Common Baby Problems & Solutions

Dealing with Baby Feeds

Breastfeeding the baby for at least 12 months or as long as possible helps in developing baby's immunity, brain development and alignment of teeth. Use instant formula milk if breastfeeding is not possible. However, formula milk can not replace the vitality provided by mother's milk and takes more time to digest.

Babies need to be fed every 3 hours especially during first three months after the birth. Normally babies express their hunger by bringing their hands near to the mouth, moving the head sideways or gently sucking their lips.

Here is the recommended feeding guide:

First 4 months: Give the baby only mother's/formula milk as it is absolutely adequate. Each round of breastfeeding should normally continue for about 10 to 15 minutes. Water, juice or any other solid food should not be given.

4 to 8 months: Breastfeeding/formula milk should be continued. However when the baby is capable of holding the head upright unaided, progressively include semi-solid food like squashed apple, banana, fresh yogurt, semi liquid cereal. Try not to give many new things just about the same time, instead include one new food every week in baby’s diet.

8 to 12 months: Besides feeding/breastfeeding as given in previous months, also introduce very small, sliced soft fruits and cooked squashed vegetables. Few teaspoons of fresh juice may also be given.

12 months and over: It is suggested to continue to breastfeed since it is excellent for the baby. Besides that, also start giving external non formula milk. Heat the milk and just before feeding the baby, check its hotness by pouring a few drops at the rear of your hand. Settle on a daily routine of about 3 meals and 3 small snacks.

Milk bottle used during bottle feeds should be washed with soap and then sterilized carefully by immersing the bottle parts in hot boiled water for at least 5 minutes. Dry the bottle and parts on a clean towel afterward. Usual cleaning process does not typically remove all bacteria, thus, it is essential to sterilize the bottle once a day. Before feeding the baby, it is also important to wash your hands with soap. Give support to baby's neck with your palm or strap the baby into a baby chair. Leaving the milk bottle in baby's hands during nap time is dangerous as it may cause choking.

Babies typically urinate about 5 to 6 times and pass stool about 3 to 4 times in a day which indicates that they are being fed fine. Burp is essential when bottle-feeding however it is all right if babies who are breast-fed do not burp sometime. Minor spitting out of milk is usual however vomiting and crying after feed may be the sign of overfeeding or if baby gains extra weight over time. Baby should not be forced to finish milk while bottle feeding.
Note: Honey should not be given to the baby before 1 year of age.

Dealing with Baby Cries

Top reason of continuous baby cries may be the hunger. Therefore, make sure that it is not been more than 2 hours since the baby was last given milk/food. Another reason might be the dirty diaper and the baby is crying to seek attention since the diaper has gotten dirty.

Even then if the baby continues to cry, change the baby’s posture from lying on back to front or vice versa. If baby is sitting or just had milk then it is recommended to embrace the baby upright against your shoulder for a few minutes and gently stroke baby's back as this may cause a burp or passing of wind/gas.

Several parents embrace the baby in their arms for a long time and the baby starts crying the moment he/she is put down. This occurs because the baby gets habitual of the coziness of parents' arms. Therefore, one should not hold the baby in arms for needless reasons or for more than 5 minutes at home. If more than 6 month old baby is crying for the same reason, then firmly and politely refuse. If the baby still continues to cry, let the baby cry for 5 minutes. Breathe deeply, play soft music and stay calm till the child calms down. Smile or talk to the baby or tickle softly.

Check appropriate clothing to ensure that baby is feeling comfortable and he/she might be not be feeling too hold or cold. If cloth diapers are used, ensure that they are 100 percent cotton and not made of polyester or synthetic material.

Make sure that nose of the baby is not stuffed as it may obstruct baby's breathing. Softly squeeze and clean the nose. Numerous episodes of too loud cries may indicate some illness so check for any rash or fever. Take medical advice if things are out of control.

