A handy guide to your newborn’s nose, mouth and chest
A newborn’s sneeze, cough or spit-up does not necessarily mean she has a cold or a digestion problem. Our expert, Dr R. K. Anand clarifies certain misbeliefs through his book - A Guide to Childcare.
Variations in a child’s nose, mouth and chest
Changes in the nose
Some normal babies have a slightly sticky discharge from the nose. This does not interfere with feeding and stops after 2 to 3 months. Sneezing is normal in newborn babies and so is occasional coughing.
Changes in the mouth
Your baby may be born with a tooth. It should generally be left alone. Do not worry that baby will inhale it or hurt you while breastfeeding.
In a tongue-tie, the fold of tissue connection the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth is too short and this restricts the movement of the tongue. It is usually overdiagnosed. True tongue-tie that requires surgery is extremely rare. If the child can touch the roof of the mouth with her tongue, surgery is not required.
If at all surgery is needed, it should be postponed until the child is 3 years old. The tongue grows bigger as the child grows older. A uniform white coating on the tongue is normal. Leave it alone. No effort should be made to clean the tongue with glycerine or a piece of cloth.
Some babies may have thick, sucking blisters on the lips. These are normal and disappear after few weeks.
Hiccup in newborns is normal. Some babies normally have mucous cysts (also termed epithelial pearls) in their first week, near the margin of the gums or even the palate.
Some babies may have a bloodstained vomit after birth. This is possibly due to irritation of the stomach by the amniotic fluid or mother’s blood swallowed by the baby. The bleeding does not recur and the baby is otherwise normal. Some babies swallow blood from the mother’s cracked nipple. This also does not need any treatment. Sometimes a child can have a condition called ‘haemorrhagic diseases of the newborn’ and tests may need to be done to rule it out. This occurs due to Vitamin K deficiency.
Sometimes the baby will throw up a milk curd-like substance after a feed. This is known as regurgitation. This should not to be of much concern. After a feed, make sure you burp the baby and only then let her lie down. If the baby has fallen asleep without burping, put her on her right side. If the baby is awake, she can be put on her stomach to burp.
Read more about: All you need to know about Infant Reflux
Changes in the chest
Swollen breasts and milk-filled breasts may be seen in several 2 or 3-day-old babies. Do not attempt to remove the milk or massage the breasts. Severe infection needing surgery has been seen when such advice was not followed. The swelling will then disappear on its own.
Your doctor may hear a heart murmur over the chest. It doesn’t necessarily mean that baby has a heart disease. The murmur may disappear within a few days. If required, your doctor will ask for some test.
A newborn has a breathing rate of about 45 breaths/minute. This can vary from child to child. Sometimes, the rate becomes fast, followed by a slower rate. If your baby is suckling and is otherwise well, such variations are usually normal.
To know about changes to look out for in your newborn’s head development and eyes, click here.
Sometimes, a baby’s skin may appear blue. To know more about this, click here.
Swollen genitalia is normal in a new baby. To know more, click here
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