Sick Baby: When You Should Call the Pediatrician

Month 2, Week 3

Many new parents are anxious about what to do if their young baby becomes sick. What's just a normal cough or sneeze, and what's more serious and requires a doctor's attention?

Of course, you should not hesitate to call your doctor when you're concerned. And definitely call the doctor if:

  • Your under-3-month-old develops a fever with a rectal temperature of 100.4 or higher. This is a must.
  • Your baby is crying inconsolably for a long period and nothing can calm him.
  • Your baby's breathing is fast (more than 60 breaths per minute), he grunts while breathing or is otherwise working hard to breathe, and his chest is pulling or sinking in.
  • His skin has a bluish or yellowish tinge or a new rash that spreads and does not go white when pressed.
  • He seems sluggish and hard to wake up. Most young babies spend a lot of time sleeping, but your baby should wake up every few hours, eat well, and be alert for a bit.
  • He is not interested in feeding
  • He is having wet diapers less frequently; dehydration should be a concern if there are no tears with his crying and his tongue and lips are dry.

Your Baby's Development This Week

Your little one is becoming less and less of a newborn and more and more of an interactive little baby! He's smiling more and more now and taking more interest in the world around him. Here are some things your baby is doing these days:

  • Cooing -- one of the most delightful sounds in the world!
  • Smiling more regularly and in response to your smiles
  • Developing better control of his eye muscles so that he can start tracking objects, like his mobile or other toys you show him
  • Recognizing familiar objects and people at a distance

You might wonder about:

  • Why your baby doesn't always meet your eyes when he smiles. Don't worry, this is normal. He's taking in the whole picture -- your expression, your voice, your body. He'll start holding your gaze for longer and longer periods as he grows.
  • Shouldn't he be laughing yet? Not necessarily. Most babies start to squeal and laugh somewhere between 3 and 4 months of age. But he should definitely be smiling back at you.
  • The right carrier for your baby. There are many slings, front carriers, and other ways to wear your baby when you go out and about (or around the house). Until your baby has good neck control, though, you'll need to make sure that your carrier provides proper support. In general, your baby should be inward facing until good head control is achieved (around 4 months of age).


Month 2, Week 3 Tips

  • The fontanel (the soft spot on your baby's head) may seem to be pulsing sometimes. Don't worry -- this is just the normal pulsing of blood with your baby's heartbeat.
  • If your baby was born with a lot of hair, some of it may be disappearing by now. You can expect it to thin out more and possibly change color over the next few months.
  • Cradle cap -- scaliness and redness on the scalp -- is common in newborns. It will go away on its own. You can help it along with frequent shampooing using a mild baby shampoo.
  • You watch out for your baby's safety at bath time, but don't forget your own. Bend at your knees and hips to lift baby out of the infant tub and avoid back injury.
  • Too soon for another baby? Exclusively breastfeeding with no more than four hours between each feedingduring the day and six hours between night feedings is a reliable form of contraception for the first six months if you haven't started menstruating yet. However, 2 in 100 women still get pregnant using this method, so talk to your doctor if you are concerned about another pregnancy.
  • Your baby will be going through a growth spurt now, so he may want more to eat. Feel free to let him, but burp him often so he doesn't get uncomfortable or spit up too much.
  • Offering a pacifier when your baby goes to sleep may reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Always put the baby to sleep on his back.
  • Your baby may start sleeping longer at night. Stretches up to 6 hours are normal. There's no need to wake him up to be fed.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on March 20, 2020



American Academy of Pediatrics: "Hearing and Making Sounds."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Emotional and Social Development: Birth to 3 Months."

Nationwide Children's Hospital: "Infant Development."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Developmental Milestones: 3 months." "Learning, Play, and Your 1- to 3-Month-Old."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Heading Out with Baby."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "When to Call the Pediatrician."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Common Conditions in Newborns."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Your Baby's Head."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Cradle Cap."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Nail Care: Fingers and Toes."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Ready, Set, Bath!"

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Breastfeeding as a Form of Contraception."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Pacifiers: Satisfying Your Baby's Needs."

Planned Parenthood: "Breastfeeding."

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