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Newborn Care: Illness

 When to Call Us
A newborn’s immune system is not as mature as an older baby’s and it is necessary to observe your baby for signs of illness. For infants younger than 3 months, lack of interest in feeding, needing to be awakened for every feeding and a fever higher than 100.4°F (taken rectally) are all signs of possible illness. Persistent irritability or listlessness, vomiting, or diarrhea are reasons to call us. Young babies should be seen whenever illness is suspected.

No medications or home remedies should be given until you speak with us.

In the early weeks, limit the number of visitors and relatives who want to hold and kiss your baby’s face and hands. In the first 2 months of your baby's life, limit their contact with the outside world and have visitors wash their hands before touching your infant.

 

 Taking Temperatures
The most accurate way to take an infant’s temperature is rectally. A digital rectal thermometer (rectal has a round ball on the end) is recommended. Digital thermometers are inexpensive, safe, and easy to read and use.

To take a rectal temperature, place your infant/child down on a flat surface or your lap. Lubricate the thermometer with Vaseline®. Carefully insert the bulb into the rectum for approximately 1/2 inch, but never force it. Hold your child still and press the buttocks together to stabilize the thermometer. Wait for the beep and then remove.

When reporting a temperature to our office, always tell us what the thermometer reads and how you took the temperature.

 

 What is a Fever?
Fever is defined as a body temperature over
  • 100.4°F or 38°C taken rectally
  • 99°F or 37.2°C taken under the arm
    Note: Temperature taken under the arm is less than 50% accurate.
    If the temperature is 99
    °F or higher with this method, retake the temperature rectally.

 

Updated February 2016


Caring For Your Newborn
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