Parenting

Baby's First Fever: Don't Panic

Michele Zipp
10

man kissing babyIn the land of new motherhood, we tend to panic when the "firsts" happen. Well, at least I do a little panic dance, then snap to reality and go into solving mode. I remember the first weeks after we brought our preemie twins home, there were several times we thought maybe one of them had a fever. The thermometer got a lot of use then. Each time their temperature was normal. Except for this one time.

Hunter felt very warm, but everything else seemed fine with him. His temperature was exactly at the point where anything over it was cause for concern. Which made us take his temperature every 1/2 hour. It turned out that the next reading was lower and the next one, taken just 15 minutes after that, showed it remained in normal range. Phew.

Here are some suggestions on keeping your cool when your baby feels hot.

1. Stay calm. And keep baby calm.

2. Take baby's temperature, but don't accept the first reading. Wait 15 minutes, then take the temperature again. The general rule is that if baby's temperature is over 100.4 for those under 3 months, 101 or over for over 3 months, or 103 or over for those over 6 months, then it's time to call the doctor.

3. Check for any other signs that your baby isn't feeling well. If there is any unusual behavior paired with a slight rise in temperature, it's time to call the doctor then as well.

4. Consult another family member to help you stay calm and to decide if there is a fever and what next steps you should be taking.

5. Remember that if the baby was lying on you, skin-to-skin, chances are the baby is hotter from the contact.

6. Call the doctor if anything out of the norm is concerning you.

7. Avoid over-googling "baby fever" on the Internet. It's great to look up basic information, but if you delve too far and end up reading horror stories about fevers in babies, your attention will be too much on what is coming up in the search and not enough on your baby. 

8. Baby is hottest in the middle of the day and at night, so if you notice a slight temperature rise from morning, keep an eye on it, but don't get overly concerned.

9. If you suspect a fever or high temperature, keep baby from being dehydrated by nursing baby more or feeding him more formula.

10. Try a bath with lukewarm water.

11. Fever-reducing medicine can be given, but if you are at all worried, consult with your doctor first, especially in babies under 3 months.

12. Did I mention staying calm?

What did you do when your baby got his first fever?

 

*This is general mom advice, so if I didn't stress it enough, call your doctor if you suspect your baby is sick.

 

Image via JSVDP/CafeMom

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