Keeping Baby Hale and Hearty (cont.)

Hurlbut says that calls to the doctor's office will go more smoothly if parents arm themselves with as many observations and bits of information as possible, ahead of time. She realized this recently when Kyra, now 2, had symptoms of a cold that turned out to be pneumonia.

Before You Call the Doctor
Write Down:

  • Symptoms and when they started, such as:

      Trouble breathing; cough or heartbeat faster than usual
      Change in sleeping pattern
      Change in behavior: irritable, crying, tired, lethargic
      Vomiting or diarrhea; number of wet or soiled diapers per day
      No appetite
      Pulling at ears
      Eyes glassy, red or have a discharge
      Skin: pale, clammy, sweaty, dry or shows a rash

  • Why you're worried:

      Are symptoms getting worse?
      Has your baby had a history of this problem or another medical problem?
      Has the baby been exposed to others who are ill?

  • What you've done to alleviate the symptoms or make your baby more comfortable, and what effect these measures have had

  • Your pharmacy's phone number

    "I was able to give the doctor's office another four symptoms that developed in a matter of hours," says Hurlbut. "The more information you have, the more credible you are, and the more they know whether this is something that just needs to be watched or seen right away."

    Above all, trust your own observations and instincts. Even if you're a novice, it doesn't take long to learn your infant's typical behavior and to notice when something is awry.

    "You gain confidence in your judgment as you learn to recognize your baby's cues," says Dr. Blackmon. "Once parents get past that point, they're going to know more about their baby than their pediatrician does."

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    Last Editorial Review: 1/30/2005 11:41:54 PM