Chelsea Wicks, MD, pediatrician, Renown Medical Group
I often get asked the same questions regarding newborns several times throughout the day. Many of these questions are asked by first time parents but I also get them from veteran parents as every baby is different and does different things. Most of these are normal things that can occur but are not discussed in most parenting classes or in the books.
1. My newborn is congested and sneezing all the time. Does this mean they’re getting sick?
Not likely. Especially here in Northern Nevada, most of the newborns will develop some element of nasal congestion due to the dry climate. It’s a way for the body to product the airway from drying out too much. Most babies are able the clear this congestion on their own, but using the bulb syringe to suction it out can be helpful for them so they can breathe through their nose more comfortably. If it seems too dry, you can also use over the counter saline nose drops formulated specifically for infants. The sneezing is a common reaction for the baby to get used to the new environment. They have just come from soaking in water to a whole new air-filled environment. If the baby is having any difficulty breathing, a fever or stops eating well, these are signs that they could be getting sick and should be evaluated.
2. Why is there an orangeish/pink color in my newborns urine?
During the first few days, newborns can have some crystals in their urine as their kidneys are learning how to work and filter things out properly. Once they start eating and voiding regularly, this should clear up. It typically lasts up to 5 days.
3. Why does my newborn girl have discharge from her vagina?
Newborns still have some of mom’s hormones in their blood stream for up to a couple of weeks after they are born. Because of this, females can have a vaginal discharge. Sometimes the discharge can also be streaked with blood which is normal too. This should clear within 1-2 weeks.
4. Why does my baby have diarrhea?
Exclusively breastfed babies will have very frequent, watery stools. Many will poop after every time they eat and it will appear as though there is not much consistency to them. Usually there will be what appear to be tiny seeds in the stool. This too is normal. As their digestive tract matures, the stool will start to thicken and become less frequent.
5. What are these red patches with white spots all over my newborn’s skin?
There is a common newborn rash that develops within the first few days after birth that is similar to an allergic process but is normal. The rash does not bother them or cause any other problems. It usually clears by 2 weeks old.
As always, if you see anything you’re concerned about, it’s always worth checking with your child’s primary care provider. To find a doctor visit renown.org/FindADoc.