Taking Care of Sleeping Problems

An infant baby normally sleeps for 12 to 20 hours a day and anticipates to be fed in every 3 to 4 hours. For the period of the first 3 months after birth, the baby generally sleeps for less time during the day and more at night. One should not impose a sleeping plan in the first 6 weeks.

Following 6 to 8 weeks of birth time, set up a routine for proper sleeping cycle and follow it daily.  Every night at around same, make a habit of giving a warm bath, gentle oil massage, feeding, burping and silently putting the baby to bed while fainting the lights. Try to wake up the baby at about the same time each morning.

In day time, steadily start keeping the baby awake particularly after feeding for no less than 30 minutes by roaming around, making some sounds, showing toys and shifting baby's position. The baby may cry a little but carry on and be tolerant. Baby’s daytime naps should be limited to not more than 2 naps of about 3 hours each and put him/her to sleep at about the same time each day. If the baby shows resistant then delay the routine for a week and try it again.

Even though it may differ, however in 4 to 6 months, nearly all babies sleep for around 4 hours during day and 7 to 10 hours at night. The baby generally learns to turn over at around 5 months of age, thus make certain the baby sleeps at a safe and secure place.

Cry baby approach should be tried at around the time when baby is 6 months old. This approach may seem upsetting however if the baby is unable to sleep, it is suggested to vacate the room and let the baby cry for 5 minutes. Then go back to the room but do not pick the baby in your arms instead try to calm the baby for a few minutes only. Again leave the room while the baby is awake and reiterate this cycle till the time baby falls asleep. This approach presumes that the baby is not ill or hungry. Adhere to the same approach if the baby wakes up at night. In a week or so, the baby will begin to sleep alone in the room.

There may be exceptional cases, when the baby is not sleeping regardless of trying everything. It is then suggested to put the baby in a car seat and drive around leisurely for some time till he/she falls asleep. Unclenched and loose hands of baby generally indicate that he/she is in deep slumber.

Taking care of Teething Issues

Majority of babies get their first set of teeth between 4 and 8 months of age while some may even get the first tooth after a year. Usually lower front teeth appear first and in case the teeth are not straight, they generally get straight eventually. By around 3 years of age, a baby should have acquired the 20 primary teeth. And baby teeth should not drop until permanent teeth start coming which usually happens around 6 years of age. In fact, during pregnancy teeth of the baby start developing inside the gums.

A baby starts chewing fingers or toys, drooling or sucking thumb when the teething stage of baby begins. These are the signs of teething stage and baby does it to help ease the pressure and probable discomfort and itchiness in the gums. If baby is drooling in excess then clean baby's face to avoid any rash or skin irritation. Gums of the baby sometimes may swell a bit before the teeth is about to sprout however they become normal again soon after eruption of teeth. In contrast to what people ordinary believe, teething does not result in any diarrhea or fever. Commencement of those diseases is generally because of some infection.

Plastic teething ring or pacifier that are soft and are of good quality may be given to the baby for chewing. You may give soft solid foods like peeled carrot, cucumber to the baby for the same purpose. Before giving these foods, wash them properly and cut them into very small pieces to avoid any choking danger. Baby should not be allowed to chew any of household objects as it may cause choking. Aspirin should not be given to anyone under 20 years of age as it may be dangerous.

Immediately after the first couple of teeth come out, one should start rubbing or cleaning the gums or teeth with a soft, clean and wet cloth using washed hands without use of any toothpaste. After one month, start brushing the teeth of baby gently with a baby toothbrush using slight amount of non-fluoride baby toothpaste.

Taking care of Baby’s Skin and handling Bathing 

After birth baby's skin usually appears dry or flaky so there is no need to worry. Skin starts regaining its softness and will become smooth after a few days of proper care.

Always use a mild baby soap mixed with a bit of water. Multiple baths should be avoided during a day as it may cause dryness of skin.

For the first few weeks, you may find it easier to stick to sponge baths. Do not rub the baby's skin instead pat dry with a soft towel. Make sure you dry the umbilical cord stump thoroughly after the bath.

