Common Newborn Concerns: Is This Normal?

As a new parent, if you’re not sure what to expect, some of the things your baby does may be surprising! Here are a few common newborn concerns that may seem troubling at first but are actually perfectly normal.

Sneezes & hiccups

Newborns tend to sneeze more often than adults. This is a natural reflex that helps them clear their tiny nasal passages which can become easily clogged. It is also normal for babies to hiccup frequently, even when it causes their whole body to react. While hiccups may be an annoyance to adults, most babies hardly seem to notice and may even have several episodes per day.

Dry skin

It is normal for newborns to have dry, flaky skin and you will likely see their skin peeling throughout the first 3 weeks. This can be expected since your little one was soaking in mom’s belly for months before their arrival. After the first few weeks, their skin should start to exfoliate on its own and much of the dryness will disappear.

Newborn skin actually doesn’t require much maintenance and there is no need for additional products. When cleaning, gently cleansing your baby’s skin with water is all that is needed.

Crusty eyes

Crusty eyes are no cause for alarm. Like their small nasal passages, newborn tear ducts are so tiny they can become easily blocked. A clean, warm washcloth and gentle massage of the area will help. It is also normal for your baby’s eyes to cross in the first several months as they learn to control their eye muscles.

Stooling

Your baby might make faces or look uncomfortable while having a bowel movement and that’s completely normal. There are a lot of muscles involved in helping stool make its way out of the body. Normal breast milk stools are yellow, loose, and seedy. If they are constipated, stools will appear hard.

Breathing

Periodic breathing is normal for newborns as their respiratory drive is just starting to work things out. During this time, you might see them breathe fast or slow, and sometimes even pause. This can be scary to see as a new parent, but as long as your infant is otherwise comfortable, it is not a cause for alarm.

If you note color changes, discomfort, tiredness, or consistent fast breathing then please seek care.

Growth and feeding

Babies are born with extra fluid on board, so some weight loss is common in the newborn phase. They usually catch up on their weight within 2 weeks as they get used to feeding on their own instead of receiving nutrition through the umbilical cord.

Spitting up is common for babies, especially if they are eager with feeding. Burping during or after feeds can help settle their stomach and has the added benefit of keeping them upright for a bit afterwards. However, if you note associated discomfort with spitting up or if it is projectile in nature, then please reach out.


This covers only some of the common newborn concerns that can arise. A great resource for further information is healthychildren.org. You can also schedule a complimentary Newborn Talk to meet with one of our providers before your baby is born. Remember, there are no “dumb” questions when it comes to the health of your newborn. Feel free to bring lists if needed! We are here to help on this exciting new journey!

A previous version of this article was originally published on July 13, 2020.

Categories: Infants
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