Newborn behavior: is it normal for my baby to...

Confused about your newborn’s behavior & funny little quirks? Here’s what NOT to worry about – from our team of parenting experts

…snore like a bear?

It’s amazing the big sounds someone so small can emit – and not just from their bottoms. Yep, you may also be woken by snores from the Moses basket. “Babies are noisy breathers and it’s normal for them to snuffle and even snore when they sleep,” says Boots Parenting Club health visitor Angela Davy. “Some parents find this a comforting sign that their baby is sleeping soundly.” However, do talk to your GP if the snoring is especially loud, or accompanied by breath-holding.

…shed dandruff?

A flaky scalp – or cradle cap – is quite common in the first three months. “The glands beneath your baby’s skin produce an oily substance that can dry up,” says Angela. “To help prevent scaly build-up, massage baby oil into the scalp to soften the scales before using a mild shampoo and gently brushing. Don’t pick the crusts, as this can cause bald spots and infection.” 

…be sick with a cold?

“Vomiting with a cold is really quite common in young babies,” says Angela. “Until children are in their pre-school years, it can be very difficult for them to blow their noses. So, when babies are bunged up, mucus in their nasal passages either flows out of their nose or down the back of their throat into their food pipe. This irritates the stomach, which rejects it, so they vomit.” You should always visit your GP if the vomiting persists, or if they are showing other symptoms such as a rash or fever. 

…hiccup all day?

Along with gurgling and drooling, hiccupping is something babies do. It may be cute, but what if it’s after every feed? “Some babies do it more than others and it’s nothing to worry about if they’re feeding and settling well,” says Parenting Club breastfeeding expert Clare Byam-Cook. “See your GP if they’re posseting up a lot of milk with the hiccups or becoming unsettled, as it can be an early sign of reflux.”

…feed from only one breast?

Preferring to feed from only one breast is common when one produces more milk or flows faster. “This is not a problem providing feeds don’t take too long and your baby is gaining enough weight,” says Clare, “but it’s always worth offering the least popular breast first to encourage your baby to help stimulate milk production before transferring to their favorite breast.”

…be teething already?

“The time we get teeth is genetic –some babies are even born with them,” says Boots Parenting Club GP Dr Ellie Cannon. “Teething gels, paracetamol and ibuprofen are only used after three months, but you can soothe your baby’s gums with non-medical options like a cold teething ring.” While you might experience the odd bite – ouch! – during breastfeeding, Dr Cannon assures that babies usually stop after testing the sensation. “Teething lasts up to two years, but it comes in waves, so your little one is never bothered for long.”

 …fall asleep during every feed?

Just as we might fancy a doze after a big Sunday lunch, milk can knock a baby out. “Breastfeeding is hard work for babies – the effort of sucking is tiring and combined with the feel-good hormones they’re getting from the milk and skin-to-skin contact, it’s not surprising they often nod off,” says Dr Cannon. “Some babies will suck deeply during a nap, but if you’re concerned your baby isn’t getting enough milk then wake them up by stroking their cheek or tickling their toes.” You could also try stripping them down to a vest before feeding. “Cool temperatures can help keep your baby awake.”

…pass bright yellow poo?

You’re not the only mother to leap in shock after opening a nappy and being confronted with a brightly colored poo. “All breastfed babies in the first three months will have yellow poo, which comes from the fat-digesting bile and bacteria in their intestine,” says Angela. The main colors to worry about (once they’ve stopped passing meconium) are black or red, which could imply the presence of blood in the bowels.  

…be cross-eyed?

“Babies can often look cross-eyed, as they have a much greater proportion of eyelid to eyeball, so you don’t see their full iris,” explains Dr Cannon. “However, if you have a family history of a squint, or your baby looks consistently cross-eyed after three months, talk to your GP.” You may get referred to an ophthalmologist, but don’t worry because, she says, vision issues can often be corrected early. 

…sleep through the night?

“There’s as much luck as parenting!” laughs Dr Cannon. “When it comes to sleep, much of it is down to your baby’s size – larger babies have bigger stomachs, so can go longer between feeds – and how naturally calm they are.” If you’re one of the lucky few, be mindful that your baby should still be napping two to four hours a day, be hungry for feeds and growing steadily. “If you have concerns about their growth, talk to your health visitor,” she advises.