When to call the doctor
Even experienced parents might have an “Is this normal?” adjustment period to their new baby, and question whether or not something needs medical attention or will clear up in a day or so.
If you see any of the following, give your doctor a call:
- Blue lips. Call 111 immediately
- Blue, yellow or pale skin
- Yellow eyes
- Patches of white in the baby’s mouth (most likely a contagious fungal infection called thrush)
- Redness, pus, or an odour around her umbilical cord stump
- A temperature of more than 37.5ºC. (Keep in mind that our bodies naturally have higher temperatures in the late evening and night)
- No stool for 48 hours
- Any sign of dehydration, including fewer than six wet nappies a day; dark, concentrated, strong-smelling urine; dry lips; unusual lethargy; sunken eyes and cold, splotch hands and feet (which warrants an immediate trip to casualty)
- Frequent bowel movements, especially with liquid or mucus
- Bloody stools
- Repeated vomiting
- Vomit containing green bile, which could indicate an intestinal blockage
- Several refusals to feed in a row
- Excessive sleepiness or any other drastic behavioural change.
- Any sign that your baby is wheezing or gasping for breath.
- If your baby is distressed and pulling at her ears
Rashes should always be checked out (unless it’s nappy rash and, even then, if it’s severe). Rashes such as Parvovirus B19 (Fifth Disease) can be passed from mother to unborn baby – this is not particularly serious for the baby, but can cause miscarriage in other pregnant women who may be exposed to the baby.
Other rashes, such as meningitis, can have fatal consequences so it’s best to play it safe - If you’re worried and it’s the middle of the night, a service such as Healthline might be able to help you decide if a trip to Hospital is necessary, or give you advice on what to do at home. Healthline is designed to offer 24-hour access to trained medical assistance. Call 0800 611 116.
This article was written for Kidspot, New Zealand's leading pregnancy and parenting resource from sources including NSW Health, Health Direct Australia.