Infants often seem so delicate that new mothers are nervous in handling and taking care of them. Rest assured, nature has made infants hardier than they look, and routine love and care is all that is needed to keep them thriving. Problems occasionally arise that should be given immediate attention to prevent more serious conditions.
Infants are known for spitting up at all the wrong times and on all the wrong people. This often occurs with a burp. Encouraging the child to feed slowly and burping frequently can help to reduce spitting up problems.
Vomiting is more forceful and occurs when the muscles of the abdomen and diaphragm contract, pushing a large amount of digested contents out quickly. If the vomiting continues over a period of time, consult your pediatrician to diagnose and treat the underlying problem.
Occasionally, infants may experience abdominal pain from foods they eat or from eating too quickly. Even babies who are breastfed can get gas when the mother eats gas-producing foods. These foods can cause cramping and gas formation in the intestinal tract that can be very uncomfortable for the baby. Making sure you burp the infant frequently during feedings can help to reduce gas. Over-the-counter medications specifically formulated for infants provide relief for gassy babies.
Fever is always a sign that something is wrong. Temperature rises when there is a cold or infection of some kind in the body. Consult your pediatrician to determine the nature of the infection and if further treatment is required. Your pediatrician may suggest that you give the infant Tylenol or ibuprofen to reduce the fever. He may also prescribe antibiotics to fight the infection.
The stuffiness and mucus from the common cold can make it difficult for infants to breathe properly. Contact your pediatrician for medications to help your infant to breathe more easily for the duration of a cold. Of course, if your infant shows labored breathing at any time, seek medical attention immediately.
Infants can become dehydrated quickly when they become ill with colds or fever. Symptoms include fewer diaper changes, irritability, no tears when the infant cries, or skin that does not spring back when gently pinched. Dehydration can occur quickly when infants have diarrhea or vomiting. Dehydration is a dangerous condition that may require IV fluids in severe cases.
Even the most diligent mother can find a diaper rash on their baby if the child has unusually sensitive skin. Use an emollient cream such as Desitin or A & D Ointment to protect skin in-between diaper changes. Small red pimples can appear when the weather gets hot. This “heat rash” can be soothed by applying aloe vera and keeping the skin as dry as possible. Other rashes can occur from harsh detergents used in the laundry.