Spit up, poop, skin rashes, and puke. Your baby is going to freak you out at first with all of them. And if you don’t ask “is this normal?” at least once throughout your parenting journey, then kudos to you because you’re rocking this whole parenting thing. For the rest of us who fall somewhere on the spectrum of cluelessness, here’s a guide to help you figure out what’s normal and what’s not when it comes to your little one.
There’s nothing sweeter than the moment the doctors hand you your newborn to hold for the first time. But as you cuddle up with your little one, you might notice little dots on his skin. Babies skin is super soft and super sensitive. As it changes and adapts to life outside the womb, there are some things you should look out for.
We know acne is an evil thing that starts creeping up once the little ones hit puberty. But did you know babies can get acne too? If you see little red bumps with white dots in the center, then don’t be alarmed. It’s likely baby acne – or stork bites as it’s commonly referred to. The baby acne can show up in a centralized area, or it can appear all over their little body. But don’t be alarmed. These little stork bites are perfectly common and harmless. In due time (a couple of weeks to a couple of months) the not so cute stork bites should clear up on their own.
What’s Not Normal
As your baby starts to settle in her new environment, the ever-changing air they will be coming in contact can have some negative effects on her little soft skin. If you notice a rash that that is unreasonably red, shiny, and even blistery, then this is not normal. Different fabrics, air pollution, allergies, and even dust can all irritate your little one’s skin. If it goes untreated, the irritation can lead to rough rashes that may require medical treatment. Be sure to check up on commonly missed areas of your little one’s body to see if there are any red, shiny, and blistered skin. Pay close attention to the folds under their neck, armpits, and groin area. This is where moisture is more likely to get stuck thus creating a breeding ground for bacteria.
You’ll be changing lots of diapers, so you better get well acquainted with your baby’s poop. A baby’s poop can tell you a lot about what’s going on in their tiny little body. Especially with their digestive tract. So pay close attention to the color, texture, and even odor of their poop to be sure that nothing funky is going on.
When you are changing the first diaper, be prepared to be greeted with a black or dark green tarry substance. This thick yet liquidy stool is called meconium. It’s your baby’s first stool, and yes, it should look like that. As your little one gets older, the texture and color of their poop will change.
If you are exclusively breastfeeding, your baby’s poop should be a mustard yellow color. It may even appear to look a little “seedy” or stringy. Don’t be alarmed if your little one’s poop comes out a little runny. Almost like the texture of diarrhea. This is completely normal. Just be sure to secure all diapers, because this runny poop can cause one too many explosive poopy diapers. If you find yourself saying “hmm, this doesn’t smell too bad.” you are not alone. Healthy baby poop can smell almost sweet. So enjoy that… for now.
If your little one is formula fed exclusively, then her poop should have more of a tanish or brown color than a mustard yellow one to it. The consistency and texture of it should be a little thicker, almost like peanut butter. Unlike breastfed babies, the stools of formula-fed babies will have a stronger odor. Also unlike breastfed babies, formula fed babies won’t pass as many stools. When they do pass a stool, don’t be alarmed if your baby strains a little bit as they try to pass their stool.
What’s Not Normal
You want to pay close attention to your babies poop because it can warn you if something is off. Use color to help you indicate if something is not as it should be.
- White poop: You may notice that your little one’s poop is coming out chalky white or really really light tan. This means that your little one is not digesting food properly. White poop can be an indication that there is a lack of bile from the liver that is needed in the process to digest food.
- Black Specks: If you notice little black specks in your baby’s stools, this can be an indication that your little one has swallowed blood. Don’t be too alarmed. The blood is likely from mom’s cracked nipples. So it’s likely that it’s you needing a checkup rather than your little one.
- Red Blood: If your baby’s stools are coming out tinged with red blood, then this could be a red flag. Red blood in a baby’s stool can be an indication of a protein allergy or a bacterial infection.
- Hard, pebble-like poop: If you notice hard, little pebbles in your baby’s diaper, then this is a sign that your little one is constipated. There is also the possibility that your little one may have a milk or soy allergy. You may start seeing more constipation in your little one’s diaper when you start introducing him to solids.
All Things Spit Up
This is one you can’t avoid. Your little one is going to spit up. You can thank your baby’s immature muscles for this one. There is a muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter that sits at the top of your stomach. This muscle creates a separation between the esophagus and the stomach. Because this muscle is not yet mature in your little one, spit-up happens because the milk does not stay where it belongs. In due time, this muscle will mature to prevent spit up. But in the meantime, here’s what you need to know.
After a feeding, you may notice a gentle, unforced flow of milk coming out of your little one’s mouth. This can happen immediately after a feeding or minutes, even hours after a feeding. This gentle, unforced spit up is completely normal. Your baby’s spit up can be clear liquid like drool, or it can be actual milk. Typically spit up should be no more than a teaspoon. If you are using a burp cloth, then it’s easy to overestimate the amount of liquid your baby is spitting up. To alleviate some of the spit up, try not to lay your baby down immediately after a feeding. Along with this, be wary of overfeeding. Giving your little one more food than necessary is often the culprit for baby spitting up.
What’s Not Normal
If your little one’s spit up is coming out in a forced manner with a projection of at least an inch, then this might be cause for concern. Another indication that your little one’s spit up is not normal is if he fusses while doing it. If he cries uncontrollably, arches his back, and cannot be soothed, then you may want to ring up the doctor because this is a red flag something else is going on.
Your baby will do a lot of funky things that will have you asking “Is that normal?” Although babies will do a lot of weird things that can be short of terrifying for new parents, for the most part, those strange things are more than likely normal. There is a rule of thumb that you should always follow, however. Whether it’s their poop, a skin rash, or spit up, if a high fever ever accompanies their strange quirkiness, then you should always call your child’s doctor immediately. In the meantime, you can calm your nerves because doing strange things is something babies bring to the table regardless.
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