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Fever: Moms’ Advice

When small babies spike a fever, it’s especially worrisome to parents, who fret about everything from seizures to brain damage.

Fevers aren’t harmful by themselves, but serve as a symptom of underlying illness. The problem with common fevers is they can make babies fussy and uncomfortable.

Moms told WebMD they provide relief with over-the-counter fever reducers, fluids, and by encouraging sleep. Most advise a "when-in-doubt-call-the-doc" strategy.

“Just to put your mind at ease,” advises one mom, “I would call the pediatrician. At least then they will have a record of you calling in and you might get a little more info on what to do.”

Doctor’s Take

For infants with fevers under the age of 3 months, they need to be seen quickly, says Schmitt.

Once your baby is older, he says, read your child, not the thermometer. In other words, your baby’s behavior and other symptoms are more important than the number on the thermometer. If your baby is active and alert and has a fever under 102 degrees, he doesn’t advise bringing it down.

“We have fever phobia,” he says. “Fever is working for us. It’s one of the good guys by helping to kill the infection.” For higher temperatures, he recommends infant fever reducers, never aspirin, to make your baby feel better.

Diarrhea: Moms’ Advice

This may be the one case where it’s OK for your baby to be a BRAT. If you baby has diarrhea, try the BRAT diet, which stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. These foods, one mother says, help bind baby up.

Other moms told WebMD to keep babies hydrated with electrolyte solutions. And steer clear of fruit juice, which can encourage loose stools.

Doctor’s Take

“We want them to flush it all out,” Schechter says. “The main thing we worry about is dehydration, but we don’t give them medicine.”

"If the diarrhea is severe or bloody, you need to take your baby to the doctor to check the stool for infection,” Schechter says. “But if the baby is having loose stool, eating well, has no fever, it can go on for a week before we’d check out.” Don’t forget to add a Y to the BRAT diet -- the Y stands for yogurt. The probiotics in yogurt hasten recovery.

Common Infant Illnesses

Which common illnesses affect your baby's health? Know the facts.
View slideshow