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Newborn Warning Signs

What warning signs may indicate a problem with a newborn?

Your newborn baby is going through many changes in getting used to life in the outside world. This adjustment almost always goes well. But there are certain warning signs you should watch for with newborns. These include:

  • Not urinating (this may be hard to tell, especially with disposable diapers)

  • No bowel movement for 48 hours

  • A rectal temperature over 100.4° F (38° C) or less than 97.5° F (36.5° C)

  • Breathing fast (for example, over 60 breaths per minute) or a bluish skin coloring that doesn’t go away. Newborns normally have irregular breathing, so you need to count for a full minute. There should be no pauses longer than about 10 seconds between breaths.

  • Pulling in of the ribs when taking a breath (retraction)

  • Wheezing, grunting, or whistling sounds while breathing

  • Odor, drainage, or bleeding from the umbilical cord

  • Worsening yellowing (jaundice) of the skin on the chest, arms, or legs, or whites of the eyes

  • Crying or irritability which does not get better with cuddling and comfort

  • A sleepy baby who cannot be awakened enough to nurse or bottle feed

  • Signs of sickness (for example, cough, diarrhea, pale skin color)

  • Poor appetite or weak sucking ability

  • Vomiting, especially when it is yellow or green in color

Every child is different. Trust your knowledge of your child and call your child's healthcare provider if you see signs that are worrisome to you.

 

Online Medical Reviewer: Adler, Liora C., MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Freeborn, Donna, PhD, CNM, FNP
Date Last Reviewed: 11/1/2016
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