Common anxieties of mothers in the first week of a baby’s life

Each mother worries about the health of her child, and she doubly worries about the health of an unborn baby. How will he be born? Will he have malformations or serious illnesses? Will they be allowed to stay in the hospital in the same ward? Will they be discharged home or transferred to the hospital?

But even after hearing the long-awaited verdict of the pediatrician in the delivery room that “everything is fine”, young mothers do not calm down. After all, every new day presents new “surprises” for parents regarding children’s health, which are not so easy to figure out on their own, and in anticipation of a round by the children’s doctor, mothers manage to “wind up” themselves pretty much. In this article, together with the neonatologist of the portal, we will analyze the most popular questions of mothers regarding the first week of a baby’s life. This information will be especially useful for those who are about to meet their baby.

Skin rashes

Mom’s anxiety: “Yesterday everything was fine, but today the child is covered with an incomprehensible rash. He’s probably allergic. I ate something wrong. “

What could it be? On the 1-3 day of life, many newborns have rashes on the body. They appear as red spots with a small grayish-white bubble in the center. They are usually located in groups, often around the extensor surfaces of the joints. May occur anywhere on the body except mucous membranes, palms and soles. The lesions are volatile and not persistent. They usually do not cause discomfort in children.

These rashes are called erythema toxicity. They can be explained by the peculiar reaction of the skin to the colonization of microbial flora. Yes, there is an allergic component in the mechanism of their occurrence, but these rashes have nothing to do with the mother’s diet. You do not need to treat them, they will go away on their own.


Some children have very profuse toxic erythema, it is accompanied by a slight swelling of lymph nodes, loose stools and anxiety. In this case, the child is usually given an antihistamine. It is believed that children with very abundant toxic erythema in the future are prone to allergic diseases, which is confirmed in some babies.

Weight Loss: How Disastrous?

Mom’s anxiety: “My baby is constantly breastfeeding, but for the third day he is losing weight. Probably, I don’t have enough milk, I’ll have to feed the baby with a mixture. “

Why is this happening? In fact, all newborn babies lose weight after birth. It should be so. Most often, the maximum weight loss occurs 3-4 days after birth. Normally, the child loses no more than 8% (in some cases 10%) of the initial body weight.

Why does my baby lose weight after birth? After childbirth, the child loses some fluid (through the skin, through the lungs, with urine), a sufficiently large volume of meconium (original stool) leaves, the umbilical cord remains dry and mummified. Transient starvation also takes place in the first few days of life, while there is still no significant influx of milk.

The most important thing during this period is to remain calm, to provide the baby with good care and to apply it to the breast more often. The more the baby sucks on her mother’s breast, the faster the milk flow will be, which the baby will gorge on. As a result, the baby’s weight will go uphill.


In the event that the baby has lost more than 10% of its weight at birth, then the doctor’s task is to find the cause of this condition. The reasons can vary, from underfeeding to dehydration from infections.

Increased body temperature

Mom’s anxiety: “The child is only three days old, and his temperature has risen to 38.5 degrees. Did he catch some kind of infection in the hospital? “

What happens to the child? An increase in body temperature for 3-5 days to 38-39 degrees does not occur in all children, but it is enough for many. Moreover, this temperature for the majority is not associated with the child’s illness with any infections. The main cause of hyperthermia: overheating of the baby and high air temperature in the ward. Another common cause of fever is dehydration with a high loss of body weight (usually more than 10%). A number of authors associate a transient (temporary) increase in temperature with the peculiarities of the baby’s metabolism. There is even a term in connection with this – “protein fever”.

In any case, the tactics of the mother and medical personnel when the child’s body temperature rises for 3-5 days is quite simple. It is important to ensure the optimal thermal balance in the baby: move the crib away from the battery, unravel the baby, dress it easier and not swaddle, ventilate the room. It is necessary to establish breastfeeding, to feed the baby with expressed milk if necessary. In case of obvious underfeeding and low lactation, the issue of temporary supplementation of the child with milk formula is resolved. It usually does not come to taking antipyretic drugs.


In some cases, an increase in body temperature in children is indeed associated with the course of the infectious process. Usually these infections are congenital, which simply did not manifest themselves immediately. But, in addition to high fever, there are usually other pathological symptoms that speak in favor of infection. Only a doctor can figure this out.

Are we treating or seeing jaundice?

Mom’s anxiety: “My baby is turning yellow every day, but the doctors are not doing anything. And the child of the roommate is already “sunbathing” under the lamp. Maybe my baby needs a lamp? “

What happens to the child? Jaundice in babies appears as a result of staining the skin and mucous membranes with a special substance – bilirubin. It is a bile pigment, which is increased to varying degrees in children of the first month of life. More than half of newborn babies have some degree of jaundice in the first weeks of life. And what is interesting, for the most part, these are absolutely healthy children, and jaundice is caused by the peculiarities of the exchange of bilirubin in children of this age. This jaundice requires only observation, it goes away on its own.  

Now let’s talk about pathological jaundice – the one that needs to be treated. In a number of newborn babies, the level of bilirubin goes beyond its permissible limits. If the level of jaundice increases even more and if untreated, high bilirubin can have a toxic effect on the child’s brain, which will leave adverse consequences for life.

The causes of pathological jaundice are different. It can be prematurity, immaturity of the liver enzyme systems, impaired metabolism of bilirubin at the intestinal stage, underfeeding of the child, incompatibility in blood group and Rh factor in mother and baby, congenital malformations, hereditary diseases, intrauterine infections, the presence of hemorrhages in the child and other reasons …


The neonatologist closely monitors the level of jaundice in each child, and, if necessary, prescribes blood for the baby for bilirubin and other tests. It is not always possible at the stage of the maternity hospital to identify the cause of jaundice, therefore, the child must be transferred to the neonatal pathology department to clarify the diagnosis and continue treatment. The main treatment for jaundice of any genesis is phototherapy.  

Doctors hear a child’s heart murmur – what to do?

Mom’s anxiety: “The doctor on the round heard a noise in my baby’s heart . This is scary?”  

What does it mean? The heart of newborn babies is listened to daily during medical rounds. In almost half of the children, and sometimes more often, murmurs are heard over the region of the heart. These noises are due to the peculiarities of the restructuring of the child’s blood circulation from intrauterine life to extrauterine life .

Since the fetus’s lungs do not participate in respiration, they do not need such a powerful blood supply in utero as after birth. Therefore, the blood in the fetus for the most part bypasses the pulmonary circulation. For this, the oval window (between the atria) and the ductus arteriosus (between the aorta and the pulmonary artery) function in his heart. After the child is born and takes the first breath, the pressure in the vessels of the heart and lungs will change and the blood flow through these communications will stop. Gradually, the oval window and the ductus arteriosus will overgrow. But newborn babies may temporarily persist in a discharge of blood through these messages, which is clinically manifested by a heart murmur that the doctor hears.  


Not always heart murmurs in newborns are caused only by the restructuring of blood circulation. In some children, this is the first sign that there are anatomical defects in the structure of the heart. At the same time, it is worth knowing that heart defects are not always accompanied by noise in principle. Therefore, the pediatrician pays attention not only to the presence of noise, but also to its nature and dynamics, to the frequency of respiratory movements and heart contractions, to the color of the skin, to the size of the liver and spleen, etc. research, echocardiography.

In this article, we have not talked about all the anxieties of young mothers in the first week of life, but we have touched on some of the most common features of the transition period in newborn babies. We wish health to you and your little ones, as well as patience and vigor, which are very important in the first year of a baby’s life!

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