Paediatrician and Baby Channel Medical expert Su Laurent discusses some common baby problems.
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Sam Norman: Well, babies are much tougher, the most people think they still get it like everybody else. The only problem is that, we can’t always tell what’s wrong with them. Doctor Su Laurent is a Consultant Paediatrician at Barnet & Chase Farm Hospitals, and also the Baby Channels Medical Advisor. She is here to talk about common baby problems and conditions. Su, I was wondering, was it a comfort to you to the fact that you were a Paediatrician when you’re having your own babies? Su Laurent: I think it was extremely comforting to know that babies have lots of little tiny problems and that in fact most of them are going to think things that really do matter, and the things that are going to get better by themselves. Sam Norman: A negligible? Su Laurent: Negligible. I think that for first time parents, I really recognize how anxious they feel about little things. They often ask me about little things that actually I can quickly dismiss as being quite normal. Sam Norman: Were you very anxious for your first baby about little things, I mean-- Su Laurent: I don’t think I was, I think I was probably slightly too laid back in many ways. I remember my mother-in-law came to stay with me when I was living in America at the time and she was anxious about absolutely everything and I kept having to say, don’t worry, don’t forget that I am the paediatrician. This is normal. Sam Norman: Now, people, I mean people -- I used to worry horribly with my first child and I think probably caused it too much in a way. But I mean sort of spots and rashes and stuff? Su Laurent: I would say that every baby will get some sort of spots or some sort of rashes and there are a few that are very common. In the first few days, there is something, which sounds rather, which is a blanching red rash, which lots of babies get. Sam Norman: Yeah. Su Laurent: And it’s quite interesting because if you look at the spots and you would draw a little circle around the spot, and then come back a few hours later, you will find that, that spot had gone but another one had appeared somewhere else. They can be quite significant with the spot, but actually the babies finding themselves, there is nothing to worry about and that disappears in a few days. Sam Norman: So, you don’t need to bother a doctor? Su Laurent: You don’t have to. We often get always to have a look at this, on the neo-natal unit or on the postnatal, we often get to have a look and you can quickly dismiss that as being something quite normal. Sam Norman: Because the natural reaction is, I mean as soon as your baby gets a spot or rashes, it sort of meningitis kind of looks, isn’t it? Looms out everybody. Su Laurent: Exactly. Sam Norman: So, I mean how can you sort of rationalize? What’s the differential diagnosis? Su Laurent: Well, I would say, I mean there are all sorts of baby spots, which are very common, which are then sort of milk spots, they get that in their face, and they can get spots that even look a bit like acne as well, some people call it neo-natal acne, they are all normal. The sort of spots you need to be worried about are the sort of spots which maybe associated with the baby being irritable or unwell or having an abnormal cry, something which makes you think that this baby is not right, they’re not feeding properly, but the majority of normal baby spots are just a face that they’re going to go through. Sam Norman: Again, I suppose it comes down to instinct, doesn’t it? I mean with a first baby you’re not really aware of how they ought to behave or what’s normal and what isn’t, but presumably mothers do have a pretty good instinct about -- Su Laurent: I am always reassuring mothers that with motherhood comes a mothering instinct, and in fact I’m always teaching junior doctors, it’s very important to listen to mothers because they will understand their babies more than anybody else. Sam Norman: Yes, it’s almost a nature, isn’t it? Su Laurent: It is. I think and just I would say to mothers, t