Your Baby: Things To Watch

By Anne Richards, MBBS, CCFP, FRCP(C) on March 15, 2007
Breathing
Your baby may often sound sniffly and sneeze or cough occasionally. Breathing is irregular - sometimes slow, sometimes fast. You will notice lots of hiccups - and when an infant is really upset and cries very hard, baby's skin may turn blue for a few seconds.

All of these breathing patterns are normal - but there are other instances to which you should pay attention.

Call your doctor:
  • if there is constant, fast breathing, tiredness and hard breathing during feeds
  • if blueness or pale skin colour
  • if noises like grunting with breathing or wheezing coming from the chest
Crying
Crying is your baby's way of telling you what's what. Baby may be hungry, sleepy, bored, uncomfortable, hot, cold, bothered - or sick. Trust yourself. You'll learn very quickly what the different cries mean.

Your baby needs your love and attention. Don't hesitate to cuddle the baby - you can't spoil an infant. A recent study shows that babies who are picked up when they cry, cry less when they are toddlers than babies who were not picked up.

Your bond with your baby is essential to your baby's health and happiness. A crying baby makes us want to give comfort. Your breasts may even leak milk.

Colic
A colicky baby seems to cry all the time - and screams loudest and longest during the evening when parents are trying to relax together.

It was once thought that the cause was a spasm in the bowel. It is now believed that colic is caused by the baby's brain not yet having learned how to calm itself.


Caution: Never shake a baby! It can damage a child's brain causing permanent disabilities such as paralysis, mental retardation and blindness. It can even cause death.

Colic usually ends after 3 months. In the meantime, try stroking or rocking or changing your diet if you're breastfeeding (stop drinking cow's milk).

Hiccups
Babies frequently get hiccups. These don't bother the baby - but putting baby back on the breast to suck will help.

Frequency Of Feeds
Babies want to be fed 7 to 10 times a day. Some babies like to feed more often but will only take one breast at a time. Others take 2 breasts, but don't want to be fed as often.

Some infants wake up and immediately demand to be fed. Others wake up slowly.

At first, babies need their night time feeds because their brains are growing so quickly that they need energy right through the day and night. This will stop when baby is ready to stop.

Some babies stop their night feeds at 2 months while others want these feedings for over a year.

Weight gain is a good guide to how well babies are feeding.

Sleep Patterns
Your baby may catch catnaps but wake up every time the doorbell rings. Or your baby may sleep deeply and won't be easily disturbed.

Caution: All babies should be put to bed on their backs. Although the exact cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is not known, Health Canada says that SIDS is less common in babies who sleep on their backs.

Weight Gain
Babies always lose weight after birth - this is normal. Don't worry - and, if you are breast-feeding, do not supplement your breast-feeds unless your doctor says that the baby's weight loss is worrying. Even then, supplementation should be given by a method other than a bottle, such as a cup, dropper or spoon.

Your baby will start to gain weight again in about 1 week and should be back at birth weight by 2 weeks. Formula-fed babies usually gain a little earlier.

Call your doctor: See your regular doctor 1 week after going home from the hospital to check weight, how the feedings are going and how Mom is feeling.

Awareness
An infant recognizes the voices of mom and dad very quickly and loves hearing soft, kind voices and soft music.

Baby can see your face and eyes and will turn to look at bright lights and other objects.

Infants also recognize different tastes and if you have certain foods or spices for dinner, your breast milk will taste different. That's okay - your baby will like the variety!

Babies love to be cuddled, touched and held. This makes them feel secure. They need to be picked up when they cry - and they don't much care who picks them up. Making strange will come later! BCCE


By Anne Richards, MBBS, CCFP, FRCP(C)| March 15, 2007

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