For Mums

9 Newborn Red Flags you should *NEVER* Ignore!

newborn red flags

Having a tiny little human being is fun, exciting and a feeling of pure bliss. But with this happiness comes a whole set of responsibilities which includes taking care of the baby always and making sure it’s okay! Here are some of the most common newborn red flags, which will give you a little head start for your journey as a mother.


Trouble feeding

Baby will have trouble feeding if the latch is not perfect or if the breastmilk production is not sufficient enough. Now, many women are worried about having insufficient breast milk but there is a research that has proven that in reality only 15% suffer from low milk supply and most of them are able to increase it by appropriate guidance and supplements. Only 1-5% women are actually unable to produce any milk. (1)

Signs of Improper Latching are

  • Pain during Breastfeeding: Improper latching is the primary reason if you are suffering from pain during feedings. This is because improper latch means that the baby is just taking the nipple in the mouth and not the full areola. This, in turn, will involve sucking hard and twisting the nipple which leads to pain. Now remember there can be other reasons for pain during breastfeeding that include:
    • Thrush: Yeast infection in baby’s tongue; white in color; easily detectable. It’s nothing serious and your doctor will probably prescribe a gel to treat it.
    • Dryness: Baby’s saliva can cause the areola skin to dry and bleed, so make sure that you apply oil/cream on your nipples twice a day daily.
    • Eczema ( You have scaly red patches on the skin with itchiness and soreness at the same time; check with your doctor whether it’s safe or not to nurse at this time ).
    • Baby may be tongue-tied ( It means that the tissue which connects his tongue to the lower floor is either too short or too far-reaching in front of his tongue. A small surgical procedure has to be done on tongue-tied babies.)
    • You are using the breast pump improperly.
      Read our guide to know essential tips before you Breast-Pump
  • Your baby doesn’t look happy/satisfied after feeding and often cries and fusses.
  • Baby doesn’t wakes up for feeding and doesn’t suck continuously or at least long enough to empty the breast.
  • There is no chin movement while he is sucking.
  • You hear swallowing but no clicking/smacking noises.
  • Feeds for long (more than 30 minutes) and still doesn’t looks satisfied.
  • Baby resists latching on.

If your baby shows any of the symptoms, immediately consult a lactation consultant. And if you think the baby is not getting enough do consult your pediatrician. Check for these signs if the baby is getting enough.


Fits or abnormal movements 

It’s very difficult to identify seizures or fits in newborns not only by people around but doctors too. Even though the technology is developing, areas of uncertainties still exist. (2)

Jerks are actually normal in newborns. They can occur while they are sleeping or when they are exposed to loud noise. explained the seizures occur because the baby’s coordination between the nervous system and bodily movements is still weak and it becomes even more escalated while the baby is sleeping.

You need to worry about these seizures/jerks if you notice any unusual lip or eye movement along with them and they last for more than 5 minutes.


Cold body temperature

An average normal body temperature of a newborn is 98.6℉ and could vary between 95℉ – 100℉ without harming the baby at all. If the temperature drops below 95℉ and the lowered temperature is accompanied by other symptoms like fussiness, irritation and tired baby then do check with your doctor. Lower temperature in a baby could indicate organ failure, sepsis, nutritional deficiencies or any other infection. (3)

When the baby’s temperature is low check if its arms and feet are cold too.If they are cold, do skin to skin with the baby and cover him with the blanket. Cuddle and warm him up properly and if he still shows signs of illness, then consult your health care provider immediately.


Warm temperature

Just like cold temperature, warm temperature or any temperature higher than 100℉ is not safe

According to Babycenter, any temperature higher than 100.4℉ (rectal temperature) confirms that baby has a fever. Check for other symptoms too like if the baby’s face and body look flushed. if the baby’s forehead is warm or whether the baby has trouble breathing etc. For babies under 3 months, it doesn’t matter if the high temperature is accompanied by a fever or not, the baby should be immediately taken to the doctor.  


Trouble breathing

Symptoms of trouble in breathing by newborn include:

  • Breathes fast,
  • Rocking motion of chest and body. Watch closely if chest draws in and belly pulls out,
  • Nasal and chest congestion,
  • Blue skin, lips or nails,
  • Coughing or any other crackling sound while inhaling or exhaling,
  • Grunting, etc.

If you notice any of these symptoms, get your baby to immediate care.


Infant Jaundice

Jaundice occurs when the baby’s blood contains an excess of bilirubin which causes a  yellowish tinge to occur on the baby’s skin particularly foot soles and palms.

Jaundice in infants and babies should always be taken seriously even though most of the cases resolve within a week. Jaundice is a common condition and affects over 50% of the newborns.It becomes even more prevalent in

  • preemie babies,
  • babies who don’t breastfeed properly,
  • when the babies get affected by substances in breastfed milk which interferes with the breakdown of bilirubin,
  • ABO Incompatibility between mother and baby, which is when the baby and the mother have different blood types,
  • Bruising during birth, resulting in RBC’s breaking down faster.

Number one symptom of jaundice is when the baby’s skin turns yellow after the gentle press.

Most cases of Jaundice resolve on their own but some need specific treatments such as phototherapy, intravenous immunoglobulin or exchange transfusion.


Umbilical redness  

Any umbilical redness along with swelling, pus discharge, bad odor or if the redness seems painful to the baby, is a sign of an infection and needs to be consulted with the doctor.

Umbilical cord generally falls off after 1-2 weeks on itself. You don’t have to take any extra care of apart from keeping the area clean and giving baby only sponge baths.  


Red, swollen eyes with drainage

Red, swollen eyes in newborns indicate eye infections and are normal too, which again doesn’t mean that they don’t need medical attention in case this symptom develops. Red, swollen eyes in newborns and babies indicate that they are suffering from blocked tear duct, viral infection, bacterial infections or some sort of allergy.


Less energy

If baby never seems interested or actively responds to noises/light or if you try to talk to him, sleeps for more than 16 hours and looks sluggish after waking up or breastfeeding, this might be a newborn red flag.

Try to clap in front of the baby and rub his foot to see if he fusses/cries or responds by any other gesture. If he does, then he might be okay, if he doesn’t it’s time to see a doctor again.


These are some newborn red flags that should never be ignored. If you have any other suggestions don’t forget to mention them in the Comments section below, we will add them to the list! It will help other Mums and also help make our content better.

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  • Reply Chioma 13/07/2017 at 9:12 pm

    Great tips. I will share this with my readers too.

  • Reply Keisha 13/07/2017 at 9:12 pm

    This article is so helpful. I have two kids of my own and oh what I would do for such a detailed list of things to look for in my newborn. Thanks for the information.

  • Reply Glenna 14/07/2017 at 3:15 am

    Thank you for sharing. I myself am not a mother, but I cannot even imagine how stressful that time is for a new mother!

  • Reply Lila 14/07/2017 at 3:35 am

    So important! There’s a lot in here that I didn’t know, but that I’m really glad to be aware of now. Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply Tara 16/07/2017 at 12:08 am

    I’m not a mother but I cannot imagine the stresses and worries. Very informative post!

  • Reply Urvi gupta 20/07/2017 at 4:05 pm

    Such a delicate and informative post. I am definitely going to keep them in mind and would need it a few years down the line.

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