Mandan News

Baby skin is discolored

Concerning Your Health
By Dr. Gretchen Belzer-Curl

Why is our baby’s skin discolored?
Skin blemishes are common for babies. Acne and white bumps on the nose, chin and cheeks are harmless and usually clear up without treatment. Red spots on the belly are also common and usually disappear within a couple weeks of birth. Flaky skin on the head that looks like dandruff or is yellow and crusty is known as cradle cap. It can also occur on the ears, eyebrows and under the arms. Cradle cap also typically resolves with time. Another common skin condition is a pimply rash in moist areas, such as behind the ears or in the folds of the neck. For the rash, wash the skin with cool water and gently pat it dry. Don’t use soap or any cleanser. With cradle cap, you can gently massage the scalp with your fingers and shampoo baby’s head more often.

Why is our baby’s head so strangely shaped?
Babies often have heads with some swelling, lumps, or bruises that result during the birthing process. Within a couple weeks, you will see your baby’s head returning to a normal shape. Contrary to some rumors, a baby’s brain is not impacted when the head shape is stressed by normal birthing.

Why is our baby losing weight?
Most babies lose weight, usually no more than eight ounces, during their first week of life. Once they develop a regular feeding schedule, they typically gain about one pound each month over the first six months. If your baby continues to lose weight, call your family doctor or pediatrician.

Why does our baby breathe so irregularly?
Newborns often breathe rapidly, pant, sigh or even have short periods where they don’t appear to be breathing. This is normal and common. However, if you notice your baby seems to have frequent periods where he/she stops breathing for a few seconds, call your infant’s doctor.

When should we contact our doctor immediately?
You should always feel free to call your baby’s doctor to discuss any concerns. The physician and staff are there to answer those questions when you have them. However, there are times when your baby may need immediate attention. Take your baby to an emergency facility or immediately to your doctor if any of these symptoms are present: Your baby’s lips are blue, a sign that the baby is not getting enough oxygen; your baby breathes hard and fast, seems to be straining for breath or has flared nostrils – a sign of respiratory distress; your baby has skin that becomes more and more yellow – an indication that jaundice is advancing rather than going away naturally as it should; your baby has a rectal temperature of 100.4 F or higher. (This is a serious concern particularly for babies under three months of age.)

Gretchen Belzer-Curl, MD, is a board-certified family medicine physician at Sanford North Mandan Clinic. A graduate of the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, Dr. Belzer-Curl sees family members of all ages and specializes in women’s medicine, preventative health, abnormal PAPs and colposcopies.