When to identify your baby needs further medical care

Having a child can be a relatively difficult time. There are many, many things you need to keep in mind, especially if this is your first rodeo. With time you’ll get to grips with the entire affair and even enjoy it immensely, but we’d be lying to you if we ignored the practical reality that having a child requires an immense amount of responsibility from day to day.

Luckily, raising a child is the most worthwhile thing you can do with your time on this Earth, so it’s not as if you’ll be hard done by. However, sometimes certain things can be cause for concern. Infants are by definition at risk of contracting a number of health complications. As a new parent, it can be tempting to refer every small thing you notice to a Doctor. Luckily, this is what a dedicated midwife is for. However, when you notice things that might constitute a problem, the first response is to go running to the child’s clinic.

Luckily, not everything is permanent, and some things may pass. There are a few signs that might suggest your baby needs further medical care however. We’d recommend that the following markers should motivate you to visit your Doctor as soon as you can:

Difficulty Breathing

It should be very clear if your child is having trouble breathing. There are many issues that can cause this to be the case. It might be that the air quality in your home is bad and simply needs ventilation. Often, however, this is not so simple. There have been conditions recorded where an infants body struggles to excrete carbon monoxide and the gasses that us as humans must filter out to survive.

However, there are also almost too many reasons to count as to why this might be happening. We’d first recommend checking the nasal passages, as these can become blocked. If you notice that your child rapidly breaths, seems to have difficulty pulling through their nose, often grunts or seems to go blue in the face, you should try and find urgent medical care. Often your midwife or visiting health professional will try and ensure that this isn’t a problem with every visit, but simply inspecting your child’s breathing capacity as a default throughout the day can help you catch issues early.

Lack of Sleep

A child being unable to sleep can mean many things. This is very unnatural because often babies seem to do nothing more than sleep (and of course never when you hope they will at night!) It’s important to understand the potential reasons for this happening.

First, it could be environmental. You might have bad ventilation in their room, or there might be extreme outdoor noises keeping them awake. It might be their room is too warm, or the blankets you have wrapped them in are too tight and hot. It might also be that your baby is overtired or overstimulated in some way. Sometimes, it could be that you haven’t quite given them the room to adapt to a form of sleep schedule just yet, and the irregularity is playing with their health.

Sleep issues should be referred to a pediatrician or Doctor when your child seemingly cannot sleep even when completely worn out. This shows a very difficult problem, and will require urgent care. Your doctor should be able to administer a very mild form of sleeping aid, or simply help you resolve the issues that could be affecting your child.

Lack of Appetite

Lack of appetite can suggest a few things. It might be that your child simply does not respond to breastfeeding, which can often mean a more formula-based approach is required. However, if they refuse to feed at all, you may consider heading to your Doctor. They can help you begin learning new methods of feeding, such as the biological nurturing position. It’s also important to be patient here. Sometimes a baby might take some time to latch onto your breast, but this is normal. When a child seems to show intense vomiting, gagging on all and any foods, or experiencing diarrhea almost immediately after feeding, it could be that your child is suffering from an allergy, an unhealthy developmental relationship with food, or they might have some form of abdominal pain.

Bringing this issue to your health professional as soon as it starts to worry you can help you find a solution within a day or two, and help your child begin feeding once more, even if that has to be forced.


Oversleeping can be seen as a form of real fatigue. It might indicate that your child struggled with bad sleep quality the night before, such as being overheated. It could be that your child is suffering from a nutritional issue. It might also be the case that they have some form of autoimmune disease. Never expect the worst, but be sure that you are quick enough to attend to this through prompt explanations to your healthcare professional. There are many methods that a Doctor might suggest, from scheduling sleep more properly, to switching up dietary intakes, to checking for any form of lethargy generating illness. Usually, these issues can be overcome if caught early, so if you feel it’s a problem you have every right to ensure it’s checked out.

Extended Stomach

Most infants have large stomachs that protrude out a fair amount. However, if you notice that this feels relatively tense and swollen, then it might only signify constipation. However, it might also signify congenital malformations, something which needs looking at immediately. A good x-ray will be able to determine the cause. It could be that sepsis or congenital megacolon (the disease most attributed to this underlying health condition,) and that resolving this with treatment can help resolve other issues too, like frequent and unwanted vomiting.

Flaky Skin

It might be you notice that your child suffers from flaky skin, especially around the scalp. This can give you cause for alarm, but be sure not to jump to any conclusions too hastily. For example, this condition can often be known as something called cradle cap. This is a very normal condition for many children and often dissipates before the first birthday. For more information be sure to check out these common cradle cap questions. However, flaky skin can also signify an irritation, which may have come from the powder your wash your laundry with, or the general state of repair of the furniture they come into contact with. It might be that they have a skin condition, or are simply supremely sensitive to any forms of toxin that might be in the area.

Visiting your GP should allow you to identify a cause, but this can also often be found online depending on how the flaky skin looks, and where it seems to gather. Of course, never neglect to visit your healthcare professional on account of an internet article, as where the health and safety of your child is concerned, it always pays to stay completely sure.


We have previously mentioned that vomiting can be the symptom of many issues. It might be that your formula is unsuitable, or that your burping method is inefficient. However, it is also usually completely normal for babies to vomit occasionally, and to sometimes do so at the most inconvenient times.

However, there are some irregularities to look for. While it might not be considered the nicest thing to do, visually inspecting your child's vomit can help you notice issues. If it’s uncommonly textured, contains blood or is a strange color, it might be that your child is experiencing heavy digestive issues or infections. Your Doctor should be able to provide a list of treatment options and help you opt for more safe methods of feeding with different formulas, or open up the possibility of breastfeeding once more.

In Summary

To summarize, there are many, many reasons as to why your child might be experiencing odd health issues that you can’t quite understand. This is why the power of observation is so important from the get-go, as is understanding how to translate these responsibilities to your caregiver or partner. We’d recommend googling any and all issues you find important, and checking for updated insights on baby blogs around the web. It could also be you find helpful guidance on baby forums dedicated towards new or experienced mothers. However, it’s always best to keep in mind that nothing will ever replace the trained eye of a healthcare professional looking over your child and ensuring that their best health is met.

Never feel like you’re ‘being a nuisance.’ Report any and all matters of interest to your counselor and midwife. Finally, become comfortable with observing, observing and observing every issue your child might have. This means inspecting their person regularly, keeping an eye on their behavior and noticing any differences in patterns they might be showing. Before long you will be able to catch issues as they arise, and enact changes quickly enough to keep your infant health and ready to live a full, wholesome childhood.

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