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.
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:
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.
Life-threatening illnesses are very rare in babies.
Not all babies will develop all of these signs and symptoms.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Your pharmacist can:
Taking photographs or videos on your mobile phone of what’s worrying you can be really helpful.
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
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3 November 2023