Having a newborn is frankly a scary experience; they are so tiny and fragile, and whether you’re a first-time parent or have been through it before, you’ll no doubt be looking for any sign that they’re sick or need your attention.
There are certain things that newborn parents will need to look out for in the early days, and while this isn’t an exhaustive list, it gives you an idea of the signs that might indicate something is wrong.
No Urine or Bowel Movements
It’s important to keep an eye on your newborn’s dirty nappies so you can check that their body functions are working okay.
If they have fewer than four wet nappies in a day, or are having fewer than three bowel movements a week, then there may be a problem.
When it comes to newborns, it’s not worth taking risks, so speak to your health visitor or doctor ASAP if you suspect a problem.
It’s wise to keep a thermometer in the house when you have a baby, as even a low-level fever can be dangerous in a newborn. If you call 111 for advice, they will want to know your baby’s temperature, which you should take under their armpit when they are under the age of five.
When your child is under three months, any temperature over 38°C can be dangerous, so seek medical attention if your newborn has a fever or has a temperature along with symptoms such as a rash.
A Weak Arm or Grip
Newborns can be surprisingly strong, but if you notice one of your baby’s arms is weaker than the other, or their elbow is bent and held against the body, this can be a sign of Erb’s Palsy, which is caused by nerve damage around the shoulder and arm.
This is often the result of a birth injury, such as the shoulders getting stuck or when extraction tools are used. In most cases, a mild stretch or tear will heal on its own, although it’s worth getting your health visitor to have a look.
If they still have it after the age of six months, then they may need further treatment.
If the injury was caused by medical negligence, it may therefore be worth looking at Erb’s Palsy claims and deciding whether you want to take legal action, which can help pay for things like therapy and rehabilitation.
Any Issues with Breathing
Some babies show signs of retraction, which is where their chest wall appears to be pulling inwards, instead of out with each breath.
This can often be a sign of respiratory distress, so you might want to seek immediate medical attention if you are worried about your newborn. It could also be a sign of croup and other infections, so it’s worth seeing a doctor as soon as you can.
Signs such as fast breathing, or your baby turning a bluish colour should also not be ignored — and if you are concerned, call 999.
Being Overly Sleepy
While it’s quite normal for babies to sleep a lot in the early days, they do need to be fed regularly. If they’re so sleepy that they aren’t getting the required milk, then you may want to consider talking to your health visitor, as it can cause a problem if they aren’t growing properly.