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News from Baby Medical Q&A, Issue #067
April 01, 2012

New Questions and Answers

Question: My 6 month old son was born at 9lbs 11oz (4.4kg), was 21.4in (54.5cm) in height and his head circumference measured 14.6in (37cm). At 6 months, he now weighs 21.7lbs (9.76kg), is 27.5in (72.5cm) in height, and his head circumference measures 47.25 cm. Our concern is the rapid head circumference growth.

We were told that rapid head growth can be an early indication of autism. It could also mean hydrocephalus. We were recommended to have our child get a sonogram of his head. My question is his HC growth spurt a serious concern?

Answer:At birth your son's head was on the 75th centile for age and now it is above the 95th centile so that is why is it causing concern. 5% of the normal population have a head circumference above the 95th centile so it isn't the size that is the worry, more the rate of growth.

It maybe that your son has been finding his normal growth centile for his head and now will just grow along that - no worries if that is the case. If you and/or his mother have a large head, it is likely he will also have one.

If the rate of growth continues at an accerated rate, though, it may be due to hydrocephalus - extra fluid in the ventricles of the brain (also sometimes referred to as "water on the brain"). If your baby did have hydrocephalus. I would expect other signs of increased pressure in the brain - I would expect some slowing of development, prominent scalp veins and you would be able to see the whites above the eyes all the time. A sonogram is a simple way to determine if there is hydrocephalus.

If your baby is developing normally and there are no other signs, you could wait a month or two and remeasure the head and check that it hasn't gone way above the 95th centile.

I don't think you have to worry about autism at this stage. The treatable cause of a rapidly growing head is hydrocephalus and that is the one I would be concerned about, but as I said, if your baby has no other signs, wait and check the head circumference again in a month or two. Plot it on a growth chart and see the rapid growth has settled or continues - if it continues, get a sonagram. Click here for a growth chart with head circumference.

Question: I would like to know what causes a fluid (light red) to come out of breast of my 2 week old baby girl. The fluid is a light red blood like and we just observed its stain on the clothes in the positions of her breasts.

Answer:Babies can have breast development and sometimes discharge as a result of maternal estrogen that crosses the placenta before birth. This is a benign condition and there is no treatment - it will resolve by itself. Even if the breasts do not seem full, the discharge is still as a result of the maternal antibodies.

Click here for more information.

Question: My son is 20 months and his lips turn blue 3-4 time a day

Answer: Blue lips can mean low oxygen in the blood. You need to see your doctor and have your son checked out - particularly his heart and lungs. If his oxygen level is normal when the lips appear blue, then you don't have to worry so much, but this needs to be confirmed.

Question:My 5 week old baby always seems to have a lot of wind and when she feeds, seems to be having difficulty drinking her bottles because of this. What can I do?

Answer:Check out the burping page - click here.

Your baby is in the period of PURPLE crying which is the time babies are all naturally more distressed. Read more.

News and Updates

Television and Other Media should be avoided in those under 2 years
Recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics reaffirm the recommendations advising avoidance of television and media use in infants less than 2 years and if used use should be restricted to less than 2 hours per day. Parents are encouraged to let their child play in an unstructured and "unplugged" manner.
Reference:Media Use by Children Younger Than 2 Years, Council on Communications and Media. Pediatrics 2011;128;1040; originally published online October 17, 2011; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2011-1753

Have you seen this website?

Loving Arms Doula Service - this is a great service for new mothers, especially if you don't have extended family close by to help you cope with a newborn baby

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