Baby health questions answered

Our family GP soothes your fears about your little one by answering your queries

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Q. My baby has cradle cap – do you know of a good remedy?

A. Cradle cap can be quite upsetting as it produces yellow, greasy scales on your baby’s head, which look horrid. But don’t worry, it won’t harm your baby. Because it doesn’t usually produce any symptoms (e.g. fever, itching), you don’t actually need to do anything and eventually it’ll settle by itself.

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However, if you really can’t stand the look of it, there are ways to speed up how quickly it goes. Massage some olive oil or baby oil into your baby’s scalp at night to soften the scales, then in the morning gently rub or brush your baby’s head to remove any loose scales. Don’t pick off scales that aren’t loose – if the cradle cap is severe or the skin inflamed, speak to your GP.

Will a 1-year-old grow out of a squint by herself?

If your child has a squint after 3 months of age (or if your baby seems to be squinting all the time before 3 months of age), it should be investigated to try to establish the cause. This may be due to problems with your child’s vision or eye muscles. Make an appointment with your GP as treatment is more likely to be successful the sooner you start it.

Q. My doctor says my baby has a clicky hip, what does this mean?

A. This is, as it sounds, when your doctor notices your baby’s hip clicking when he moves it around during developmental checks. The hip joint is a ball and socket, and sometimes the two don’t fit together smoothly. The click comes from the joint dislocating, then going back into position. Clicks can occur in normal hip joints too, so a scan might be done to check if they’re growing properly. If not, a splint can be worn for 12 weeks or so.

Q. My baby has a lump in front of her ear, which the GP has said is an accessory auricle. What is this and can it be removed?

A. This is one of those terms that sounds nasty but is actually fairly common (around two per cent of people are born with one). Also known as a preauricular tag, an accessory auricle is a small lump usually found just in front of the ear, near where the ear meets the head.

They can vary from a small simple skin tag to a larger lump containing cartilage. Your baby may have more than one of them, and they can occur on either or both sides. They actually develop in the womb, as the ear moves to its normal position. Most of the time, the midwife or health visitor will have spotted them at a newborn or six-week check.

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The most common accessory auricles that I see are smaller tags or bumps of skin that can be removed by a surgeon, usually under local anaesthetic, while your child’s very young. The process is fairly painless.

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