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Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond

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When to call your baby's health care provider

Tip

Call your baby's health care provider whenever you have a concern about your baby's health and well-being.

Call 911 or go the nearest hospital Emergency Department if your baby is having an emergency.

Call your baby's health care provider right away if your baby has any of these signs:

  • breathes too fast or too slow (A newborn breathes between 40 and 60 times a minute.)
  • grunts or whistles while breathing
  • has a change in his skin color: blue around the mouth, pale skin or yellow skin that spreads from the head to chest, hands, legs or feet
  • has a temperature of 100.4 F rectally or higher, or if his temperature is lower than 98 F after being warmed for one hour
  • cries nonstop and can't be comforted
  • has a change in his activity level (doesn't wake to feed or is too agitated to sleep)
  • refuses to eat for more than two feedings
  • is throwing up often or with force
  • has more than eight liquid stools a day (formula fed) or 12 liquid stools a day (breastfed)
  • has fewer than four to six wet diapers a day (baby older than 3 days) or if your baby has no stools or pellet-like stools
  • has a new skin rash
  • has a reddened area of skin around the cord or smelly drainage
  • boy has bleeding, swelling or smelly drainage from the penis or circumcision site
  • has a cough or cold that won't go away or is getting worse
  • has yellow or green drainage from his nose
  • has any drainage from his eyes (other than tears)
  • is sleepier than usual.

If you call your baby's health care provider because your baby is ill, be ready to answer questions like these:

  • What is your baby's age and approximate weight?
  • Does your baby have a fever? If yes, what is it?
  • How did you take the temperature?
  • How long has your baby been ill?
  • What are the signs and symptoms?
  • Is there any other important health history?
  • Is your baby allergic to anything?
  • What is your pharmacy phone number?


 

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, sixth edition, preg-ahc-90026, ISBN 1-931876-25-8

First published: 10/04/2002
Last updated: 01/23/2013

Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts