Many babies get sick from time to time. Usually, you can care for your baby at home, as these periods of illness pass quickly. Below are some things you can do for your baby if he or she are unwell. You are the expert on your children, so if you are not happy, seek advice from your G.P, Public health nurse or local accident and emergency department. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Common Cold

Colds are caused by viruses, antibiotics are ineffective against viruses.  The common cold needs to be fought by the body’s own immune system.  It usually infects the nasal passages and throat, causing symptoms like a runny nose and sore throat. Sometimes a viral infection may weaken the body and allow a secondary bacterial infection to invade the body, leading to clear nasal discharge to turn yellow or green or for the tonsils to become infected. In this case a trip to your gp is in order as your child may now need  antibiotics.

In young babies it can be very distressing to have a blocked nose, which causes them not to be able to breathe while feeding, saline drops in each nostril can help. This helps to clear the nasal passages long enough for baby to feed.  Seek medical advice if you feel your child is not taking enough fluids (less than 3 wet nappies per day) or is not getting better in a few days. In all children, the best way to treat a common cold is to make sure they are getting plenty of fluids, treat any fever or aches with paracetamol. Keep them warm. Contact your doctor if you are at all concerned.


If a baby is crying non stop, inconsolable, but warm, dry and well fed, chances are they have colic. No one is sure what causes it, but it usually starts at 2 weeks and can last up to 3 months of age. Classically a baby will pull her feet up under her body and clench her fist and crying very hard.
Living with a crying baby or babies can be very distressing, ask for help from friends or relatives to watch baby, so you can get a breather and recharge your batteries.

Some things to try are:

  • Warm bath
  • Rocking baby
  • Persevere with breastfeeding
  • Singing, soothing music
  • Change formula
  • Try new bottle teat
  • Medications like colief or infacol( ask gp advice)
  • Herbal remedies e.g. dill, fennel, chamomile
  • Gripe water
  • Massaging tummy in clockwise direction
  • Cranio sacral therapy.

It is best to find out what works for you through trial and error. Always seek medical advice before putting baby on medication.  Don’t forget, this won’t last forever, suddenly it will disappear and you will be left with the angel baby you always dreamt of.

High Temperature/Fever

Usually but not always a fever is a sign of an infection, although some children can get a fever when teething. If your child does feel hot or clammy, take their temperature.  An electronic thermometer is a very handy investment.  A normal temperature is between 36 to 37 degrees Celsius.  Strip the child down and administer a paracetamol syrup to reduce there temperature. Encourage fluids. If Temperature remains high there may be a danger of febrile convulsions (fit). Seek medical advice if temperature does not resolve.

Cuts & Grazes

Examine the wound to see how deep it is and if it is bleeding profusely. If it is both deep and bloody, go to you’re A&E department, as it may need suturing. Otherwise clean the area with some warm salty water and apply a bandage if needed.

Always contact your doctor if your baby:

  • Has a purple or red rash that looks unusual.
  • If the soft spot (fontanelle) on your baby’s head appears raised or sunken
  • Has a fever
  • Appears much paler and sleepier than usual and is hard to wake up
  • Has an unusual non-stop high-pitched cry or scream
  • Has a fit (convulsion)
  • Has difficulty breathing
  • Goes blue around the lips or face
  • Is not feeding normally or refusing to feed
  • Has unusually dry nappies, or less than three wet nappies in one day
  • Has diarrhoea at each nappy change
  • Has an upset, such as a fall or a bump on the head
  • Gets an electric shock
  • Is burned / scalded
  • Is bitten by an animal

It is important that if one or more of your babies is taking medication that you remember to give it to the right baby at the right time. Use our Medication Chart to help avoid confusion and mistakes.