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

Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital offers care for children at all ages and stages—from birth through 18 years old. Whether your infant needs the advanced expertise of our Level II+ Special Care Nursery, your child needs a wellness checkup and immunizations, or one of your children needs care for an illness, emergency or ongoing medical condition—you’ll find the medical and surgical resources to meet your family’s needs.

We have more than 60 physicians on staff who specialize in pediatrics, along with a dedicated team of pediatric nurses—all committed to providing the very best care for your children. In addition, we can refer children who need more advanced care to pediatric specialists who are leaders in their fields. Our affiliated pediatricians can address most children’s needs at convenient locations throughout Lake and Cook counties.

We’ve also partnered with Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, one of the nation’s top-ranked children’s hospitals, to provide the highest quality care for children. Our hospitalists from Lurie Children’s are available on-site at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest, 24 hours a day, every day of the year to care for special need situations or provide expert consultations.

The CDH Pediatric Emergency Department is IDPH Emergency Department Approved for Pediatrics (EDAP) and is designated by the State of Illinois as a Level II Trauma Center.

Legal 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.


The physicians who practice at the Northwestern Medicine Chicago Proton Center are neither agents nor employees of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare or any of its affiliate organizations. These physicians have selected our facilities as the place where they want to treat and care for their private patients.