just let the hiccups clear by themselves
· Breastfeeding your baby can also stop the hiccup
• Take a break from feeding and burp the baby, as this can eliminate any excess gas.
• Offer them a pacifier, as this may relax the diaphragm. Leave them to hiccups, and they will probably stop alone.
10. Spit Ups or Gastroesophageal Reflux
Mama, babies spit up a lot. According to the mayo clinic, reflux in babies may occur when milk comes back up from a baby’s stomach and out of the mouth.
Sometimes the milk may even come out through the nose, leaving new moms with anxiety attacks.
Do not worry, mama.
This occurrence is common even in healthy babies and may not cause serious health implications for your little one.
What causes reflux in babies?
According to the Mayo Clinic, a developmental milestone may contribute to baby spit-ups in their early months after birth.
In the early months of baby development, about half of all babies experience their stomach contents returning to the esophagus.
This condition is known as gastroesophageal reflux, infant reflux, or infant acid reflux.
Normally, the muscle between the esophagus and the stomach (lower esophageal sphincter) keeps stomach contents intact.
However, this muscle is not fully developed with babies, leading to spitting up, especially if your baby is full.
Also, swallowing excess air while feeding(aerophagia), eating too fast, overfeeding, and coughing while eating can also result in spit-ups.
Additionally, overstimulation caused by bouncing or tummy time immediately after feeds can cause reflex.
Is there a difference between normal spitting up and vomiting?
Spitting up is more natural and involves the easy flow of a baby’s stomach contents through their mouth. There is no pain or struggle.
On the other hand, vomiting occurs when the flow is forceful — shooting out inches rather than dribbling from the mouth.
Can spitting up affect your baby’s growth?
No. Rarely does Normal spitting interfere with a baby’s development? Provided your baby is eating well and gaining weight, there’s little cause for concern. The spitting up may stop by the age of 12 months.
How can you reduce spitting up in babies?
• If your baby is prone to spitting, you may try smaller feeds at a time. You can feed them off on one breast or reduce the amount of formula offered at any time.
• Make sure your baby remains upright for about 20 to 30 minutes after feeding.
• Limit active baby games or movements immediately after feeds.
• Take breaks in between the feeding to burp your baby.
• Avoid clothing your baby in tight clothing and diapers that may add pressure to their stomach after feeding.
• Do not put your baby to sleep on their stomach immediately after feeds.
• If your baby spits up but is happy and gaining weight, it is no need to worry.
Although spit-up may be common in newborns, complications like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can develop in some infants.
Some signs that what your infant is experiencing is not normal spit-up but GERD are:
• choking on the spit-up as it comes out
• an unhappy, uncomfortable baby due to apparent heartburn or painful reflux all day long
• poor weight gain
Contact your pediatrician if your baby:
• Isn’t gaining weight
• Spits up forcefully
• Spits up blood or bile-green or yellow fluid
• Your baby is not feeding well
• He has blood in his stool
• Has difficulty breathing
• Chokes on milk to the extent of going limp
• spit-up becomes projectile Vomiting,
11. Baby Stick Eyes
Some newborn babies have sticky eyes with yellow discharge in the early weeks after birth.
According to a study, sticky eyes are caused by blocked tear duct that is still developing.
Usually, the problem is not severe and may clear within a few days on its own.
However, it may reoccur until your baby is about six months old.
Sticky eyes are watery, crusting at the corner of the eyes or across the eyelid, and glued or matted eyelashes.
This can happen to one eye or both.
If the discharge from the eyes is not accompanied by other symptoms, such as redness or itching, it is mostly not an infection.
However, if you notice eye redness, eye discharge, or excessive watering of the eyes, you should speak with a doctor to diagnose the cause and rule out an eye infection.
Home remedy for sticky eyes
- Warm saline water
- Deep a clean, soft cloth and wipe your baby’s eyes
- You may apply a few drops of breast milk if you’re breastfeeding
12. Infant Neck Rashes
Why do babies’ necks get raw?
Some babies tend to have skin folds under their necks. If this happens, the heat, friction, and moisture may combine to form intertrigo, a rash that irritates the skin and the outside protective layer.
Intertrigo occurs due to excessive moisture from drool and spit-up that collects in your baby’s skin folds and doesn’t dry out.
Also, your baby may get neck yeast infections.
This is a type of skin rash that is common in babies below six months due to numerous skin folds in the neck.
These type of rashes are common in babies under four months old because they have more neck skin folds.
Intertrigo is usually a raw, red, and weepy rash with cuts between skin folds.
How do you treat a baby’s neck fold rash?
Applying a thin coat of a healing ointment or petroleum jelly may help heal your baby’s raw neck.
These skin barriers prevent baby drool from affecting the baby’s skin.
