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Caring for Your Newborn: When to Call the Doctor
First Things First
- The name of your newborn’s doctor and the phone number
- The doctor’s office hours and on-call hours
- Instructions as to what to do during after-hours
- Location of the hospital that the doctor is affiliated with
- The name, phone number, and location of the pharmacy that you use
- What are your newborn’s symptoms?
- What is his temperature? (Note: Rectal thermometers are typically used with newborns.)
- How many bowel movements has he had? Does he have loose stools? How many wet diapers has he had?
- What vaccines has your newborn had? Are they up-to-date?
- Does he have any allergies or conditions?
- Does your newborn take any medicine? If so, what kind of medicine and what is the dose?
- Has a cough
- Has any eye problems, such as mucus or redness
- Has a runny nose, which can make it difficult to breath, even after using a rubber bulb aspirator
- Yellowish skin or eyes, without any other concerning symptoms
- Is vomiting
- Is eating less than usual or is having problems with breastfeeding, such as difficulty latching onto the nipple
- Is not having regular bowel movements
- Has stools that are looser than normal
- Is crying more than usual and is unable to be consoled
- Has problems sleeping
- Has blood or pus around the navel, or if circumcised, around the penis
- Has a rash
- Has ear drainage
- Is not responding to sounds
- Rectal temperature above 100.4°F (38°C)
- Rectal temperature below 97.8°F (36.5°C)
- Any breathing problems, like difficulty breathing or fast breathing
- Other signs of not getting enough oxygen, like blue lips, nose, or fingernails
- Extreme tiredness or drowsiness, difficulty awakening
- Is limp
- Signs of dehydration, such as wetting less than six diapers in 24 hours, sunken eyes, sunken soft spot, no tears when crying
- Soft spot on the top of the head looks swollen
- Bloody urine, stool, or vomit
- Injury to any part of the body, especially the head
American Heart Association http://www.heart.org
American Red Cross http://www.redcross.org
Canadian Cardiovascular Society http://www.ccs.ca
Canadian Red Cross http://www.redcross.ca
Medical care and your newborn. Kids Health website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/growth/medical/mednewborn.html. Updated February 2012. Accessed June 21, 2013.
Newborn appearance. Doernbecher Children’s Hospital website. Available at: http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/health/services/doernbecher/patients-families/health-information/md4kids/symptom-index/newborn-appearance.cfm?WT%5Frank=3. Updated November 14, 2011. Accessed June 21, 2013.
Newborn baby: when to call the doctor. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/healthy%5Fliving/infant%5Fcare/hic%5Fnewborn%5Fbaby%5Fwhen%5Fto%5Fcall%5Fthe%5Fdoctor.aspx. Updated September 24, 2010. Accessed June 21, 2013.
Tips for talking to your doctor. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/healthcare-management/working-with-your-doctor/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor.html. Updated November 2010. Accessed June 21, 2013.
When to call your baby’s provider. March of Dimes website. Available at: http://www.marchofdimes.com/baby/when-to-call-your-babys-provider.aspx. Updated June 2011. Accessed June 21, 2013.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 06/2013
- Update Date: 00/62/2013