Saturday, February 5, 2011

Photographic Potpourri

I have not posted here is quite some time. This is the busy season in pediatrics and my hours are longer, stress is up, and I am pretty worn out at the end of the day. In addition, my family welcomed our third child, Aaron, in January. He is a healthy boy who weighed 6 lbs and 15 ounces.

Because I know you are wondering, yes, he spits up, he is gassy, he cries a lot, and he poops and pees out of his diaper. He always wants to be held and does not like his bassinet. The first few days of breast feeding were stressful for everyone (surprise, surprise). All in all, Aaron is a perfect, normal baby boy.

I figure I should take this opportunity to document some normal baby findings for the anxious-Internet-parenting-world and to give Aaron ammunition to use against me when he is older. I can hear it now: "Dad, I can't believe you put all those embarrassing pictures of me on the Internet." Hopefully, seeing some of this pictures will help parents know what is normal.

Erythema Toxicum:
This is a normal newborn rash that usually shows up when the infant is a few days old. It looks like little flea bites. It is not dangerous or anything to worry about. It goes away after a week or so. We do not know what causes it.

Jaundice and Erythema Toxicum:
You can see some more Erythema Toxicum on his abdomen in this picture. You can also see the yellow tint to his skin. This is jaundice. Jaundice is not uncommon in infants, but it can be dangerous if the bilirubin level (the chemical that causes jaundice) gets too high. It is pretty much standard of care for all infants to be screened for jaundice prior to leaving the hospital and then to have a follow up appointment a few days after leaving the hospital. If you are given an appointment to go see your pediatrician 2 weeks after leaving the hospital, you should question this. Because of this close monitoring, it is uncommon to have jaundice reach a level that can cause problems.

Bilirubin Blanket
When a baby gets jaundice that requires treatment there are two options: 1) a bilirubin blanket to use at home, 2) admission to the hospital for more intensive therapy. Certain wavelengths of light convert bilirubin to a molecule that can be more easily excreted, thus, improving the jaundice. Sunlight can help, but is not strong enough if the jaundice is considered significantly elevated. Regular house lights do not work. In this picture you can see Aaron on a bilirubin blanket. The "blanket" is up against his skin under his clothes. We used this for a few days and his jaundice improved.

Peeling Skin
Baby's skin often becomes very dry and peels after birth. This comes from living in water for 9 months. You do not need to do anything for this. It gets better after a few weeks. Parents often want to put lotion on the baby, but I am a believer that the less that parents put on a baby's skin the better. One exception to this is at the ankles and wrists. Occasionally if will get so dry that the skin will actually crack open. When this happens I recommend putting Vaseline petroleum jelly at that location.

More pictures to come in future posts....


  1. Excellent! and thanks for using your own baby as a reference- some moms out there may not be willing have their baby's "problems" documented for internet use.
    I have a handout with these conditions, but no pictures (makes it hard to support the point I'm making). Thanks again!

  2. As a Family Medicine resident in training, I appreciate your common sense approach! I have read all of your posts and I have learned a great deal from each one. Keep up the good work and I look forward to reading more pediatric teaching pearls!

  3. Thanks guys! It is great to hear that my ramblings can be of benefit to others.