Knowing When to Contact Your Baby’s Doctor

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How is a parent to know the right time to call their pediatrician for their baby?  The infant is unable to tell the parent what is wrong, whether it is nothing more than a runny nose or if it is something more serious. On one hand, the parents do not want to bother their pediatrician if it turns out to be nothing more than a gas bubble in their bellies.  But they also do not want to ignore something like an infant’s sudden lack of appetite if this is the precursor to something more serious. Being the parent of a seemingly sick infant can often be an anxious experience.

The first thing all new parents need to realize is that babies get sick, just like children of any age. A sick baby does not mean you are a bad parent. In fact, getting a small cold once in a while helps your baby’s developing immune system become stronger. But any cold or sickness can develop into a difficult situation if not kept under control.

When your baby sickens, try to maintain a normal feeding schedule. There is no problem with breast feeding your sick baby. In fact, breast feeding frequently might help your baby get better faster. If you baby is older and is no longer nursing, consider increasing her fluid intake, encouraging your baby to drink water and pure fruit juices.

This goes without saying, but if your child requires emergency care, you should call your doctor or 911 immediately.  If your child has uncontrollable bleeding or gets a deep cut, do not try to take care of the situation by yourself.  If your child has accidentally ingested any type of poisoning, call your doctor or 911 immediately.  Seizures and unresponsiveness are also reasons to get urgent help for your child.

A fever is often the first sign you receive when your baby is sick. If the fever is above 102 in a baby, you should call the doctor. A higher fever does not mean your baby is necessarily dangerously sick, but your baby’s doctor should know, so that he can advise you on treatment. Another indication that your baby needs to be seen is a sudden, drastic change in appetite. A good rule of thumb is if your baby skips two meals in a row, they need to go to the pediatrician. 

Assessing your baby’s mood is another way to determine if they are sick enough to go to the doctor. Of course, a sick baby is not going to be her normal joyful self, but if your baby becomes completely inconsolable, call the doctor. When a baby crys for more than three hours that is a good sign that there is something more serious that is wrong. 

Diarrhea that lasts for six or more diapers in a row is a sign of illness, and can lead to dehydration. The same goes for vomiting. It is important to know the difference between vomiting and spitting up. Most babies will spit up, and sometimes they spit up quite a lot of substance, but vomit will be forceful and projectile. As with diarrhea, excessive vomiting can lead to dehydration.

Sometimes, a parent’s intuition is right.  A simple phone call to your pediatrician over something that you feel may be abnormal with your infant is not a bad idea.  Pediatricians are accustomed to dealing with new parents.  It is always better to err on the side of precaution and safety rather than let something more serious happen because you were afraid to make a simple phone call.  A good parent is one who always keeps their child’s health in mind above all else.

To learn more click here Childhood Obesity Concerns with more helpful material at Child Obesity Genetics also head on over to Teach Children About Obesity

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