A baby’s immune system is designed to fight infection, and a fever is actually a healthy response. Whether due to a viral or bacterial infection, the rise in temperature helps kill the invaders. That being said, any baby fever can be scary for parents. A high temperature should be monitored and medical attention may be necessary. Here’s how to keep your cool in the chance that your baby has a fever, plus get tips for helping your child feel better.
What is Considered a Fever?
The American Academy of Pediatrics considers a rectal temperature of 100.4 degrees F (38 degrees C), or higher, a fever in babies.
If baby is 12 weeks or younger and has a temp of 100.4 F+ call the doctor immediately. Young babies are at much higher risk of serious infection and should be evaluated right away.
If baby is 3 months or older, has a fever of 100.4 to 103 F, and is drinking fluids and interacting normally, you most likely shouldn’t’ worry. If the fever persists for 24 hours or baby isn’t getting better, call the doctor. Usually a fever over 103.5 F is reason alone to call the doctor.
Many pediatricians agree that a baby fever of 103.5-104 or higher is cause for concern, regardless of other symptoms. If baby is acting lethargic or has any abnormal symptoms, the telling numbers for a serious fever become: 101+ for babies 3–6 months old, or 103+ for babies older than 6 months.
If a Baby Fever Accompanies These Symptoms, Seek Medical Care
- Unusual fussiness
- Pale complexion or any type of rash
- Exhibits signs of neck pain
- Loss of appetite
- Bad cough
- Pulling at ears or other signs of an earache
- Vomiting or diarrhea or significantly fewer wet diapers (baby may be dehydrated)
Safe Home Remedies to Comfort Baby’s Fever
If baby’s fever is within a safe range, try natural remedies to make him comfortable and support her body’s ability to ward it off.
Breastfeeding – Mother’s milk helps keep baby hydrated with fluids, natural probiotics, and electrolytes. It also gives her easy-to-digest nutrition so that her body can be nourished without having to spend too much energy on digestion.
Cool compress – A cool compress (or lukewarm sponge bath) may make her more comfortable. If it has the opposite effect, try other means of keeping her from holding heat in.
Apple cider vinegar compress – Soak a washcloth in diluted ACV and apply to baby’s forehead. Or try adding a cup of ACV to a lukewarm bath.
Bone broth, homemade chicken soup, or other nourishing foods – For older babies, these broths are packed with easily absorbable protein and gut-healing gelatin. Healthy fats and minerals are a natural immune system boost.
Snuggles – The healing power of touch releases oxytocin, the feel-good hormone, which also promotes healing.
Sleep – Rest heals many ills. Keep your baby close enough to monitor and be there when he needs you.