If you’re a new parent, almost everything your baby does raises some sort of question. When I brought my little newborn baby boy home from the hospital, I had to stop myself from calling the doctor's office for every little cough and poop and gurgle. (I texted instead--our family's pediatrician was also a close friend.)
Still, despite the common anxieties, most issues are totally normal and nothing to worry about, says Stanford-trained Pediatrician Whitney Casares, MD, MPH, FAAP, author of The Newborn Baby Blueprint: Preparing to Care for your Infant and Yourself.
Even as an expert herself who was trained to take care of new parents’ most burning issues on a daily basis, Dr. Casares was alarmed when she encountered her own with her newborn, hence she decided to write a book.
She shared some very common worries new parents share with her... and a few things you don't have to fret about.
· Odor around the umbilical cord. When the umbilical cord falls off, it is a piece of rotting flesh. Dr. Casares is always reminding people of that. And it smells like it! That said, it’s never normal for it to be red or have huge amounts of pus or grain or anything like that, but a small bit of discharge and bad odor are totally normal.
· So many newborns have that stuffed-up sound to them – congestion, maybe sneezing. When do you become concerned about that? You have to remember they’ve been living in a water-filled environment for about 9 months before they come out, and so it’s normal for them to have some of that there. If it’s increasing over the course of a couple weeks to a month, that would be cause for concern, as would be it causing them to have difficulty breathing or feeding – that’s a red flag.
· So many skin issues with a newborn. Of course you want that pristine complexion and then it can change overnight. You might see some pimples, some dry skin. Normal? Yes, hormonal changes, again, changes in terms of the environment that the baby was just in, those things all make it so that a baby’s skin is going through so many changes – very normal.
· We watch what’s in the diapers. If you don’t see #2 for a few days – normal! In the very beginning, as breastfeeding is getting going, really important that lots of stool and urine can be there. After things are well-established, after a couple weeks, it can be up to 7 days that a breastfed baby doesn’t have a bowel movement. As long as when it does come out it is soft and mushy, it’s totally normal.
· An appearance about the eyes – maybe a cross-eyed look to the baby. When babies are first born, it’s very normal for their eyes to cross kind of intermittently because their nervous system is still getting going, their optic system is still getting going. But after several months, it’s not normal at all, so that’s something you should talk to your pediatrician about. In the beginning, though, it’s completely normal.
· Frequent hiccupping. Everything is immature, every single thing in a baby is still developing when they come out. So, hiccupping is normal.