Sicknesses that affect Babies


Seeing your baby fall ill (no matter how simple/small the sickness is) is a scary experience. I remember the first time my daughter had blocked nose. I was scared! Hubby and I woke stayed awake all night. When we could not take it anymore, we left for the hospital at 2am. And that was just the least of our experiences. We’ve had to stay in the hospital for 5days when she was placed on admission.

Understanding the most common types of sicknesses that affect babies will help you prepare for when your baby starts to experience those sicknesses, and also give you an idea what to do.


This is a yellow discolouration in a newborn baby’s skin and eyes. Infant jaundice occurs because the baby’s blood contains an excess of bilirubin. A new baby’s liver is often too immature to handle bilirubin, so  it may become jaundiced at two to three days old, although this usually subsides within two weeks; premature babies are more prone to jaundice. In some cases, jaundice can be serious.

What to do

If there’s jaundice within 24 hours of birth, or it lasts longer than 14 days, your baby needs tests to check there’s nothing wrong with his/her liver.


If your baby seems restless or , check his temperature – digital thermometers are common. You can use a digital thermometer under your baby’s arm. Normally a baby’s temperature (taken under the arm) is 36.4°C but an infection will cause a fever – a temperature of over 37.5°C. It is recommended that you should contact your GP if your baby is under three months old and has a temperature of 38°C or higher, if they’re three to six months old and their temperature is 39°C or higher or they have other signs of illness as well as a raised temperature.

What to do

Take your baby to the doctor.It’s often impossible to tell what’s wrong without an examination. Don’t give ibuprofen or paracetamol to a baby under three months without medical advice. However, you can help cool your baby by taking off excess clothing, and giving him/her frequent drinks of breast milk, or formula to help keep him/her hydrated.


Colic often comes on at two weeks and can last for three months. Typically, your baby will cry every evening, often for prolonged periods, and may draw his legs up towards his tummy as if in pain. Although colic is common, the cause is unknown. It may be an extreme version of normal crying, or it may be something that happens while a baby’s gut matures.

What to do

Easier said than done, but try not to let the crying get to you. Ask for advice from your doctor, who may suggest this trick: hold your baby face down along your arm, while you rub his/her back with your other hand.


Croup is a harsh barking cough, often coupled with noisy breathing and hoarseness. It’s more common over three months of age, but can happen at any time. The usual cause is a virus, but it can also be brought on by a bacterial infection.

What to do

See your doctor without delay if you think your baby has croup. If he/she appears to be fighting for breath, go straight to the hospital.


Cold is caused by a large number of different viruses, and it’s very common in babies and young children. Their tiny nostrils easily become blocked, making it difficult to feed and breathe.

What to do

Give your baby plenty of time to feed. Wipe the nose gently – cotton wool/cotton bud…not to forget the most reliable method- using your mouth to suck out the catarrh (I remember before I became a mum, I could swear I would never do that, but nobody taught me, when the time came). There are some drops that can help ease a blocked nose; your doctor should recommend one. If your baby seems irritable or unwell, has a fever or refuses feeds, take him/her to the GP to rule out complications – remember, a young baby can get dehydrated very quickly.

Nappy rash

When your baby’s skin comes into contact with wee and poo in his/her nappy, the skin can become sore, with pink or red spots.

What to do

Try cleaning your baby’s bottom with just cotton wool and water- wipes may make irritation worse. Also try to give your baby some nappy-free time each day, and apply Shea Butter before you put a nappy on. If the rash persists and there are small red spots outside the main area, see your GP before it gets serious.


It’s normal for babies to get constipation. The colour of their poo can also vary, depending on what you eat. But a constipated baby passes dry, hard poo like rabbit droppings; babies fed formula milk are more prone to constipation.

What to do

You only need to worry if your baby seems unwell, cries a lot, or refuses to eat. You’ll have an instinct about your baby’s symptoms, so learn to trust yourself when you suspect your baby is unwell. If symptoms persist consult your doctor.



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