When to Call Your Baby's Doctor

mother with sick baby

After you bring home a new baby, the smallest things suddenly can seem huge. During naptime, the neighbor's dog's barking becomes a pack of howling wolves. A passing delivery truck becomes a motorcycle rally.

Are you making mountains out of mole hills? In these instances, perhaps. However, there are situations that do warrant action.

Because newborns still are adjusting to life outside the womb, they are more vulnerable to common illnesses than older children are.

Megan Clary, MD
Megan Clary, MD

"Since these babies have not yet had time to develop their immune responses, changes in their behavior or feeding patterns can indicate the start of an illness response. We always want to do an evaluation to see if these symptoms are indicating illness or not," said Megan Clary, MD, a pediatrician with MU Health Care.

Here are 13 reasons to call your baby's care provider right away.


  • During the first two months of life, a temperature greater than 100.4 (taken rectally)
  • Fewer than three wet diapers a day
  • An unusual bowel movement
  • Difficulty breathing or persistent cough
  • Grayish-blue coloring around the mouth, lips or tongue, especially when feeding or crying
  • Poor feeding, continued spitting up or forceful vomiting
  • Excessive drowsiness or unusual inactivity
  • Persistent crying or irritability
  • Persistent redness and swelling around the nipple area
  • Dot-like rash, especially with fever
  • Redness, odor or discharge in umbilical cord area
  • Redness and discharge from the eyes
  • Yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes

For after-hours care, you can take your child to Mizzou Urgent Care.

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