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Dr Sarah Brewer


Recognising when something is wrong with your baby

Many mothers looking after a young baby worry about contacting a doctor in case they are wasting the G.P.'s time. You know your baby best however, so if you think she is unwell, or you are worried in any way, always seek medical advice. Small babies can become very ill very quickly, if you are worried, don't wait too long before seeking help. Signs that your baby may be ill include crying inconsolably, being irritable and off her food, looking flushed and feeling hot or becoming unusually pale and cold. She may become floppy or unusually jerky. Most, but not all, babies who are seriously ill become quiet, still, listless and drowsy. If your baby is unlike her normal self or seems ill in any way that worries you, don't hesitate to contact a doctor for advice.

Contact your doctor urgently or dial 999 if your baby:

  • Turns blue or very pale
  • Has difficulty breathing
  • Has a fit
  • Is unusually drowsy or hard to wake
  • Becomes jerky or unusually floppy
  • Has glazed eyes, cannot focus properly or does not seem to know you


It is advisable to tell your doctor if your baby:

  • Becomes flushed, feels hot or has a temperature
  • Has noisy breathing and a hoarse cough
  • Cannot breathe properly through his nose
  • Cries as if in pain, in an unusual way or for longer than normal
  • Keeps refusing feeds
  • Keeps vomiting
  • Has frequent, liquid dirty nappies