articles and blog

Bringing your baby home from the hospital is such an exciting life event.

You may be unsure if your baby is showing normal newborn behavior or if something is wrong. Here are some general signs that are reasons to contact your child's doctor.


In infants less than 1 month old, a temperature of 100.4 or higher is a medical emergency, even if they are showing no other symptoms of illness. Remember, your newborn has a limited ability to fight infections and can get very sick very fast.

Changes in Behavior

A change in behavior may be one of the first signs that your baby isn't feeling well. Although your baby's activity level, appetite, and cries will vary from day to day, even hour to hour, a distinct change in behavior may signal illness.

Excessive crying or inconsolability

All babies cry. It is one of the only ways they have to communicate with you. However, some crying may indicate a problem. Call your physician if:

  • Your child is continuously fretful and fussy
  • Cries for long periods or very suddenly
  • Has a cry that sounds unusual

Sluggishness or lethargy

Sluggish or lethargic behavior in a newborn may indicate a bodily infection, or another condition such as low blood sugar. Warning signs of lethargy include:

  • Your baby sleeping longer than usual
  • Waking baby for feedings is difficult
  • You see signs of inattentiveness to sounds and visual stimulation

Talk to your healthcare provider if you think your infant is not as active or energetic as in the past.

Changes in Feedings

Newborns may take a few days to establish a routine for feeding, however, if your baby refuses to eat or continually misses feedings, it may be a sign of a more serious illness.

If your baby is losing weight or having trouble sucking at your breast or bottle and doesn't seem hungry, call your child's physician.

Changes in urination and stools

On average, your baby should wet at least four diapers over the course of a day. If your baby is showing signs of distress or you notice a pinkish stain to her urine, call your physician.

If your baby has very hard stools, be sure he is receiving enough fluids – especially in the heat and during an illness. 

Watch Dr. Bendlin's "When to Call Your Pediatrician" Video

Emily Bendlin, MD

Methodist Physicians Clinic - Gretna

Dr. Bendlin loves working with kids and their parents. She has always enjoyed caring for kids.  "I've always liked medicine, but more importantly I've always liked kids," Dr. Bendlin said. "During my pediatric rotation it was the 'aha' moment. It was so fun and I was so excited when I went home. I knew at that time this is it for me – pediatrics is where I’m supposed to be." According to Dr. Bendlin, "Working with kids is fun. What other ...

Learn more about this expert

Categories: pregnancy, health-notes,