Also, use a mild bathing soap to prevent further neck irritation especially if it happens due to allergic reaction to some products.
Above all, ensure that your baby’s neck remain dry all the time by using bibs and absorbed cotton vests.
13. Mildly Erratic Breathing
Ever noticed your newborns having irregular breathing patterns?
This may be a significant concern for new parents.
Sometimes your newborn can breathe fast, take long pauses between breaths, and make unusual noises.
Most of the time, this is normal.
Newborns’ breathing looks and sounds different from adults due to some reasons. These includes:
- Their lungs are small relative to the size of their bodies.
- Their breathing pathways are much smaller and easier to obstruct.
- Their respiration has yet to develop since they still have to learn to use their lungs and the associated breathing muscles fully.
- Some researchers also suspect that newborns’ chemical sensors that detect carbon dioxide aren’t fully developed. Babies sometimes don’t know they need to breathe, and they pause until carbon dioxide levels become high enough to trigger these sensors.
One thing you can do is to pay close attention to your newborn’s typical breathing pattern. This way, you can learn what’s usual for them — so you’ll be able to tell if something is different later.
What does typical newborn breathing look like?
According to a study, a newborn may take 30 to 60 breaths per minute. Sometimes their breathing may slow to about 30 to 40 breaths per minute when they sleep. Meanwhile, an adult will have about 12 to 20 breaths per minute.
Can you spot the difference between the two breathing patterns?
While you may think your newborn is painting yet they are generally fine.
But that is not all.
Sometimes your newborn can also have periodic breathing.
You may notice that they pause between breaths and can last for about 3 seconds, followed by clusters of puffs, which are often fast and shallow.
This is normal, and their breathing patterns will change as they grow.
When to worry about baby breathing patterns
Irregular breathing can be very alarming. However, you must first learn your baby’s breathing patterns to see whether they look distressed.
Tips for moms
- Learn your child’s typical breathing patterns, so you’re better prepared to identify what’s not okay.
- Take a video of your baby’s breathing and show it to a doctor for advice.
- Always have your baby sleep on their back to prevent the risk of SIDs
- Use Saline drops to loosen thick mucus and open up the nostrils for better breathing.
- Clothe your baby in breathable fabrics to prevent overheating, which is also a cause for fast breathing in infants. You should only add one extra layer more than what you wear for the weather that day.
Seek immediate medical care if.
- There are changes in skin color like bluish. This may signal a lack of enough oxygen circulation in their system.
- The pauses in between breathing last more than 20 seconds. This may indicate a problem such as an infant apnea.
- Your baby is grunting or moaning at the end of each breath
- Has difficulty breathing that is followed by seizures
- Has difficulty feeding
- Has a high fever
14. False ‘’ First Cold’’
Newborns seem to experience false first cold symptoms within the first few days after birth.
False “first cold is associated with the baby’s tiny nasal passages that can easily get clogged with the change in environment.
Typically, a false cold can bother you more than it does your baby, and there may be very little you can do to “help” them clear things out.
Though this doesn’t usually require any treatment, you may consider talking with a pediatrician about ways to help improve their breathing if needed, such as using saline drops or a nasal aspirator.
If your baby is also experiencing other cold symptoms like irritability, decreased appetite, or difficulty sleeping, it’s best to talk with a doctor to address any concerns and determine whether they may have a cold or other infection.
15. Baby Jaundice
Jaundice is a scary newborn experience that can worry a new mom. Seeing your baby turn yellow is not easy. Babies with jaundice typically have yellow skin and tilt in the eyes.
According to medics, jaundice occurs if bilirubin, a substance released when the red blood cells are broken in the body, is not effectively excreted.
Studies show that babies have many red blood cells in their body for oxygen circulation. These blood cells are broken down and frequently replaced by the liver as the baby grows.
During the breakdown process, red blood cell produces a yellow substance known as bilirubin. Bilirubin is then expelled from the body via the liver.
If the production of bilirubin is high, your baby’s liver may be unable to remove it effectively; thus, the excess bilirubin may cause jaundice.
The good news, however, is that babies with a low level of jaundice in the blood do not require medical treatment. The condition usually gets better within a few days without harming the baby.
How can you manage jaundice at home?
According to a study, exposing your baby to morning sunlight for about 30-60 minutes can help manage mild jaundice at home. The sun emits light in the spectrum conducive to converting bilirubin to its water-soluble isomers for excretion.
Bilirubin at a high level may be fatal to your baby. If you suspect your baby has these conditions, first conduct your pediatrician to ascertain the level of bilirubin in the blood for a prescription of the best treatment.
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DISCLAIMER The information contained in this post is for general information purposes only. I’m not a health practitioner and as such, this information should not be used as a substitute for consultation with your professional service provider.