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Baby quiz: Is my newborn typical?

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It’s normal for a newborn to have:

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It’s normal for a newborn to have:

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A baby’s skin is soft – but it’s not always unblemished! Most of the bumps and red spots aren’t anything to be worried about and will go away. White bumps on the nose, chin, or cheeks are very common. So is baby acne. Both usually clear up on their own.  A blotchy dark pink or red area that occurs on baby’s face or neck are sometimes charmingly called 'stork bites'. They are also common and go away in a few weeks or months.

A red, pimply rash in neck folds or behind the ears – places where skin is moist – could be prickly heat. It even has a coarse, sandpaper-like feel. Wash the skin gently with plain cool water and pat – don’t rub – dry.

If you are worried about any rash or if your child is sick or has a fever, seek medical advice. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

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What causes cradle cap?

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What causes cradle cap?

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No one knows what causes cradle cap – flaky skin that looks like dandruff or yellow, scaly patches on baby’s head. But many newborns have it. It may also appear on baby’s ears, eyebrows, eyelids or even underarms. It’s not contagious and probably won’t bother your little one. If it bothers you, you can gently massage your baby’s scalp with olive oil or baby oil, or wash frequently with a mild baby shampoo. Never pick at the scales as this can cause infection.

Why do some newborns have pointy heads?

Why do some newborns have pointy heads?

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No doubt your little one is a PERFECT angel – but he may not look the part at first. If you had a vaginal birth, the bones of your baby’s head shifted and overlapped so he could pass through the birth canal. That tends to cause a pointy, cone-shaped head. There's no need to worry, baby’s head will get more rounded in about a week. Babies delivered bottom first or feet first, or by caesarean section, may not have elongated heads.

It’s also common for babies to have some swelling and bruising toward the top of the back of their heads, or a lump on one side of the head caused by blood collecting under the scalp. There’s usually nothing to worry about – your baby’s brain is fine. But it’s always a good idea to have your doctor check it.

My newborn has lost weight in the week since I brought him home. Should I be worried?

My newborn has lost weight in the week since I brought him home. Should I be worried?

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Babies are born with extra body fluid and will typically lose up to 10%  of their birth weight before they stabilise and start growing. By the end of the second week, they should be back to their birth weight and then should gain weight quickly – between 14 and 28g (half an ounce to an ounce) a day. The extra fluid and fat at birth is designed to keep them going until they get onto a regular feeding routine. Check with your midwife, health visitor or doctor if you have concerns.

The best way to make sure your baby is getting enough to eat is to feed on demand.

The best way to make sure your baby is getting enough to eat is to feed on demand.

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Breast-fed babies usually nurse every two to three hours during the first few weeks, formula-fed babies every 3-4 hours. Watch for signs of hunger and feed your baby as often as they want. This is called 'on demand' feeding. Breastfed babies typically feed for 10 to 20 minutes on each breast. Give bottle-fed babies as much formula as they want, but don’t force them to finish a bottle they are no longer interested in.  Be aware that babies suck when they’re hungry, but also to comfort themselves.

Dirty nappies are another clue. Most newborns have six or more wet nappies a day and two or more bowel movements.

The first few weeks can be hectic, and keeping track of feedings helps create some structure while you learn to recognise your baby’s hunger signs.

It’s easy for all babies to latch on to the breast.

It’s easy for all babies to latch on to the breast.

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Many babies need help at the beginning. Some key tips include: Bring the baby’s nose level to your nipple and encourage her to open her mouth really wide by stroking her top lip. Your nipple should go toward the roof of her mouth. You may feel discomfort for a few seconds at the beginning, but it should ease off. If it doesn’t, stop the feeding briefly and try again. Ask your midwife or health visitor for help or speak to a breastfeeding advice organisation.

It’s unusual for a baby to have a black stool.

It’s unusual for a baby to have a black stool.

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Baby’s first poos are a thick black or dark green,  but after that, the colour in his nappy should be yellow or mustard coloured, if he is breastfed. Some formulas can make the colour darker: brown or dark green. If it’s black, red or white, see your midwife, health visitor or GP.

It’s normal for the colour or consistency to change once in a while. Hard or dry stools may be a sign that he needs more to drink.

It’s normal for newborns to have:

It’s normal for newborns to have:

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Yes, your little angel comes with some odd features! No need to worry – they usually go away on their own. For instance, it’s very common for newborns to breathe rapidly or pant, or even have 10-second periods when they don’t take a breath. As for baby’s tiny, kissable feet – after months of living in cramped conditions in the womb, they’re often turned in. Help him out by gently stretching the front of his foot and not letting him sleep in the foetal position.

It may take up to six months for baby’s eyes to stay straight. His eyes may also be bloodshot from the pressure of a vaginal delivery. What about the colour? All babies have dark eyes. You won’t really know for sure until he’s about 6 months to a year old.  Always check with your midwife, health visitor or doctor if you’re concerned.

My baby’s soft spot bulges when he cries! Is that normal?

My baby’s soft spot bulges when he cries! Is that normal?

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Your baby has two soft spots on his head: a larger one toward the front of the top of the head and a small one toward the back. They may bulge when he cries, and you may be able to see the pulse of his heartbeat there, too. Those soft spots allowed baby’s large head to move through the birth canal, and give his big brain room to grow fast after he’s born. The smaller soft spot usually disappears in six months. The larger one may take 12 to 18 months to close completely. They are covered by a tough membrane that protects the brain. If your baby’s soft spot continues to bulge, even when he’s not crying, see your health visitor or doctor.

As long as you change nappies the right way, your baby won’t get nappy rash.

As long as you change nappies the right way, your baby won’t get nappy rash.

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The truth is, almost all babies have nappy rash at some point. It happens most often between four and 15 months, and is more noticeable when babies start to eat solid foods. A lot of things can cause the rash: nappies that are moist, dirty or too tight; frequent stools; antibiotics; or a bad reaction to soap. Solutions include: changing nappies frequently; letting baby’s bottom air dry; nappy rash cream; patting baby dry rather than rubbing; loose-fitting nappies.

See your GP, midwife or health visitor if the rash lasts more than a few days or if your baby has sores on the skin.

 In the first few days, a newborn may have:

 In the first few days, a newborn may have:

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Many babies get jaundice – which turns their skin yellow – within three or four days of birth. Usually it goes away within a week, but you should always check with your midwife or doctor if your baby looks yellow or has jaundice, to make sure there's not a more serious problem.

Your baby's hands and feet may look a little blue on and off for a few days after birth. In most cases it’s normal, due to the fact that his circulatory system hasn't quite matured yet. Always check with your midwife or doctor to make sure there is nothing else more serious going on.

When the stump of your baby’s umbilical cord falls off, it may bleed a little.

When the stump of your baby’s umbilical cord falls off, it may bleed a little.

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You may see a few drops of blood on baby’s nappy when the umbilical cord stump falls off. Before it falls off, make sure you keep the cord dry and clean as it shrivels up. It should fall off within two weeks.

It’s rare for the stump to get infected. Signs would be a bad-smelling discharge from the cord, red skin around the base of the cord, or if baby cries when you touch the cord or skin next to it. If you see any of these, or if the area seems to be bulging, seek medical advice.

How often do you need to trim a baby’s nails?

How often do you need to trim a baby’s nails?

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A baby’s nails grow fast! The best time to trim them is when she is in deep sleep. Use small clippers made just for babies. Push on the finger pad to move it away from the nail before you snip.

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