Search

Head to Toe: Common Newborn Conditions

Congratulations! I hope you are enjoying falling in love with your newborn baby.

Coming home with a newborn may be one of the most exciting times in your life, but it also may be one of the most challenging, particularly for first time parents.

During the current COVID-19 Pandemic, many parents feel isolated and nervous about seeing health professionals unless their baby is really sick. I would urge you during this time, to see a health professional if you are worried about your baby or feel that “something is not right”.

Below, I have put together some brief information about a few common newborn conditions which I often see as a paediatrician (specialist children’s doctor).

HEAD

Head shape

  • Many babies have slightly uneven or funny shaped heads

  • Babies have soft bones that move to fit through the birth canal during delivery and they often come out with an elongated or odd head shape

  • By 6 weeks, your baby’s head shape should remould to a more normal, more symmetrical shape

  • If a funny head shape doesn’t resolve, it is worth getting checked by a health professional to check that the skull bones are growing normally.

Head lumps

  • Babies may also develop a bruise or lump on the outside of their skull after birth due to bleeding between the scalp and the skull (Cephalhaematoma)

  • This is more common after forceps or suction deliveries

  • These lumps do not cause pain and are not dangerous. The brain is not affected

  • They usually resolve without any treatment within a few weeks or months but may become harder as the blood calcifies, before shrinking and disappearing.

EYES

Sticky, discharging eyes

  • Babies can develop sticky eyes in either one or both eyes. This is usually due to a blocked tear duct and gets better by itself with time

  • Gentle eye cleansing with cotton wool and saline (salt water) and gentle tear duct massage can help

  • Blocked tear ducts don’t usually need antibiotics but please see your doctor if there is redness around the eye or eyelids, or your child is unwell.

Yellow eyes or body (jaundice)

  • Jaundice, or yellowness of the skin or white of the eyes, is reall