When to Call a Physician for Your Newborn

When to Call a Physician Overview

When to Call a Physician for Your Newborn

You may call for assistance whenever you feel concerned about your child’s health. Our pediatric registered nurses are available to answer questions, help you manage your child’s health issues and decide if an office visit is warranted. To make an appointment, we recommend you call in the morning if your child needs to be seen by a physician that day. However, if you need to bring your child in for a check-up or immunizations, you may call and schedule an appointment in advance.


When babies are sick they stop being their usual selves. They may fuss, refuse to sleep or refuse to eat. They may vomit, have diarrhea, have a fever or find it hard to breathe. If you think your baby is sick, take their rectal or auxiliary temperature.

Rectal temperature

  • Shake the rectal thermometer so the silver line is below 96 degrees F or turn on the digital thermometer
  • Put petroleum jelly on the end with the silver bulb
  • Gently put the tip into the rectum 1/2 inch
  • Hold the thermometer for two to three minutes
  • Remove and read
  • Normal rectal temperature is 99.6 degrees F

Auxiliary temperature

  • Place the thermometer under the armpit for 10 minutes
  • Remove and read
  • Normal auxiliary temperature is 97.6 degrees F

Call your baby's pediatrician if they exhibit any of the following symptoms: 

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • No interest in eating
  • Breathing fast (normal breathing rate is 40 to 60 breaths per minute)
  • Suddenly sleepier or fussier than usual
  • Redness, swelling or fluid on the baby's eyes, ears, nose, circumcision or umbilical cord (belly button)
  • Unexpected rash
  • Urine and stool output is less than expected
  • Develops jaundice or has jaundice that becomes worse
  • You have any questions about your baby's health
Locations & Contact Information

    Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital and Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital is a collaborative program between Northwestern Memorial HealthCare and Lurie Children's and its affiliated physician groups. The physicians participating in this program are neither agents nor employees of Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital or Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital.