Ten findings in newborn which parents feel are abnormal (but are normal)

Updated: Oct 9


(The same article is also available in Nepali and Hindi)

1. Red colour rash

Medically termed as erythema toxicum. (erythema means red) Although there is toxicum in the name, it is a misnomer. There is nothing toxic or harmful in erythema toxicum.  It a rash which occurs almost half of all newborns within 2 to 5 days of birth on  chest, back and abdomen and sometimes on face also.  It is characterized by red spots with overlying white or yellow dots. Although a cause of concern for most parents, it is harmless and does not cause any itch to the baby. It usually disappears within 2 weeks by itself, although sometimes it lasts upto 1 month. No treatment is needed. Parents often apply cream or powder, however such application can cause secondary infection.


2. Skin Peeling



It is another normal finding in newborn. It occurs mostly in babies born 2 to 3  weeks later than the expected date (called post term pregnancy) or babies born at expected date but low birth weight (less than 2.5 kg). Peeling  can be decreased by oil massaging. 




3. White dots on nose


          Medically  called milia-  Small white dots may occur on nose, around mouth and sometimes on chin also. No treatment is needed. And it disappears within few weeks or months 



4. White dot on the roof of the mouth


              Called Epstein's pearls - In some babies a  small white dot is present on midline at  the roof of the mouth (called palate), it is normal. Nothing needs to be done. 




5. Weight loss in the first week


         It is expected (and not losing weight is a problem). The weight loss is more in pre-maturely born babies (called preterms). Anyways weight loss should not be more than 10% and birth weight should be regained by 10 days of life. 


6. Frequent stools


               During first few days the babies may pass black or green stools. They also pass many times per day (called transitional stools).  If it is semi-solid and not watery, it is not diarrhea and not of any concern.  


7. Spitting out milk


           Babies commonly spit out/vomit milk soon after feeding. This behaviour is normal as long as baby gains weight (I will have another post for normal weight gain on later date) and passes urine 6 to 8 times per day. The spitting reduces as the baby grows older, usually by 6 to 9 months of age. Burping (holding the baby head up and patting on the back)   for around 10 mins decreases spitting. 

           If  the milk vomited out is yellow, contains blood or the baby makes unusual posture after vomiting, or  enough weight gain is not there it is abnormal and you need to bring baby immediately to a doctor. 


8. Whitish discharge from vagina


         It is normal and no need to do anything. Caregivers should also not attempt to clean it as it can cause injury. 


9. Bleeding from vagina (Yes it is normal!)


         Although bleeding from anywhere is quite terrifying for parents, however if the bleeding occurs from vagina alone, it is normal. In womb, the baby is under influence of hormones of mother (estrogen), the sudden loss of supply to the baby after birth  causes vaginal bleed.  It is similar to menstrual bleeding in women in whom bleeding occurs due to sudden drop of estrogen hormone in blood just before starting of their period. Although such bleeding occurs in small minority of female babies, it is normal. It usually occurs after 2 to 3 days of birth and settles by itself in a week or so. If however bleeding is occurring from other sites also, the baby needs to be seen by a doctor. 


10. Jaundice


Jaundice occurs in around  80% newborns and it is usually harmless if the mother's blood group is not -ve or O blood group. Jaundice usually reduces by 2 weeks time. However I would recommend if parents themselves feel the baby is too yellow he/she must be shown to the doctor regardless of blood group. Also if the baby is not feeding well or anytime the urine becomes too yellow to stain the diaper or there is clay or white colored stool, the baby must be brought to a doctor. 

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