Newborn Skin Rashes
Your newborn baby’s skin may show a wide variety of bumps and blotches. Most of them are totally harmless; they’ll clear up without any treatment. Here are some common rashes:
- Milia: Most babies will have little whiteheads over the nose or chin. These are plugged sebaceous glands and clear up spontaneously during the first few months of life.
- Erythema Toxicum: Exact cause is unknown, but 50 percent of infants develop these red splotches with white centers during the first week of life. They seldom last longer than two weeks and no treatment is necessary.
- Neonatal Acne: Baby acne appears on the cheeks, hairline and often around the shoulder area. It can appear at about two weeks of age and last for as long as two months. It is actually oily skin; often bathing the baby with Dove soap will help. Avoid highly perfumed soaps, lotions, or fabric softeners because they can irritate your baby’s tender skin.
- Heat Rash: Usually, the best treatment is to provide a cooler, less humid environment. Dress your baby in loose clothing and avoid harsh soaps and perfumed lotions. Powder may help. When you use powder it’s important to make sure the infant doesn’t inhale any. Sprinkle some powder in your hand away from the baby. Then rub gently on the affected area.
- Diaper Rashes: The only children who never develop diaper rash are those who never wear diapers. Infant’s skin is particularly sensitive in the diaper area and irritation from constant dampness aggravates the situation. Treatment is aimed at keeping the skin dry and exposed to the air as much as possible. If your baby developes a diaper rash leave the diaper open as much as possible. Plastic pants should be avoided; they don’t allow the area to breathe. Zinc oxide ointments such as Desitin or A&D can be used along with Caldescene powder to form a barrier between the wetness and the skin. Reminder: Take care, talc dust can be dangerous if it’s inhaled. Irritation form a simple diaper rash can be complicated by yeast-especially if the baby is taking or has taken antibiotics. Yeast diaper rashes are usually bright red, raised and plaque-like with small pinpoint dots around the central rash. They do not resound well to normal rash treatment, requiring a prescription medication to clear them up. Blisters in the diaper area are always abnormal. If you discover them on your baby, call Pediatrix.
A buildup of a yellowish, waxy material on the scalp can be caused by excess secretion of oil glands. Known as cradle cap, the condition can be treated with daily shampoos, scrubbing loose the scales. Often, a mild anti-dandruff shampoo (ie. Selsum) may be used one or two times a week. If you use it, be careful not to get it in your baby’s eyes, it will sting.
Until five days after your baby’s umbilical cord has fallen off, sponge baths are recommended. Here are some general guidelines about bathing:
- While babies don’t have to be bathed everyday, most infants learn to enjoy bath time. It’s also something in which Dad can participate.
- Test the water temperature before you immerse your baby.
- Use Dove unscented soap, avoid lotions.
- Powders generally are not needed on an everyday basis. Remember, if you infant inhales talc, it could be dangerous.
- Never probe into ears, nose or other body openings to clean them, use a wash cloth to clean ears.
- Use a nail clipper to keep finger and toenails short. After the bath when the nails are soft and your baby is relaxed is a good time. Cut nails straight across.
Occasionally a newborn girl will have a small amount of vaginal bleeding, caused by the withdrawal of the mother’s hormones at birth. Most baby girls also normally have some clear white vaginal discharge during the first weeks of life.
Always wipe the vaginal area form the front to back with warm water on a cotton ball or soft tissue.
Colic is defined medically as “pain in the abdomen”. The term colic is commonly used to mean a prolonged period of unexplained crying in infants. No true cause has ever been found. Some suggest that the crying may be due to abdominal pain, while others believe that it stems form an immature nervous system that requires a lot of stimulation. Typical colic may include these symptoms:
- It begins about two weeks of age and may last as long as three months.
- It usually occurs at night. Increased activity around the home and a fatigued mother have been suggested as contributing factors.
- Infants often will act as though they want to suckle, but a bottle or breast offers only temporary relief.
- Sometimes the baby may seem “gassy”, which is often blamed for the onset of colic.
Colic has been treated in many ways. All of them work some of the time and none of them work all the time. In most cases, treating the symptoms in these ways is recommended:
- Warm a blanket in the dyer and wrap your baby in it. Rock or cuddle your child.
- Take your infant for a walk or a car ride. Often there will be a soothing effect.
- Discover a lifesaver in the infant swing. Make sure the baby is strapped in and propped up with blankets.
- Try soothing music, pacifiers, back rubs and placing the child on his/her stomach.
- Avoid over the counter medications, some are very dangerous.
If all the home remedies fail, Pediatrix occasionally will prescribe medications. We may also consider changing formulas. If you breast feed your baby, we may encourage you eat a bland diet. Colic can be terribly frustrating for parents, but take heart. Your child will outgrow it in a few months. Call us if you have questions or concerns.