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Parents of newborns and infants worry constantly about their baby’s development. Such new life requires attention to detail physically and emotionally in order to detect warnings of health problems.
It is important for parents to understand when an infant’s health problems are serious and when they may be common to infants in the early months of life. Common problems that may require pediatric care include allergic reactions, rash, colds, coughing, and vomiting.
As a parent of a new baby there is a balance of not wanting to freak out about every single discomfort, and also trying to understand what is happening to your babies body when they can’t speak, and everything is new. This is why it’s so important to be vigilant and ask questions. You will be able to learn the differences between what will go away on its own, or if something is worth more investigation.
Warning Signs of More Serious Health Problems
There are warning signs that require immediate attention and those develop over days or weeks. The warnings signs that require immediate attention include difficulty breathing, inability to retain food or liquids and a high fever that cause convulsions. These are a big red flag that means you should call your nurse hotline and see a medical professional to get more answers.
Vigilance Over Baby’s Development
Often, parents may begin to notice their baby’s skull is not developing correctly. This is a condition known as craniosynostosis. This condition is marked by premature closure of one or more sutures of the skull.
A baby’s skull in the newborn stage has five sutures, i.e., metopic, parietal, lambdoid, coronal and sagittal, in addition to frontal and occipital bones and anterior and posterior fontanelles. Fontanelles are basically referred to as soft spots since they appear on a baby’s skull as two open cavities. The anterior cavity is the larger of the two.
Be Alert to Symptoms
When parents notice signs of craniosynostosis, warning signs may appear when the soft spot (fontanelle) seems full or bulges. Other signs include highly noticeable scalp veins, projectile vomiting, bulging eyes, unusual sleepiness or an increase in irritability.
The four major warning signs are early closure of the soft spot, distorted shape of the skull, a hard ridge formed along with the soft spot and slower growth of the baby’s head compared to the body.
Other signs of the condition include difficulty looking upward when the baby’s head faces forward, high pitched crying and loss of interest in feeding. You may feel like there is something terribly wrong without having any clue as to what is happening. These are not normal cries or normal discomforts. You should keep notes on your tablet or phone and take pictures. Take all this information to your doctor to help them understand the complexities besides the baby crying often.
Parents may also observe an increase in the circumference of the baby’s skull, the onset of seizures and delayed development. This can lead to more severe developmental issues as they grow because it can impact brain growth and head shape. Head deformity can become severe and permanent. The earlier this is caught the more options doctors have.
Talking to a Doctor
Physicians have categorized different types of craniosynostosis that correspond to the sutures of the baby’s skull. These include trigonocephaly which affects the fusion of the metopic suture (forehead) and plagiocephaly which affects the fusion of the right or left coronal suture. The most common type of craniosynostosis is scaphocephaly which is the premature closure of the sagittal suture.
Considering age, health and severity craniosynostosis has on the baby, surgery is typically recommended. This relieves the pressure on the baby’s skull and corrects any deformities the condition may have caused. If you suspect something is wrong, trust your parental intuition and ask your healthcare professional directly.