Q: My baby is 5 days old and is having diarrhea.
A: After the first few days of life when your baby passes meconium that is very dark and sticky, it’s normal for your newborn’s poop to begin to be very watery and seem like diarrhea. Breast fed infants, in particular, have stools that are loose and “seedy” and range in color from brown to mustard yellow to green. A typical newborn’s poop looks a lot like grainy mustard–think Grey Poupon country style! And, some new infants poop up to 10 times in 24 hours and this is 100% normal.
Q: I’m worried my newborn has a cold because he keeps sneezing.
A: It’s very unlikely that your baby is sick. Newborns often sneeze quite a bit — think of it as nature’s way of allowing your baby to blow his nose. New babies have very small nasal passages and usually make a little bit of mucus which can produce some nasal congestion. This usually isn’t a problem, but because newborns don’t know they can breathe through their mouths you may hear your newborn’s breathing and think it means he is having difficulty. As long as your baby is feeding well, is consolable, doesn’t seem to be struggling to breathe or crying a lot (which forces babies to mouth breathe) he is likely just fine.
Q: We want to take our baby to a party but she is only 2 weeks old. Is this OK?
A: The immune system of a newborn is immature and the more people they are exposed to the greater the likelihood of catching something which could cause them to become quite sick. Best to stick to walks outside (weather-permitting) while wearing masks. Additionally, even pre-COVID we stressed being very careful regarding hand hygiene and potential exposure to germs for the first 60 days of life — this is when pediatricians consider a fever a sign that an infection may be serious. Hand washing is the best way to prevent introducing harmful germs to your newborn. Reminder: proper cleaning of your hands involves rubbing them together for 20 seconds (try singing 3 rounds of “Row Row Row Your Boat”!) with good old soap and warm water or the use of an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
Q: Which hand sanitizers are best?
A: Generally we recommend an alcohol based product which is rated 0-2 on the Environmental Working Group (EWG) cosmetics database toxicity scale so that you’re sure to purchase something effective while avoiding highly toxic ingredients. This is an important factor when considering what to buy for you and your baby. Babies and small children have very thin skin and immature detoxification systems and thus are vulnerable not only to what we feed them but also to what we use on their skin, what we clothe them in, and what they breathe. EWG is a tremendous resource for guiding and empowering families.
Q: Do I need to give my 2 month old baby Vitamin D drops? There is not much sun in our San Francisco neighborhood and we spend most of our time indoors.
A: Vitamin D is important to our health and many of us have insufficient levels due to lack of adequate sunlight exposure or supplementation. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends all partially or fully breast fed infants receive a vitamin D supplement starting in the first few days of life. Evidence has shown this could have life-long benefits. And, if baby is formula fed but not consuming at least a liter of formula per day, he/she should also take vitamin D. Furthermore, because of the growing body of evidence that a pregnant woman’s vitamin D status is important to her developing fetus, the AAP has recommends that physicians caring for pregnant women consider vitamin D testing during pregnancy.
At GetzWell we have tested many new mothers’ vitamin D levels and often they are lacking. This is critical both for mothers’ health and directly impacts the breast feeding baby. Once we have these results, we can tailor our recommendations to each mother and baby as part of our effort to optimize the health of our patients and families.
GetzWell professionals are here to support new parents through every stage of baby’s development, even virtually. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need us! https://getzwell.com/contact-us/