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14 Reasons to Call Your Newborn's Doctor

As a new parent, bringing home a newborn is one of the most exciting moments in your life. But it’s also exhausting. There is so much to remember and you’re likely to be joyously sleep-deprived on top of it all.

Fortunately, there is no shortage of parenting advice out there to help you along the way. One of the most important things to have at your fingertips is symptoms that should prompt a call to your baby’s doctor.


Newborns have a different set of standards from big kids, because they are still adjusting to living outside of the womb. And they’re also more vulnerable to common illnesses.

I recommend bookmarking, sharing, or saving this list of symptoms, that way you can access it when you need it.


  • A temperature greater than 100.4 (rectally).

  • Less than two wet diapers a day for the first 48 hours of life and less than three wet diapers a day after 48 hours. From that point forward, your baby should have 6-8 wet diapers per day. 

  • A bowel movement that is different from what your baby has typically been having.

  • Difficulty breathing or a persistent cough.

  • Grayish–blue coloring around the mouth, lips and tongue when feeding or crying.

  • Poor feeding, continued spitting up or forceful vomiting.

  • Excessive drowsiness, sleeping through typical feeding times, or unusual inactivity or quietness.

  • Persistent crying or irritability.

  • Persistent redness around the nipple area (male or female).

  • Generalized rash, especially if accompanied by a fever.

  • Redness, foul odor or discharge in umbilical cord area.

  • Redness or discharge from the eyes.

  • Yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice).

  • The last point is an important one – please call your doctor if you have any worries or concerns! Even though your mommy instinct is new, it is real. Your doctor will not mind answering your questions or evaluating your newborn for peace of mind.



Amy Guiot, MD, is an assistant professor at Cincinnati Children’s, working as a pediatric hospitalist in the Division of Hospital Medicine and associate director of Medical Student Education. She is a mother of two fabulous teenagers.

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