Becoming a mom or a dad for the first time (or again), we can’t help but be overly concerned with our babies’ health, behavior, and everything about their well-being. That’s natural to parents, but don’t let these concerns get the thrill and fun out of your parenthood.
Common worries and fears for parents
Baby crying too much
Babies cry for a number of reasons: hunger, wet diapers, gas, acid reflux, stranger anxiety, sleepiness, pain, teething, or overstimulation from an activity or noise.
It is frustrating when your baby won’t stop crying and you can’t just figure out how to soothe your child. You may be anxious that there is something wrong with him/her and you may feel inadequate as a new parent, but don’t worry! Crying is one important way for them to communicate so try to listen more and soon you’ll learn and recognize the difference among their cries and what their needs are.
When can you say that your baby is crying excessively?
Babies normally cry for about 1 to 3 hours a day. If your baby regularly cries for more than three hours, then she may have colic—provided that she is not suffering from any other pain or illness. It commonly appears a few weeks after birth and may last until your baby is 3 to 4 months old. Though it may cause your baby to cry a lot, colic is not dangerous nor detrimental to infants.
Dr. Harvey Karp’s 5 S’s for soothing a crying baby
If your baby seems to be crying for “no reason,” pediatrician Harvey Karp advises parents to use the Five S’s, which recreate the womb environment and activate your baby’s calming reflex.
- Swaddling. Wrap your baby in a blanket so he feels secure.
Side or stomach position. Hold your baby so they’re lying on their side or stomach.
But always put them on their back when going to sleep.
- Shushing. Create “white noise” that drowns out other noises: run the vacuum cleaner, hair drier, fan or clothes drier.
- Swinging. Create a rhythmic motion of any kind. For example, take your baby for a ride in a stroller or car.
- Sucking. Let the baby suck on something, such as a pacifier.
Adapted from: The Happiest Baby on the Block
Contact a medical professional when the excessive crying does not go away in one day or if the baby has fever accompanied by nonstop crying.
Note: Never shake a baby because it may cause the blood vessels in a baby’s head to break which may result in brain damage, mental retardation, seizure, blindness, or death. Source: American Academy of Pediatrics
Soft spots on baby’s head
The soft spots called fontanelles are usually found at the top, back and sides of a baby’s head. These soft spots between bones allow the skull and brain to grow, harden over time and become solid, bony areas.
The posterior fontanelle found at the back of the head usually closes when an infant is 1 to 3 months old while the anterior fontanelle at the top closes within 7-19 months. In this period, take extra caution with the baby’s head until the soft spots become fully closed.
If you notice that your baby’s fontanelle is noticeably sunken, it is a sign that he/she might be dehydrated (not enough fluid in the body) or not getting enough nutrition.
Get more info about fontanelles here.
Hiccups are normal in babies under 12 months old. Just like in adults, they cause no distress to infants. These are not a reason for concern since they stop in around 5 to 10 minutes. But if your baby hiccups continuously for a couple of hours, you should call your care provider.
You might be worried when small white, red, or pinkish bumps appear on your baby’s face, particularly in their forehead, nose, and cheeks, but this is not a cause for alarm. Baby acne commonly appears to infants about 2 to 4 months old. The cause for this condition is unknown but it typically clears up without any treatment in the succeeding months, leaving no marks at all..
It is not recommended to use ointment or any over-the-counter products used by adults to treat baby acne. Their skin is delicate and might be damaged or irritated if exposed to this kind of skin products. No treatment is needed to cure baby acne. Just regularly wash your baby’s face with water and gentle soap and never try to scrub or pinch the little bumps to avoid infection or irritation.
Risk of SIDS
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) happens when a baby dies suddenly and unexpectedly with no apparent reason, often while a baby is asleep.
The cause of SIDS is still unknown, but there are several risk factors parents can avoid to reduce their anxiety.
Among the risks are:
- Laying your baby to sleep on their stomach before the age of one ( Make sure to lay them on their back when putting them to sleep.)
- Secondhand smoke or mother smoking during pregnancy
- Co-sleeping with a parent or caregiver
- Crib that contains blankets, pillows, and other soft objects
- Bed or mattress that is too soft
- Overwrapping or swaddling when putting a baby to sleep
Though SIDS is unpreventable, avoiding these factors can definitely reduce the risk of your baby getting it.