6 Serious Symptoms in Babies Never to Ignore
Find out what to do if your baby shows these symptoms.
4. Worsening jaundice (yellowing of the skin)
If your newborn is getting yellower and yellower after birth, he or she may have worsening jaundice.
“Not all jaundice is dangerous,” Wong says. “Some is normal and will go away on its own, but if it is increasing as opposed to going away, it may need an evaluation.”
Bilirubin is produced by the liver. “The liver in the baby is like a furnace: it takes a while to get it going, but once we get it going, it’s OK,” Wong says. “When they are born, if their liver is not up to speed, bilirubin can build up in the body and cause the skin to turn a yellowish color."
If bilirubin levels skyrocket, they can affect the brain, causing seizures and permanent damage.
What should you do?
Most doctors will recommend feeding your infant more frequently, so that the baby gets rid of excess bilirubin in his or her stool.
The next step is to place the baby under ultraviolet (UV) lights (phototherapy) to increase the breakdown of bilirubin. “If it goes higher, blood transfusions may be needed,” Wong says.
Wong notes that “home care or phototherapy is usually enough to bring bilirubin down to a level where the baby’s body can get rid of it on its own.”
“If your baby is not making wet diapers, we worry about dehydration,” Wong says. “We like to see one diaper for every day old up to six days of age, and then six wet diapers a day going forward.”
At the least, that means two diapers for two day-olds, three diapers for three-day-olds, and so on.
Others signs of severe dehydration may include dry mouth, sunken eyes, and lethargy.
What should you do?
Call your pediatrician for advice as soon as possible, Wong says. The doctor may recommend feeding the infant breast milk or formula. Water is actually not good to give a baby in these situations,Wong notes, because it can cause sodium levels to fall, and this can lead to seizures.