Feb 07 , 2020

Is My Baby Sick Or Just Grumpy?

Illness is just one of those things that you learn to live with. Even though it’s no fun to lie in bed too weak and too hot to move, your body has to face many difficult situations and learn to best cope with them. Otherwise, it would only shut down in the face of bacteria and infection.

When you’re a young parent anxious over the health of your precious darling, illness can seem like a deadly monster that could strike any time. Knowing the first signs of any illness and recognizing what could be behind it is the best way to keep calm and care for your baby without any worries.

It’s much easier to ask a child or teenager whether they’re feeling well than to deduce when there’s something wrong with a baby. There’s no need to panic or fret, though. As long as you’re familiar with a baby’s daily routine, habits, and overall behavior, you’ll be able to tell right away if something is off.

Sudden Changes In Behavior

One major sign of illness in a baby is a serious lack of energy. A sleepy or tired baby will usually perk up and respond well to stimuli after a nice nap, while a sick baby simply won’t feel like doing anything for the whole day. If your baby doesn’t respond to any toys or music, and if they barely smile or show any facial emotion, it’s probably a sign that they’re feeling rather fatigued from illness.

Besides being tired and unresponsive, a sick baby will also not be able to feed normally. When adults like us are sick, we usually don’t feel like eating anything other than a spoonful of medicine. In the same way, babies simply can’t drink milk or breastfeed properly when they’re feeling rather sick and tired.

You should also watch out for any abnormal vomiting. A little spitting up now and again is perfectly normal, while too much vomiting before and after meals indicates that your baby’s body isn’t working as well as it should.

Another sign of illness in babies is a change in bowel habits. Sick babies can’t urinate for more than 8 hours since their bodies are dehydrated. And though a sick baby can still defecate, he or she will just end up passing stool that’s an unhealthy yellow-greenish color. Do check your baby’s diapers regularly if you suspect something’s wrong.

Apart from changes in eating and bowel habits, sick babies also usually display a sudden change in temperament and mood. They usually cry and feel annoyed whenever a caregiver tries to carry or play with them. If your baby’s well-rested and fed but unusually grumpy and irritable when you try to massage or cuddle them, don’t worry. They’re not angry, just sick.

Finally, do check if your baby’s experiencing abnormal body heat. A healthy baby will just feel a little warm to the touch at most and not sweat too much, while a sick baby will feel much hotter and sweatier than normal. A sick baby can also be unusually dry and hot instead of sweaty due to dehydration.

While some illnesses, such as spitting up or cough and colds, are usually a normal occurrence, any abnormal changes in behavior should immediately be addressed. It’s best to consult a pediatrician if you suspect something is very wrong with your child and have them prescribe any needed medicine or treatment.

How Can I Tell If It’s A Fever?

While vomiting, lack of appetite, and fatigue can often be symptoms of other illnesses (such as a stomach flu or food allergy reaction), an abnormally high body temperature is a good sign that your baby might be struggling with fever. There’s no need to fret too much, though. As stated earlier, a fever is simply the body’s natural reaction to fighting off infection. As long as you comfort and soothe your baby regularly, they should feel better and get back to their normal selves in no time. If your baby’s fever doesn’t go away after a long time, however, you might want to check with your pediatrician. Prolonged fever could be a symptom of a more severe illness.

If you don’t have a thermometer at the moment, you can check whether your baby’s too hot or cold by placing your palm firmly on their back or chest. A warm and healthy baby should be able to respond to touch and have skin free from any inflammation. A baby with an abnormally high body temperature, on the other hand, will usually have a bit of heat rash on their skin since their sweat cannot evaporate normally, as well as a flushed or unusually red face. If this happens and you want to provide immediate relief, simply take a few of their clothes off so they won’t feel too suffocated and warm.

Now if you do have a thermometer, simply check whether your baby’s body temperature reads abnormally high. If you’re using a rectal thermometer and the temperature reads more than 100.2°F, it’s a definite sign that your baby might be sick with a fever. And if you’re using an axillary (under-the-arm thermometer), you’ll want to watch out for a temperature that’s higher than 98.8°F.

The fear of illness can seem quite overwhelming and difficult to deal with at first, but you’ll be able to continue being the best supermom you can be so long as you approach things with a calm and collected mind.