Managing Newborn Issues | Kids Clinic, Singapore


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(Last updated: 13 Jun)

Managing Common Newborn Issues

Contributed by: Kids Clinic

For first time parents, taking care of a newborn baby can be a daunting experience. There are a lot of do’s and don’ts to remember. In this article, our paediatrician, Dr Dave Ong will be providing useful tips on how to manage common newborn issues.

1. Calming a Restless Baby

It’s a normal occurrence for babies to become unhappy or irritable at various parts of the day. For parents who are trying to figure out why your baby is restless, here are some common reasons that you can try to look out for:
  1. a. Baby is hungry

    You should check when your baby was last fed and feed your baby as needed.

  2. b. Diaper is wet/soiled

    Babies often cry when their diaper area is wet with urine or stools. Cleaning the diaper area and changing the diaper will help keep them calm.

  3. c. Skin irritation

    This is a common reason yet often overlooked by parents. To determine if your child’s skin is being irritated, check your baby’s hands, feet, and the body to ensure there is nothing on the clothing impinging on the skin. It is also helpful to make sure there is nothing poking the skin and causing pain or discomfort.

Doctor Dave Holds A Baby Face-to-face
Holding a baby in this position and rocking gently will keep it happier and more calm.

2. Handling Fever in Babies

Fever in a newborn is defined as a temperature of 38 degrees celsius and above. If the temperature is 37.5 degrees celsius and above, a fever could be on its way. To detect a fever, it is very important to take your baby’s temperature properly and accurately. The most accurate way to measure your baby’s temperature would be to measure it at the armpit area, especially if your child is below 3 months of age. Taking the temperature from the forehead or ear are not as accurate.
Fever And Temperature Taking With Digital Thermometer
Measuring the baby’s temperature from the armpit is the most accurate method.

If your newborn baby is below a month old and has a temperature of 38 degrees celsius and above, bring your baby to the hospital immediately. This is because a fever can suggest a possibility of a serious bacterial infection, which newborns are prone to due to their weaker immune systems.

A quick guide to fever management.

3. Preventing Milk Regurgitation

Babies often regurgitate a small amount of milk after feeding. However, there are some instances when babies regurgitate a lot more or projectile vomit. This can be caused by gastroesophageal reflux or simply known as reflux in babies. Here are some steps parents can take to reduce regurgitation after feeds:
    1. If you are feeding by bottle, try and prop your baby up at about 30 degrees during feeding.
    2. Burp your baby well after feeding.
    3. Hold your baby upright for at least 10 minutes after feeds so there’s time for the milk to move further down in the digestive system.
Burp your baby well after feeding
Burping the baby after feeding will reduce regurgitation

4. Caring for Baby’s Skin

The newborn skin is very delicate. Furthermore, diaper rashes are very prevalent if the baby’s diaper region is not taken care of properly. These are the important steps parents should take to help keep your baby’s skin healthy:
    1. Moisturise your baby’s skin regularly with a PH-balanced moisturiser.
    2. Use a non-soap based body wash when showering your baby.
    3. Do not wipe the diaper region excessively.
    4. Wash the diaper area properly if your baby had diarrhoea.
    5. Put adequate diaper cream whenever you change the diaper area.
Use a non-soap based body wash when showering your baby.
Babies have delicate skin hence parents should use a non-soap based body wash.
Wash the diaper area properly if your baby had diarrhoea.
A mother wiping the diaper area carefully before applying diaper cream.

We hope the above tips will help first-time parents to be better equipped in handling common newborn issues! Stay tuned for our next video where our PD will be sharing about newborn vaccinations.

About Author

This article is written by Dr Dave Ong, who completed his MBBS in the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2009. He received his post-graduate specialist training in Paediatric Medicine at the National University Health System (NUHS) and was awarded the combined Master of Medicine (Paediatric Medicine) and Membership of Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (MRCPCH, United Kingdom) in 2014. Dr Ong is competent in paediatric and neonatal resuscitations for acute emergencies and has a special interest in respiratory, ear-nose-throat (ENT) and skin conditions.

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Incorporated in 2005, Singapore Medical Group (SMG) is a healthcare organisation with a network of private specialist providers across four established pillars - Aesthetics, Diagnostic Imaging & Screening, Oncology and Women's & Children's Health. Within Singapore, SMG has more than 40 clinics strategically located in central Singapore and heartland estates. Beyond Singapore, SMG also has an established presence in Indonesia, Vietnam and Australia. Learn about our privacy policy here.

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