It doesn’t take the consultations of psychics to know your baby is sick. Either the child herself will notify you with her cries and whimpers, or you’ll notice when your lips press against a red hot forehead. But when is a baby being sick just normal infant illness and when is it something that needs immediate medical attention?
The fever is probably going to be the first sick symptom you ever notice in your child. But a fever, while indicative of some sort of infection, is not itself cause for alarm. Babies will inevitably get a cold or the flu and will inevitably get over it as well. With that said, it’s important to pay attention to the rectal temperature of your infant relative to age. Babies under three months old should receive medical attention if their temperature rises above 100.3F. Babies older than three months can generally experience fevers up to 101F without the need for a doctor.
No soon-to-be parent likes to hear this, but diarrhea is a fact of life when it comes to babies. The runs in and of themselves aren’t anything to worry about. But if there’s rapid daily deployment of diarrhea for several days in a row, or if there’s signs of blood in your baby’s stool, then medical attention must be sought.
Vomiting is very different from the common baby practice of spitting up food, which is normal. While hacking up recently swallowed peas is normal, high volumes of vomit, especially when the food particles exhibit signs of digestion, is a sign of a serious problem. The occasional extreme vomit is nothing to worry about, but repeated vomiting most definitely demands the attention of a doctor.
Rashes, redness, or bleeding of the skin requires an immediate examination of all products, surfaces, and clothing that have come into recent contact with your infant. Until you can have a doctor see these things to determine if there was a bad allergic reaction, keep them away from your child. However, keep in mind that diaper rash is not something to worry about unless there is clear indication that the state of the baby’s skin is getting worse.
Always make sure your sick baby is properly hydrated. Fevers, diarrhea, and vomiting can all lead to a severe lack of liquids within your infant’s small body. Since she’s too young to ask for a glass of water, you have to always make sure your infant gets her fluids.
A sick baby is nothing to be afraid of. In fact, you should be concerned if your baby is not getting sick; otherwise she isn’t letting her immune system get some practice. Visit the doctor when signs and symptoms take a turn for the worse, but otherwise just try and make your sick baby as comfortable as possible. You know, natural parenting.