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5 Common Health Conditions Affecting Newborns and How to Handle Them | Southstar Drug

Jose Topacio

mother holding baby’s hand

Caring for newborns requires a tender hand and a watchful eye. Because babies who are just a few days old have yet to develop strong immune systems, they can easily contract illnesses that can cause them great discomfort. Their bodies also don’t know how to properly react to the symptoms because their organs aren’t mature enough and are still “learning” how to coordinate with one another. That’s why a lot of newborns end up staying in the hospital longer or are brought to the emergency room after being at home for just a few days.

Although seeing newborns in distress is alarming, the reasons behind their cries can come from common health conditions that can be easily addressed. Knowing this can give parents some relief, because they can buy medicine online and administer the right treatment after having their babies checked by their pediatricians.

As a parent, you want to ensure that you’re giving your newborn the best care, especially when they’re sick. Let’s take a look at 5 common health conditions affecting newborns, so you can spot the signs and symptoms early in order to give your baby the right treatment.


If your baby looks healthy but is fussy and constantly crying, they may have colic. Colic is quite common for babies who are 6 weeks old, and it usually occurs in the evening. Sometimes, it doesn’t take long for your baby to stop crying; unfortunately, there are also times when it takes a lot more work trying to calm your baby’s colic episode.

The exact cause of colic isn’t really known, but there are theories that suggest that it could be due to:

  • Gas trapped in your newborn’s stomach
  • Hormones that cause stomach pain
  • An imbalance of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract
  • Overstimulation

Colic typically resolves itself after your newborn has passed gas, experienced bowel movement, or after crying it out. Nevertheless, you can still help your baby manage it by using soothing strategies rubbing their tummy, rubbing their back, or simply rocking your baby. If colic persists, however, then you should take your baby to the doctor. Excessive fussiness and crying could indicate an illness or other underlying conditions.

Infant Jaundice

Jaundice occurs when your baby’s skin and the whites of their eyes have a yellowish tinge. Because of your newborn’s immature liver, their bilirubin levels are much higher and this causes their skin and eyes to yellow. Infant jaundice typically appears in babies who are 3 or 4 days old. Mild jaundice doesn’t require any treatment and can last for two to three weeks. In most cases, exposure to sunlight can help break down bilirubin faster. Babies experiencing moderate or severe jaundice, however, will need to stay in the hospital longer

Ear Infections

Newborns are more likely to suffer from ear infections because of their underdeveloped immune systems and their smaller Eustachian tubes (the part that connects the middle ears to the back of the throat). Having an underdeveloped immune system makes it harder for newborns to fight off infections. Smaller Eustachian tubes, on the other hand, make it difficult to drain fluid out of their ears.

Since your baby can’t tell you that their ear hurts, they’ll express their discomfort by pulling or scratching of infected ear, crying more, and showing irritability. They may also develop a fever and have difficulty sleeping. Taking your newborn to your pediatrician is the best solution, so your doctor can prescribe an antibiotic to deal with the infection.

Oral Thrush

Oral thrush, or oral candidiasis, occurs when a yeast called Candida albicans overgrows in the mouth. It causes the babies’ mouths to become irritated and their tongues and inner cheeks to develop white patches that can’t be easily wiped away. Small amounts of Candida albicans live in everyone, including babies, and a healthy immune system and good bacteria can control the growth of this fungus. Since a newborn’s immune system is not yet fully developed, their bodies have a difficult time controlling the fungus’ numbers.

Some cases of oral thrush disappear within one to two weeks without medical treatment. However, it’s best to bring your baby to the pediatrician to have it checked. Serious cases can cause your baby to feed poorly, since sucking makes their mouth feel sore. Administration of anti-fungal medication is needed to combat severe oral thrush.

There are several ways you can prevent oral thrush. If your newborn uses a pacifier or is formula-fed, make sure that the silicone nipples are thoroughly cleaned after each use. This ensures that the yeast won’t cling to the nipples and re-infect your baby. If you breastfeed your baby, on the other hand, check the conditions of your nipples. If they’re sore and red, you might have a yeast infection and you’re passing it to your newborn. Visit your doctor to get an antifungal ointment for your nipples.

Skin Problems

Your newborn’s skin is sensitive, so they can easily develop skin problems like cradle cap, diaper rash, and newborn acne. Skin irritation doesn’t only cause discomfort, but it can also be painful for your baby. Some skin problems can be addressed by using high-quality diapers, applying diaper rash creams, and practicing good skincare and hygiene. For severe skin issues, it’s best to bring your newborn to your pediatrician so they can find the underlying cause and prescribe the right treatment.

Seeing your newborn in great discomfort is worrying. By being knowledgeable about the aforementioned health issues, you can stay calm and give your baby the care they need to feel better as soon as possible.

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