Newborns - Common Problems

Dr. Ira Shah
Consultant Pediatrician, B.J.Wadia Hospital for Children, Mumbai, India
First Created: 07/01/2006  Last Updated: 08/01/2015

Patient Education

Regurgitation of Milk

Most newborns bring up some amount of milk soon after feeding. THAT IS NORMAL. A baby swallows air while sucking and as air is burped out part of the milk also comes out along with the air. Hence burping the baby by holding upright on the shoulder for 5 to 10 minutes after the feed relieves the gas and regurgitation.


During the first two to three days, the baby passes black, tarry Stools which are followed by greenish stools for the next one or 2 days and then regular semisolid sticky golden-yellow stools. Most babies pass 4 to 8 stools in a day (some babies pass stools after each feed) whereas some babies pass stools once in 2-3 days. THAT IS NORMAL. If the stools are hard and lead to excessive crying while passing stools, consult your doctor to rule out constipation. When the baby is being breastfed and is not receiving any other top feeding, it is unlikely to develop diarrhea due to infection. Diarrhea leads to watery, loose stools in greater frequency.

Urine output

Most newborns pass urine within 48 hours of birth. If the baby has not passed urine within 48 hours, a Kidney Problem should be ruled out. A normal baby passes about 5-10 times of urine per day. Babies usually cry on passing urine due to wet nappies. If the urine stream in narrow, or there is excessive straining on passing urine or there is dribbling at the end, consult your doctor to rule out a bladder or kidney problem.


About 60 to 70 percent of newborn babies develop jaundice on the 2nd or 3rd day of life which disappears within 7-10 days. This is a normal physiological process and is known as PHYSIOLOGICAL JAUNDICE and no treatment is required. If jaundice starts within the first 24 hours of life or is very deep or it persists beyond 2 weeks of life, then consult your doctor to rule out other causes of neonatal jaundice.


During the summer months, some babies may develop a transitory fever during the second or third day of life. The child is however active and keen to feed. This is known as Dehydration fever and is a transient condition and due to excessive environmental temperature. Ensuring proper feeds and hydration leads to the disappearance of the fever.

Excessive crying in newborns

Most babies cry when they are either hungry or having discomforts such as wet nappies or soiled stools. Sometimes insect bites, nose block, and some trivial trauma may be reasons for a cry. An infant with colic may have gaseous distension of the abdomen and usually feels comfortable when placed on his tummy which facilitates the expulsion of gas.

The presence of inconsolable crying or a high-pitched cry may suggest infection and should be referred to the doctor immediately.

Sleep Variation

During the first few days of life, most babies keep their eyes closed and go to sleep after taking only a few sucks at the breast. Also, most newborns sleep during the day and are awake and playful during the night. This is probably because in the mother's womb, during the daytime, the baby is rocked in the amniotic water and sleeps and when the mother is resting at night, the baby is active and playful. Babies tend to fall into a set sleep pattern in 4-6 weeks.

Newborns - Common Problems Newborns - Common Problems 2015-08-01
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