There will be times when your baby's ill. This can be worrying if you’re not sure what to do, especially if this is your first baby.
If your baby's ill, it’s most likely to be a cough or cold and nothing serious, so you may just need help to make them comfortable.
There's always help available
Very young babies sleep and feed a lot and it can be difficult to tell what's usual. You know your baby best, so remember:
- the most important thing is to trust your instincts
- there’s always help available for you and your baby, you’re never completely on your own
If you're not sure you may have family or friends who can help you decide what to do. There are lots of professionals who can reassure and advise you too.
Screaming and crying loudly isn't uncommon for babies. It’s usually their way of telling you they need something, rather than being ill.
You’ll probably soon get to know what the different cries mean, such as whether they’re hungry or need a cuddle.
In general, babies who are seriously ill are more likely to whimper and moan than to cry loudly.
What to do if your baby's crying
You should also tell the receptionist and GP if you’ve already seen a pharmacist, especially if they told you to take your baby to your GP.
If your baby has cold and flu symptoms
Most practices are very supportive of parents with young babies and will always do their best to see babies under a year old as soon as they can.
- fit you in without an appointment
- see you at the beginning of surgery hours
- give advice over the phone
GP opening times
It’s a good idea to know the opening hours of your GP practice. Some are open in the evening or at the weekend, while others close for public holidays or for training.
Find your GP practice opening times
If your GP practice is closed
If your GP practice is closed, phone the NHS 24 111 service.
It can feel scary if you're worried about your baby and your GP practice is closed. It's always OK to phone NHS 24 for reassurance or advice. If they think your baby's seriously ill and needs to go to hospital, they'll phone an ambulance for you.
Always trust your instincts.
When to see your pharmacist
Your local pharmacy's a great place for help and advice about everyday illnesses that are likely to get better within a few days. This includes:
- baby acne
- coughs and colds
- cradle cap
- nappy rash
- oral thrush
- sticky eyes
Your pharmacist can:
- see you without an appointment
- give you advice
- suggest treatment
- refer you to see a health professional within your GP practice
Taking photographs or videos on your mobile phone of what’s worrying you can be really helpful.
Find a pharmacy in your area
You can use the Pharmacy First service yourself for the first year after your baby's born.
You can get advice or medicines for your baby from Pharmacy First until they're 16 years old.
If you’re registered, your pharmacist can give you or your baby medicine for a minor illness and you won’t need to pay for it.
More about the Pharmacy First service
Translations and alternative formats of this information are available from Public Health Scotland.