Infants health problems refer to the health issues of a child from birth till twelve months of age. Newborn babies (navjat shishu) are most vulnerable just after birth because they make the transition from the mother’s womb to this world. Babies have a weak immune system; it is difficult for them to cope up with the new world. They pick up infections easily; or it may also be possible that they born with certain congenital conditions. Therefore, It is very important for parents to recognize the problem and plan for the care of the newborn (navjat) in case of sickness.
After the birth of a baby, there will be many moments when a mother panic about her baby’s health. Many of these problems are not serious and common among all the infants (shishu). But it is important to know, how to handle these problems and take care of your baby. There are few tips which can help the first time parents about caring of their infants.
Infants Health Problems:
Common health problems in infants (shishu) include cold, cough, fever, loose motion, constipation, vomiting and skin problems etc. Though many of these problems are not serious but can disturb the parents. Therefore, it is important that parents should know how to deal with these problems. Every new mother needs to know what to look out for and when the condition of the baby is serious. Here is a guide regarding the most common health problems of infants that may appear during baby’s first year.
1. Cold in Infants:
Cold is extremely common among infants; it is a type of viral infection that affects baby’s nose and throat (upper respiratory tract). Nasal congestion (stuffy nose) and a runny nose are the main indicators of a cold. Virus of cold are transmitted from person to person. In case of newborn baby, viruses normally comes through mother. An infant can catch a cold easily at any age because its resistance is not developed. Baby’s immune system will take time to fully mature. If the baby is around older children, chances of cold infection is increased.
Usually, this cold is not dangerous and goes away within 7- 10 days. If the baby is below 3 months, consult your paediatrician because there is a risk of pneumonia. If your baby is healthy and there is nothing serious, you can use some home remedies because use of medicines can affect infant’s immunity development.
For the newborn babies, do not give any home medicine except mother’s milk. There are some home remedies that you can apply on your baby if she is introduced to solid food –
(a) Carom seeds for Cold:
Take some carom seeds or ajwain and make a swag (potli) with a soft cotton cloth. Now, heat this swag by putting this on a preheated pan (Tawa) and compress it lukewarm over chest, back, palm and sole of your baby. You can put it near nostrils, so that the baby inhale its smell. It is good to clear blocked nose.
(b) Mustard Oil with Rock Salt:
Another remedy for infant’s cold is use of mustard oil with rock salt powder. Heat few spoons of mustard oil (sarson ka tel) and mix 1 tsp of rock salt (sendha namak) in the oil. Now, gently rub over the chest with this oil and cover the baby with a comforter to keep warm.
(c) Nutmeg for Infants:
Rub a nutmeg or jaiphal with water on a rough rolling (flat) surface and collect this water (nutmeg mixture) in a spoon. Then apply this water lukewarm over the chest of the baby and cover with a comforter; it gives relief by loosening mucus.
2. Coughing in Infants:
Cough is very common in babies. It can be the result of a respiratory tract infection; infants less than 6 months old are easily affected by this type of infection. Generally, this cough is caused due to common cold and may lasts up to two weeks; if it persists, there is something serious. Dealing with cough in infants becomes easier, if you are aware of some natural remedies.
To know about these remedies in details, read – Coughing in infants- home remedies.
3. Fever in Infants:
Like cold and cough, fever is also very common among infants. Fever happens when the body’s internal “thermostat” raises the body temperature above its normal level. This thermostat is found in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. Usually, this fever doesn’t indicate anything serious but it makes the baby uncomfortable and restless. Many infants develop a high fever in minor illnesses. Therefore, it is better to consult paediatrician immediately in case of fever.
Simultaneously, for reducing a high fever-
- Put your baby in a tub for lukewarm bath; it will bring his body temperature down.
- You can also give sponge bath to your baby; wet some soft cotton cloths and wipe her body.
- But don’t use cold bath or ice stripes in any case; it may worsen the situation and cause shivering.
- Don’t cover up your baby with layers of clothing. If she is shivering, cover up with a light blanket.