Thereafter for the first 3 months, if the weather is hot or humid, try to give bath daily, otherwise bath the baby every second day. Use a small tub and make sure that the maximum water level is till baby’s naval after the baby is sitting inside the tub. Wipe baby’s eyes and clean his/her nose with a neat soft cloth. Make sure to particularly wash the genitals area, under arms face and the neck since these areas are get more sweating.

Apply a baby lotion after the bath and softly rub vitamin rich natural or herbal oils on his/her body to avoid any skin dryness or rashes. Do not sprinkle baby powder on the baby’s body as he/she may breathe in its small particles which may lead to nasal cold or cough. Exposing the baby to mild sunlight during warm weather is necessary as it helps in strengthening bones and muscles.

Dealing with Diaper Rash 

Rash normally occurs on the skin of the baby in the diaper area because of prolonged dampness or contact to urine or stool. Baby's hypersensitive skin normally turns red or pink in color and may be somewhat itchy too.

In order to treat slight rash, let the baby remain without diapers for as long as possible exposing the affected area to air. Till complete healing let the baby remain without diaper at home. If there is a need to put on a diaper in case you are going out somewhere, use super absorbing disposable diaper. Do not tighten it in excess and keep it a little loose to allow the skin to take in air.

Changing the dirty diaper as soon as it becomes wet or dirty can solve the problem to an extent. Wash the affected area with warm water and pat dry softly. Rubbing or wiping baby's sensitive skin should be avoided. A rash should generally heal or show signs of improvement within 3 days however if there is increase in redness or itchiness, consult a doctor to determine any fungal or bacterial infection.

Dealing with Potty Training

When the baby attains the age of 2 years, a parent should start potty training of the baby to train him/her on how to pass urine or stool in the toilet. First step should be buying a potty seat. Persuade the baby to sit on the potty seat without any diaper after 1 hour of giving him/her milk or meal. If the child resists, it is suggested to talk to the child for a couple of minutes and take a break. If still the baby does not urinate or pass stool have patience and keep persuading the baby to use the seat.

Demonstrate the baby how the urine or stool disappears on flushing the toilet. Slowly but surely, this will communicate the purpose of using a toilet seat to the baby. Scolding the baby if he/she does not use the toilet seat will discourage him/her more, so avoid doing that. Instead try to remain calm and express happiness by smiling and applauding when they pass urine or stool using the seat.

Once the child starts using the potty seat gradually reduce the use of diapers. Majority of children get accustomed to using potty by the age of 3 years however infrequent passing of stool or urine accidently at night may happen till the age of 5.

Dealing with Common Illnesses

Common illnesses that occur in babies are diarrhea or loose motions, constipation, vomiting, jaundice, fever, cough or cold. In diarrhea or loose motions, a baby normally passes loose or watery stools 3 to 4 times a day in the first few months. Color of stool is normally green or reddish brown when milk bottles are used to feed babies. Consulting a doctor is advised if the frequency of stool is very high and the baby looks pale and weak.

Some babies develop constipation or pass hard stool after they are put on solid foods diet. Common solution to this problem is to give the babies sufficient liquids and balanced food to avoid this. Some spitting of milk or food is common after baby is fed. However if the baby vomits after a feed, then this indicates that parent might be overfeeding the baby. One should seek medical advice if the vomiting still persists.

Within a week of babies’ birth, skin and eyes of some babies turn a bit yellow. This is normally because of jaundice which is usual and parent need not be worried about it. Common solution is to ensure adequate early morning sunlight exposure is given to the baby for about 15 minutes and jaundice gets cured in 5-7 days. If even after a week jaundice persists it is recommended to show the baby to a doctor.

If fever occurs upto 101 degrees once in a while then there is no need to worry. Cough or cold usually caused due to some dust or stale air. Make sure there is proper cleanliness and ventilation in room with fresh clean air. One should check symptoms and causes for fever and many other common diseases to take appropriate action.

One may go through many baby problems during the development of baby. If the problem persists for a long time then it is advised to consult a doctor so as to avoid development of any disease or illness.