Small babies can be very vulnerable when they become unwell and as a new parent you will be especially concerned whenever your baby seems unwell. You may be somewhat reassured to know that most of the time it will be a minor ailment and nothing to worry about.

That said, remember that you know your baby better than anyone and if you feel at all worried or unsure you should get medical advice as soon as possible. Even if it turns out to be nothing serious, don’t ever feel that you have wasted a doctor’s time. Ultimately, you are responsible for your baby’s well being. Illnesses in small babies can get very serious very quickly so if you think there may be a serious problem get help and advice immediately.

If you baby shows any of the following symptoms you should either call your GP or Health Visitor, contact NHS direct, go to Accident & Emergency or call 999 for an ambulance:

  • has breathing difficulties
  • is unusually sleepy
  • looks pale but feels hot
  • has less than 4 wet nappies in a 24 hour period
  • takes less than half the normal feed during the previous 24 hours
  • is less active than usual

Most parents fear Meningitis above any other illness because it can be life threatening and develops so quickly. For more information on the symptoms of Meningitis, and what to do if you suspect it, see our factsheets.