Newborns Common Problems

Certain newborn problems are unavoidable, yet common and treatable. While any baby is at risk of developing a common newborn problem, premature babies have an elevated risk.

Common newborn problems are usually not serious or permanent. New parents should anticipate that their babies, at some point in their early lives, will experience minor health issues. As a result, being informed about the severity, types and treatments of common newborn problems is the best way to keep your baby healthy. Common newborn problems to research and be aware of include:

  • colic
  • constipation
  • diaper rash
  • dry skin
  • jaundice
  • spitting up
  • stuffy nose/sneezing
  • teething
  • thrush
  • upper respiratory infections
  • watery eyes.

During pregnancy, your doctor will likely talk to you about health issues to expect with your newborn. He should explain that they are not cause for alarm and cannot always be prevented. If you are still concerned, talk to your doctor about and the procedure to follow should any of them develop.

In this section, we’ll cover all aspects of common newborn problems. We’ll discuss associated symptoms, causes, risk factors and treatment options for different types of newborn health issues.

Diaper Rash

Red, dry skin, also known as diaper rash, is a common newborn problem. Diaper rash can usually be cleared up in a few days with the application of a cream or powder.

Future outbreaks of diaper rash can be prevented in most cases with the use of powder, cream and frequent diaper changing. Letting your baby roam diaper-free for a few hours a day is another way to prevent excess moisture from causing diaper rash.

If diaper rash does not clear up or if symptoms worsen, see your baby’s doctor. This may indicate the presence of a bacterial infection, which requires antibiotics for treatment.

Babies who wear both cloth and disposable diapers can be at risk for diaper rash.


Another common newborn problem is colic. While all babies cry, colic is more than just crying. Colic symptoms include inconsolable crying for long periods of time.

Generally, babies who have colic will cry for longer than three hours at a time for at least three days a week at the same time of day. While not much can be done for colic, the condition is temporary.

In most cases, colic will lessen and disappear as a baby gets a little older and starts sleeping for longer periods of time. Usually the condition will disappear completely by the time a baby reaches the age of three months. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have about your baby and colic.


While not a common problem for newborns, teething is a common problem for all babies four to seven months of age. Because the associated pain and crying, teething can be a difficult time for both babies and parents.

Teething babies will experience:

  • drooling
  • gum sensitivity
  • irritability
  • pain
  • sleep problems
  • swelling of the face and mouth.

These and other problems can make it difficult for parents to console their teething babies.

In addition, other symptoms that may occur along with teething (but have yet to be proven related to this common newborn problem) can include:

  • diarrhea
  • earache
  • fever
  • vomiting.

See a doctor if these symptoms occur during teething.


Jaundice is a condition in which a baby’s skin and the whites of a baby’s eyes turn yellow. This yellowing results from an excess of bilirubin, a yellow pigment in the blood usually regulated by the liver.

While jaundice is usually not problematic, a doctor may test a baby’s blood to see how much bilirubin is actually present in the blood. Exposure to ultraviolet lights can be included in treatment for jaundice.

Resources (2008). Common Newborn Problems. Retrieved February 6, 2008, from the Web site. Kids’ Health (2008). You’re your Baby is Born with a Health Problem. Retrieved February 6, 2008, from the Kids’ Health Web site.