When it comes to looking after a newborn, many things can leave you worried. But here are more newborn quirks that are totally normal.
WORDS ANNA FERNANDEZ
Here are some completely normal newborn occurrences that will have you breathing a sigh of relief knowing it’s all to be expected.
Wind is extremely common, especially until about three months, as a baby’s digestive system matures. Your baby may have wind because she is gulping air when she feeds. As she is unable to expel the trapped air bubbles in her stomach, you can try burping her after each feed.
Remember to keep her back (and therefore windpipe) as straight
as possible to encourage the air bubbles to reach the surface and
support her head and neck as you’re doing this.
2. Milk Spots
Milia, or “milk spots”, are small, white bumps that usually cover your baby’s nose and cheeks. They are caused when keratin, a protein found in human skin, gets trapped underneath the outer layer of skin. Milk spots are rarely even irritating or itchy and will fade on their own, but you should keep the area clean by washing your baby’s face with warm water a couple times a day.
3. Periodic Breathing
When people talk about sleeping like a baby, they usually mean that they slept deeply and soundly. However, this is rarely the case with babies. Unlike most adults who breathe at a constant rate, infants may breathe very quickly, pause, then take a deep breath. This is called periodic breathing and it can make even the calmest parent freak out completely, but it’s totally normal and is a result of their as yet immature breathing control.
In addition to most babies being nasal breathers, infants are noisy sleepers because they spend most of the time on their backs, causing their airways to narrow with gravity. Also, when infants spit up, some of the milk ends up in the upper airways, leaving less space for air to pass through. All of this is normal, but if your child seems uncomfortable, elevate the surface where her head rests by 45 degrees, or run a mist vaporiser in the room to loosen up nasal secretions and help her breathe easier.
4. Crossed Eyes
You may notice that your baby’s eyes may not always be zeroed in on you, or in one direction at a time.
Newborns are commonly cross-eyed because their eyes struggle to work
in unison. They may also be adjusting to the new environment
or are still getting a hang of using their eye muscles.
Just like the rest of their uncoordinated and flailing limbs, it’s nothing to worry about and they should be able to follow objects with both eyes soon.
Experts speculate that the rhythmic back-and-forth movement of head-thumping helps babies fall asleep. This behaviour is present from about six to nine months of age, and they typically subside by the time they are two or three years old.
Although it may seem alarming at first, resist lining your baby’s crib with soft pillows and blankets as they might pose a suffocation hazard and increase the likelihood of sudden infant death syndrome. Instead, regularly tighten the bolts on the crib, and experiment with other methods that may help. Give her a warm bath, a gentle massage, or spend extra time rocking her before putting her to sleep.
Whichever newborn quirk you may observe, remember not to go overboard with the fussing and panicking, and instead revel in your little miracle’s idiosyncrasies while you can!
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