- Keep the baby indoors in a cool place.
4. Loose motion in Infants:
A baby can pass 5-6 stool in a day or can pass stool once in 2 days; it is quite normal. As per doctor’s opinion, chances of infection is very rare among breast fed babies. If your baby is looking active, feeding well, playful and passing loose stools more than 5-6 times in a day, there is nothing to worry. But if your baby has been passing stools frequently throughout the day and the stool is watery, stinky and different in color, then it definitely raise concern. Frequent bowel movements can make your infant irritated, & restless. It may be due to teething problem, introduction of new solid food, infection, poor hygiene and strong medication.
To control loose motion of your little ones, you can apply some simple home remedies like- banana, sabudana (sago), walnut, fennel seeds water etc.; you can choose any of them for your infants. These remedies work best when you understand what is the cause of your baby’s motions. For detailed information on loose motion and different remedies, read- “diarrhoea in babies: home remedies“.
5. Constipation in Infants:
Constipation (kabz) is a difficulty in passing stool; sometimes the baby does not poop for days. Symptoms of constipation in infants are different from adults. The baby strains more than 10 minutes while passing stool; he became fussy and her face became red. Stools are hard and passage painful. Generally, babies who take only breast milk almost have rare chances of constipation in comparison to formula fed babies. Formula-fed infants either passes stool 3-4 times in a day or after few days. Problem of constipation begins when we started to give solid food to infants.
If your baby has mild constipation, there is nothing to worry about it. It will be cured within few days. Water therapy is good to treat it; fill a tub with lukewarm water and sit your baby in the tub for few minutes. It will help to ease constipation in the best possible way.
However, you can try some other home remedies too to release constipation, if your baby has started taking solid food. Raisin water, prune juice, apple juice, apricot are few examples of ingredients which help to treat constipation in infants. To read detailed information on home remedies for constipation in infants, read ” 6 Remedies for Baby Constipation“.
Moreover, if your baby is less than 6 months, mother can eat food like papaya, spinach (palak) to get rid of baby’s constipation. Because it will transfer through breast milk to baby and cure constipation in the best possible way.
6. Vomiting in Infants:
Vomiting or spitting up is another common problem among infants. It may be due to different reasons and may vary according to age. Vomiting is very common among babies during early weeks as they are not adjusted to feeding. During the first few months, it may also be due to overfeeding, that means when your baby’s tummy is full, food and stomach acid can flow back up his food pipe. Spitting may also be due to stomach infection such as- gastroenteritis.
However, vomiting is very normal among babies and doesn’t require any medication. You can control it by applying some simple home remedies. But if there is any sign of abnormal spit up such as yellow or green vomiting etc., you should go to your paediatrician immediately.
Home Remedies for Vomiting:
- If your baby is above the age of 6 months and vomit after feeding, give him few drops of lemon juice mixing with water. It will control vomiting after feeding.
- You can give rice water to your baby (over 6 months of age) for controlling vomiting. Boil 100 gm rice into 250 gm of water till the rice is cooked. Then strain the excess starch and give it to your baby.
- Fennel seeds water is another effective natural remedy for vomiting. Boil a teaspoon of fennel seeds (saunf) in a cup of water for ten minutes over low heat. Sieve the water and give 1 tbsp of water to your baby 3-4 times in a day. You can apply this remedy for the babies over 6 months of age.
(Note: Though vomiting is very normal among babies and can be cured at home. However, it is advised to consult your doctor before applying any of the above mentioned remedies on your infants.)
7. Diaper Rash in Infants:
Diaper rash is one of the most common skin problem among infants. A baby’s skin is sensitive enough; if you notice some small reddish rashes on the area covered with diaper, it might be diaper rashes. Though the basic causes for this infection are still under active debate of experts, but usually it is believed to be the result of an irritation, infection, or allergy. So, to prevent diaper rashes, you should keep your baby clean and dry. It is better to check your baby’s diaper often and change it timely. Better to use some topical cream before you put on another diaper.
