With babies, every new thing is exciting and scary at the same time. I remember freaking out when my baby spat up milk the first time. I thought he was seriously unwell. Turns out, I forgot to burp him after a feed. Things like this happen all the time! You notice something new, and wonder if it is serious or not. Well, here are seemingly harmless things that you should keep a lookout for in babies, or even in young children.
1# Change in shape and size of a mole
Melanocytes are the cells that give a pigment to your skin. If they clump together under the skin, it results in a mole. A mole is generally has a round or oval shape and smooth margins. It may be flat or raised and might have hair at times. It is normal.
It is also normal for babies to be born with a few moles. In children and teenagers, new moles may appear as well. It is also normal for a mole to fade and disappear as the child grows up. However, it is not normal for the mole to become bigger suddenly and quickly, and this symptom should not be ignored.
You should see the doctor if the mole
- changes shape, becomes bigger
- Becomes darker or shows 2 colours,
- grows larger or more raised from the skin
- becomes flaky, itchy, or bleeds
It may be a sign of something sinister. So keep this in mind.
2# Weight loss
Some amount of weight loss is okay once the baby starts to walk, or when he is unwell. Due to their size, even a tiny amount of fluid loss reflects on their weight.
However, if there is persistent weight loss or inability to gain weight so much so that he drops a percentile regularly, you should be worried. Weight for length or BMI less than 5 percentile and a drop of 2 major percentile lines might indicate a condition commonly known as Failure to thrive.
It is a condition where the baby is struggling with growing up. It may be because of malnutrition, but there may also be other factors involved. So if he drops a few percentiles on the weight-for-age chart or the BMI chart, see your doctor.
3# Your baby is thirsty all the time
If your child is active, she is going to need a lot of water. However, if she is thirsty all the time, it might be a symptom of a condition known as diabetes insipidus. This is different from diabetes mellitus, commonly known as diabetes.
In diabetes insipidus, two hormones do not function properly. As a result, the kidneys are unable to retain water and the child ends up passing a lot of urine. And because of the fluid loss, the child is always thirsty. Infants who cannot articulate thirst would be irritable, fell warm to touch, and would cry excessively. They will also show some delayed signs of growth. At times, they may even display weight loss.
See a doctor if you think you are changing a lot of wet nappies in a day, or your child drinks a lot of water.
4# Increase in the head size
Yes, the brain continues to grow a few years after birth and so does the skull to an extent. However, the increase in head circumference is always steady. Unlike weight or height, he is less likely to gain percentiles on this chart.
If there is an increase in the head size, and you notice that the child is being more irritable, or there is a change in his behaviour beyond expected, you need to see a doctor. The size of the fontanelle, the soft depression on the top of the head, should not increase. If it does, consult your healthcare professional.
5# Does not always respond to his name
By 8 months, your child starts to respond to his name. This may be delayed a bit, but if she suddenly stops responding after starting to, it is not a good sign.
If this happens, check if your child is alert, responds to sounds like doorbells or even rattles. Check if she responds to a click of a finger on either side. She should turn towards it. If she does not, she may have a problem hearing. It is best to get a professional assessment done if you suspect it.
To sum it up…
Mums, raising a baby is exhausting, but do inspect him at bath times daily. See for any moles, if they are changing shape or size. Check for bumps on his body. Check his weight, height, and head circumference regularly. If you suspect that his eating and drinking habits are much different than other children, you should make a note. Lastly, see how he responds to interactions. If he is irritable all the time, or just does not respond, bring it forth during the next doctor visit.
Also, read 7 serious childhood illnesses that seem harmless at the onset