How to Survive Baby’s First Fever

9 things you need to help you get through it.

*We partnered with Withings to help relieve your baby’s (and your) fever pain.

There’s no way to prepare yourself for your baby’s first fever. Sure, you may have weathered the ups and downs of pregnancy, and experienced the incredible intensity of childbirth, but experiencing that sick, helpless baby for the first time will blow your mind — and heart. Baby’s first fever is heart-wrenching, nerve-wracking and totally exhausting. But with the right knowledge (and tools!) you will survive. Here’s how.

How to Know your Baby Has a Fever

How to know your baby has a fever:
Since your baby can’t actually tell you he’s feeling crappy, it’s important to read his body signs. If he’s warm to the touch, or more tired or fussy (1) than usual, something could be wrong, says Deena Blanchard, a pediatrician at Premier Pediatrics in NYC. When it doubt, pull out the thermometer — our new fave from Withings (2) can take an accurate temp while he’s sleeping! If your little one measures above 100.4 F (38 degrees Celsius), you’ve got a fever on your hands. Think baby seems feverish even if he’s not measuring that high? Call your doctor (3).

How to treat a baby with a fever.

What you can do for your baby:
If your baby is under 3 months and has a fever of 100.4 or higher, call your doctor immediately, says Dr. Blanchard. If he’s over 2 months, try to keep him comfortable (4) with Tylenol or Motrin (if 6 months or older), fluids (5) — breast or bottle — and a tepid bath (6). Don’t take Grandma’s advice for an ice bath or over-bundling; neither will help and they could actually make things worse.

Rest assured that a fever is not dangerous, but it can increase your baby’s heart rate and respiratory rate — both of which should resolve once his temp comes down. If they don’t, or the fever lasts for more than 3 days (2 days if baby is under 6 months), it’s time to call the doctor. Pick up the phone even sooner if your little one’s not tolerating liquids, in severe pain, really irritable, having difficulty breathing or you’re just feeling concerned. Trust us, you’re not the craziest patient (ahem, parent) she has.

Mama's post-bedtime ritual.

What you can do for yourself:
Baby’s fever can be hard on mama too. If you manage to get babe down for a little R&R, try to take some yourself too. Keep an eye on your little one with a great home monitor (7), then kick your feet up and sip on some tea (or an adult beverage (8) if baby is down for the night – you deserve it!). Make sure you’ve got your phone (9) super-charged, so you can multi-task between texting with your BFF mom-friend, creeping Instagram for other mamas experiencing first fevers, and perusing your baby’s vital stats that have automatically synced from your thermometer (yes!). And know that the sun will come out tomorrow. We promise.


Jessica Pallay

Jessica Pallay

JESSICA PALLAY is the Co-Founder and Chief Content Officer of Well Rounded NY. She is a Brooklyn mama to Libby and Elsie, and writes about all things pregnancy and new motherhood.

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