Is my baby sick or just fussing? 5 signs your baby might be unwell

Posted in Baby Health.

Nobody likes it when their child is sick.

And when you’ve got a baby-sized little person in your life, it can feel impossible to know what’s going on for them and of course, how to help.

Babies and toddlers can be prone to a range of fussy periods – waking at night, slight temperature, running nose or cough and cold. They may also wake through the night unexpectedly, and cry for longer periods during the day, where nothing you do seems to help.

This can be a challenging time for everyone, especially for parents of babies who can’t use words to communicate what might be going on.

During those times, mothercraft nurse Chris Minogue says it’s normal to feel a bit at a loss.

“All babies have a general fussiness period that may extend over a couple of hours during the day. But knowing how to tell the difference in the child who is unwell can be trickier,” says Chris.

With that in mind, she says there are five things parents should look out for when trying to determine if their baby is sick:   

1. Extended unsettledness

All babies have a period of fussiness during the day, but when it occurs in a baby who is usually quite calm, you can be triggered into thinking there’s something else going on. 

“Another indication can be babies who are usually happy to be put down, either for a play on the floor or in their cot. If they start complaining – usually crying – about that, for an extended period, that’s when you can think, ‘OK, now I need to look to see if there is something else going on’,” says Chris. 

taking baby's temperature with a Braun ThermoScan 7 ear thermometer

2. Their temperature is going up

Monitor baby by checking their temperature regularly. Using an in-ear thermometer such as the Braun ThermoScan 7 is a really easy and reliable way of keeping an eye on your baby’s temperature. Not only can it read your child’s temperature quickly, you can pre-set the age of your child to get the most accurate reading, and it also has pre-warmed tip to make baby more comfortable.

“Temperature is a good indication of something stirring in your child. It’s an important thing to keep an eye on because high temperatures can trigger illness in children very quickly,” says Chris. 

3. Pale baby

A baby whose colour has changed can be a sign that they are not feeling great. Their lovely pink cheeks are pale and their eyes are a bit less bright.

“When you look at your baby, you will be able to tell quite quickly if they are or more pale than usual. They may also just look unwell to you and if that is the case, it is worth some further investigation,” says Chris. 

4. Poor eating or feeding patterns

If your normally-ravenous little eater has slowed down the pace, it can be a good indication that something else is going on in that little body.

“Your breastfed baby might be less interested than normal and your bottle fed baby might be refusing to drink when offered. Feeding in general may be shorter or less than normal. And they may also be more sulky than normal and just not feeding well,” offers Chris.

5. Unexpected vomiting or diarrhoea

As signs of illness go, vomiting and diarrhoea are two strong indicators of illness of some kind.

“These are a good sign that something is not right with your child, “says Chris. “Are their stools looser or more runny? Keep an eye on your child for two hours and if things get worse – sooner if there is cause for concern – take some action and see your doctor.”

What to do next …

Little children can get very sick, very quickly.

“If you suspect for any reason your child is unwell, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor,” says Chris. 

This is a sponsored post for Braun.


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