4 Signs Your Newborn Needs To See A Doctor

Whether you're caring for your first baby or you're an experienced parent, it isn't always clear when a newborn needs to see a doctor. Issues that aren't typically a concern in older children are often more serious in small infants.

While you should always call an experienced pediatric care doctor when you aren't sure if your baby needs medical attention, here are a few signs that your newborn should see a pediatrician.

1. Your Baby Has Congestion That's Interfering with Their Breathing 

It's common for babies to experience congestion, but they should still be able to breathe. Congestion can be related to fairly benign causes, such as dry air, or it may be a symptom of a more significant condition, like an illness or bacterial infection.

If your baby is wheezing, has trouble inhaling, or is breathing rapidly, you should call your pediatrician. All of these symptoms are indicative of your baby having fluid in their lungs or airways that's contributing to the congestion. Your doctor will ensure that your baby receives treatment so that they can breathe easier and address any underlying problems causing the congestion.

2. Your Baby Exhibits Signs of Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when your baby isn't consuming enough fluids or when they are losing too many fluids (through vomiting or diarrhea). Common signs of dehydration include:

  • Less than 6 to 8 wet diapers a day
  • No tears when crying
  • Eyes or a soft spot that appears sunken in

When not promptly treated, dehydration results in an imbalance of electrolytes that makes it difficult for the body's systems to function correctly. Left untreated, dehydration can result in shock, seizures, coma, or even death. Since babies have smaller bodies, it's easier for their electrolytes to reach a dangerous level. 

3. Your Baby Won't Stop Crying

Babies cry, but if your baby cries inconsolably for more than a couple of hours, it's time to call your doctor. Your baby may be experiencing pain or distress, and crying is one of the few ways they can communicate that there is a problem. 

4. Your Baby Has a Fever

If your baby's rectal temperature is 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, it's important to call your doctor. Fever is caused by some type of infection, and in young babies, it's possible for the infection (and the baby's health) to quickly worsen. Since babies are less likely to eat when they don't feel well, they're also more susceptible to dehydration. 

Contact a local pediatric care clinic if you notice any of these signs.