No matter how much you have read about babies, fact is, every baby is different, and brings with her a unique set of worries! For example, have you heard of baby girl periods? Check out this, and other unusual newborn worries no one really warns you about beforehand:
Baby girl periods
You may spot thick, milky discharge from the vagina of your 2-day-old baby. Don't be surprised to see blood in her diaper soon after. Please don't freak out.
Parental concerns: OMG, blood! Why is my baby bleeding?
Reason: During pregnancy, a surge in maternal oestrogen levels can stimulate a female foetus's uterus. These hormones build up the lining of the uterus. When the baby girl is born, she no longer receives these hormones, so the lining deteriorates, and in the end it breaks down, giving rise to a 'mini period' in which the uterus sheds a little blood.
Expert's opinion: Dr Chan Poh Chong, Head & Senior Consultant, Division of General Ambulatory Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, National University Hospital, tells us, "It is commonly seen during the 1st week as the infant girl's oestrogen level from her mother drops after birth and a 'mini-withdrawal' bleed occurs. They usually resolve in 2-3 days and parents should only worry if the bleeding persists."
Baby poops after every feed
Some newborn babies, especially breastfed babies, poop after every single feeding - soft, squishy poops.
Parental concerns: Hope it's not diarrhoea? Does my baby have an infection?
What it means: Pooping after every feeding is fairly common, especially in breastfeeding newborns. This is because breast milk is quickly digested. And it seems, it's actually a good sign – it means the baby is getting plenty of milk. If the baby is not unduly disturbed, and the bowel movements are largely consistent, there should be no cause for worry.
Expert's opinion: Dr. Chan opines, "Breastfed babies generally have frequent loose stools and this is normal. They continue to grow well and there is no risk of dehydration."
Is it normal that my little baby hiccups all the time?
Parental concerns: The baby looks troubled, and is even woken up from sleep because of these hiccups!
What it means: Baby hiccups are very common and caused by a contraction of the diaphragm and the quick closing of the vocal cords. The rapid closing of the vocal cords is what creates the sound of hiccups. And did you know that babies even hiccup in the womb?
Expert's opinion: Says Dr. Chan, "Hiccupping usually occurs due to the irritation of the diaphragm and the commonest cause is when babies feed too much, too fast. They are harmless and resolve spontaneously. There are no proven ways to stop hiccups but feeding slower may help reduce the incidence."
Infrequent poops in breastfed newborns
Some breastfed babies only have bowel movements every week or two.
Parental concerns: Is my baby constipated?
What it means: Some babies who are breastfed, can often go several days without a bowel movement. There may be several days of no stool followed by a "blow-out." If the exclusively breastfed baby is gaining weight normally, and the passing of stool is painless, there should be no cause for concern.
Expert's opinion: According to Dr. Chan, "It is more common for formula-fed babies to have harder stools and some even poop once a week. For breastfed babies, pooping every few days may also occur after the first 1-2 months. As long as the poo is soft, and the baby has no problem feeding and looks okay while pooping, it is fine."
Breath holding spells while crying
Breath-holding spells are brief periods when infants hold their breath while crying excessively, for up to 1 minute! They might even lose consciousness.
Parental concerns: Absolutely distressing to watch, not knowing what to do.
What it means: Breath-holding spells are not intentional; they result from an involuntary reflex, and the child has no ability to control them. They usually occur when a young child is angry, frustrated, in pain, or afraid. Most breath-holding spells are not harmful and pose no long-term risks for the infant.
Expert's opinion: Dr. Chan clarifies, "Breath-holding spells can occur in some children when he or she gets angry and cries excessively. It is a reflex and is usually benign, and most children grow out of it by the 2nd or 3rd year of life."
"It must be differentiated from seizures or cyanotic heart diseases. If the episodes become more frequent or loss of consciousness is more prolonged, it may be good to get a specialist consultation. Rarely, there may be an underlying cause, like heart rhythm problem or iron deficiency, that needs to be investigated. Parents can try to calm the child and prevent injury if the attack occurs."