How to Tell if Your Infant is Ill

Newborn / Baby Care & Feeding

Guiding new parents through baby’s first year and beyond is a top priority at Advanced Pediatrics. The following newborn and baby care articles have been written by Advanced Pediatric Associates and Pediatric Web. Should you have any questions regarding the following care recommendations, please call our Nurse Line at 303-699-6200, Option 2.

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How to Tell if Your Infant is Ill

Your infant’s behavior is the best way to tell when he or she is ill. If you suspect your infant is ill, please call our Patient Care Line at 303-699-6200. The following behaviors are good indicators of illness in infants:

Poor Feeding

Occasionally your baby may not want to eat as soon as you expect, but a baby who completely refuses to eat over a period of 6 to 8 hours is concerning. Poor feeding can also mean a decreased interest or sluggish sucking at times when a baby should be hungry. If poor feeding persists for two or more feedings, please call our office.

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Droopiness

Droopiness frequently accompanies poor feeding, but can occur by itself. Instead of being active or alert, a baby may seem less strong and vigorous. If limpness or lack of alertness occurs over several hours, please call our office.

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Jaundice

Although many babies get a slight yellowish tinge to the skin, this ordinarily disappears in the first week of life. Assess the true color of your baby’s skin by pressing gently on baby’s chest or back. While the blood is blanched out, note the color of the skin. A truly jaundiced baby will have a noticeable yellow hue. Yellowness in the eyes is not a good indicator of the degree of jaundice. If you are concerned about your baby’s color, please call our office. Sometimes babies will need to be seen in our office several times within first few weeks until jaundice has cleared.

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Irritability

Babies often have a certain time of day when they are fussier (usually in the evening). It is unusual for a newborn baby to cry continuously for several hours without stopping. Even though fussy, most babies can be temporarily calmed. True irritability occurs when a baby cannot be consoled by rocking or holding, or is fussy with any movement. If your baby is irritable, please call our office.

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Pimples and Pustules

Your baby may have pimples on his or her face, neck and shoulders during the first weeks of life. Pimples or blisters in the diaper area, near the base of the umbilical cord, or on arms or legs are not normal. True pimples and pustules are different from erythema toxicum, a normal newborn rash that looks like flea bites and comes and goes. If you see pimples and pustules, please call our  office.

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Fever

If your baby feels hot and is not overdressed, check his or her temperature rectally. If the temperature is over 100 degrees (or less than 97.5  degrees), please call our office. Tell  the person you talk to the temperature you measured and how you took that  temperature. For information on how to take your baby's temperature, click here.

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Respiratory Distress

Babies often sneeze, cough or sound congested. Using saline drops, a nasal bulb syringe, and a cool mist humidifier can help. Please call our office immediately if your newborn shows ANY of the following: persistent coughing, rapid breathing, retractions (sucking in the muscles between the ribs with each breath), flaring of the nostrils, grunting while breathing, or blue skin  coloring.

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Vomiting or Diarrhea

True vomiting is different than “spitting up.” A baby who is vomiting appears uncomfortable; the vomiting is forceful and may contain bile (green color). A diarrhea stool appears to be mostly fluid that soaks into the diaper. If you are concerned that your baby is vomiting or has diarrhea, please call our office.

 

Written by Advanced Pediatric Associates

Reviewed July 2015

 

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Article provided by
Advanced Pediatric Associates

Disclaimer:  If you are not a patient of Advanced Pediatric Associates, we recommend that you consult with your own physician regarding health concerns. This information is provided as a guide to our patients, but in no way replaces the advice given by our staff. Occasionally, advice given by our providers or nurse line may vary slightly from that offered by Pediatric Web and its contributors. If you are unsure of any issue regarding your child's health, please call our Patient Care Line at (303) 699-6200. 

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