In most of the cases, rashes clear up with simple care and changes in diaper. However, if it is not, you can treat it by applying some simple home remedies. For more details, read “Diaper rashes in babies: Tips and treatment“.
8. Cradle Cap in Infants:
Cradle cap is a type of skin rash that appear on the scalp of newborn babies (navjat shishu). It looks like yellowish, greasy patches of scaling which feels hard, thick and rough to touch. Though, these greasy patches are not itchy and does not bother the infant but it may cause hair loss in some cases. Cradle cap is often prominent around the ear, the eyebrows or the eyelids and raises in little clumps on your baby’s body.
However, cradle cap is not a serious problem and normally it will clear up by leaving it alone as it is. As a parent, you can easily overcome this problem by applying simple home remedies. For detailed information, read “Cradle cap in infants: home remedies“.
9. Baby Acne:
Baby acne is a collection of small red bumps, develops normally on newborn baby’s skin. It develops generally within the first two to four weeks after baby’s birth. It can appears anywhere on the face of the newborn, but usually on the cheeks, chin or forehead. Although there is no known cause of this acne according to doctors but it is completely harmless and temporary. Baby acne clears up on its own but if it doesn’t clear up, contact your pediatrician.
However, you can try some natural remedies to clear acne early. In the earlier days, baby’s skin is quite soft and delicate, therefore gently wash baby’s face and dry with soft cloth. But you should avoid excessive washing and over dressing. Simultaneously, apply breast milk on the affected area.
10. Neonatal Jaundice:
Newborn baby jaundice (Navjat shishu me Piliya) is a yellowing of eyes and skin. A degree of jaundice is very normal among newborn babies that occurs due to high level of bilirubin in the blood. Normal neonatal jaundice typically appears within two to four days of life. Yellow skin and yellowish eyes are main symptoms of jaundice. It may start in the face before spreading down across the body. The infant or shishu sleeps longer than the usual sleep. If the jaundice is mild, it clears on its own in 10 days of time. However, it is mandatory to consult a doctor.
Simultaneously, continue breast feeding; exposure to indirect sunlight is also good. Expose your baby to morning sunlight for 15-20 minutes before 8 AM; it may help to reduce bilirubin level.
11. Colic in Infants:
Colic is an attack of frequent, prolonged and intense crying in a healthy infant. It is very common among the infants of the age below 6 months. In simple words, if your baby, who is an otherwise a healthy child, is crying for more than three hours a day, for more than three days a week, for three consecutive weeks, that is known as colic. Cause of colic is unknown; it may be abdominal pain, gas, or indigestion that appears during first few months after birth. Main symptom of colic is intense, loud, and inconsolable crying, for no apparent reason.
For more details and remedies, read “Baby colic: Symptoms, Causes and Remedies“.
12. Otorrhea or Middle ear Infection:
Otorrhea (kan ka bahna), one of the most common paediatric ailment, means any kind of flow or discharge from the ear. It is an inflammation of the middle ear, located just behind the eardrum. It is generally caused due to the viruses or bacteria. Actually, the ears make fluid all the time that drains through the tubes (called Eustachian tubes) into the back of the nose. Nasal congestion of the baby blocked these tubes. Then bacteria enters into the fluid behind baby’s eardrum and spreads an infection.
Ear infection in infants (shishu) resolves on its own within few days, but if is not, you should go to your paediatrician. However, the mother should follow some precautions while feeding the baby, such as-
- Breastfeeding is the best for babies to keep them away from any type of paediatric ailment.
- Feed your baby in an upright position; if baby face is down, it can allow milk to get into the infection-prone areas of baby’s ears and lead to an infection.
- Don’t feed your baby when you are in lying position.
Infants health problems described above are not a exhaustive list of the health problems. It only refers to problems which are common in babies just after the birth. Moreover, use of medicines, especially antibiotics are not always needed for babies problems. Most of the health problems get better by themselves or by applying some simple remedies. But in case of newborn babies, it is advisable to follow doctor’s advice or consult the doctor before applying any of the home remedies.