When to call your baby's health care provider

Call your baby's health care provider if your baby:

  • 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 three 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?
  • 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? If yes, what?
  • What is your pharmacy phone number?

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, seventh edition, ob-ah-90026
First Published: 10/04/2002
Last Reviewed: 12/02/2015

  • Call your baby's health care provider if 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.