With the threat of H1N1 flu, colds and other illnesses, it’s important to know how to tell when your baby is sick and when to call the doctor.
Greg Bishop, author of two books on fatherhood and the founder of Boot Camp for New Dads (http://www.bcnd.org), a non-profit orientation program for fathers-to-be, operating in more than 260 hospitals, clinics, schools, fire stations and churches around North America and internationally, shares tips from his second book, Crash Course for New Dads below.
Babies give signals when they are not feeling well. Watch for them. The most obvious are fever, runny nose, cough or rash. Less obvious signals are lethargy, crankiness, lack of interest in anything or anyone around him/her, little or no appetite, spitting up more often or very hard or runny stools.
Fever is how a baby responds to infection. If her/his temperature is over 101 degrees, he has a fever. If s/he’s younger than two months old and her/his temperature higher than 100 degrees, or if a low grade fever has lasted several days, or if there is a rash along with the fever, call your pediatrician.
Sniffles and respiratory congestion can make your baby miserable. Make sure her/his airway is clear and that s/he is not having difficulty breathing. Call the doctor if your baby’s cough comes from deep in her/his chest or if breathing is labored or s/he is wheezing.
Don’t administer medicine without first checking with your baby’s pediatrician. Some may think a small dose of pain reliever or decongestant may seem reasonable, but a baby’s nervous and immune systems are very different from yours and present special issues that you are unlikely to be aware of.
According to Bishop, “Whether it’s coughing, diarrhea, crossed eyes, not eating, or anything else, if you think your baby is ill for any reason then check with a nurse hot line or your pediatrician. When it comes to your baby’s health, err on the side of calling the doctor too often, as you may not be able to tell the big problems from the little ones.”
Dads should also get to know their baby’s doctor by going to well-baby checks. Either go with mom or take turns with her.
To help keep your baby healthy, dress your baby appropriately. If the temperature outside is 75 degrees, a diaper and t-shirt underneath a pair of footed pajamas is usually good enough. If it’s breezy, add a light jacket and a hat to keep the sun off your baby’s face and her/his head warm. Add layers as the temperature gets lower.
Boot Camp for New Dads
Now celebrating their 19th year, Boot Camp for New Dads is nationally acclaimed as the “Best Practice” for preparing men to be fathers and has been named a U.S. Navy Model Program. Boot Camp for New Dads has prepared more than 200,000 men for fatherhood over the years.
Today, Greg Bishop and 400 other Boot Camp Coaches conduct workshops in 44 states and the U.S. Navy, Army and Air Force.
With more than 4.1 million births (National Center for Health Statistics), and approximately 1.5 million men becoming new dads every year, it’s more important than ever for fathers to realize that being a “good provider” is only part of the very central role they have in their children’s lives.
National and International Locations
Boot Camp For New Dads locations include ALASKA (Anchorage); ARIZONA (Chandler, Flagstaff, Gilbert, Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Sun City); ARKANSAS (Jonesboro, Paragould, Springdale); CALIFORNIA (Apple Valley, Bakersfield, , Fresno, Garden Grove, Irvine, Laguna Hills, Madera, Merced, Mission Hills, , Oakland, Orange, Pomona, Port Hueneme, San Diego, Santa Ana, Santa Barbara, , S. Lake Tahoe, Travis, Valley Springs); COLORADO (Aurora, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver, Durango, Fort Collins, Fort Carson, Greeley, Longmont, Thornton, Wheat Ridge); CONNECTICUT (Bristol, Danbury, New London); FLORIDA (Brandon, Clearwater, Hollywood, Jacksonville, North Palm Beach, Orlando, St. Petersburg, West Palm Beach, Sarasota, Tampa); GEORGIA (Atlanta, Elberton, Gainesville, Marietta, Savannah); HAWAII (Pearl Harbor, Schofield); ILLINOIS (Aurora, Carbondale, Champaign, Chicago, East St. Louis, Evanston, Freeport, Geneva, Great Lakes, Highland Park, Libertyville, Moline, Oak Park, Rockford, Springfield, Urbana, Winfield); INDIANA (Anderson, Bluffton, Hammond, Indianapolis, Jeffersonville, Kokomo); IOWA (Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Jefferson, Sioux City); KANSAS (Junction City, Topeka); KENTUCKY (Paducah); LOUISIANA (Covington); MAINE (Auburn, Augusta, Bangor, Brunswick, Ellsworth, Waterville); MARYLAND (Annapolis) MASSACHUSETTS (Beverly, Ipswich, Lowell, Nantucket, Plymouth, Weymouth, Springfield); MICHIGAN (, Ann Arbor, Bay City, Centreville, Iron Mountain, Ithaca, Kalamazoo, Niles, St Joseph, Ypsilanti); MINNESOTA (Brainerd, Duluth, Robbinsdale); MISSISSIPPI (Tupelo); MISSOURI (Jefferson City) MONTANA (Billings, Helena, Miles City); NEBRASKA (Kearney, Lincoln, Omaha); NEVADA (Las Vegas) NEW HAMPSHIRE (Manchester, Portsmouth); NEW JERSEY (Princeton) NEW YORK (Glens Falls, Little Falls, Mineola, Rome, Utica); NORTH CAROLINA (Burlington, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Concord, Ft. Bragg, Greensboro, Monroe, Raleigh, Shelby); NORTH DAKOTA (Grand Forks); OHIO (Akron, Cleveland, Columbus, East Cleveland, East Liverpool, Garfield Heights, Lima, Lorain, Mayfield Heights, Middleburg Heights, Orange Village, Portsmouth, Toledo, Warren, Westlake, Youngstown); OKLAHOMA (Claremore, Oklahoma City, Tulsa); OREGON (Corvalis, McMinnville, Salem, Silverton); SOUTH CAROLINA (Columbia, Pickens, Walhalla); TENNESSEE (Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis); TEXAS (Amarillo, Dallas, Fort Hood, Longview, Lubbock, Plano, San Antonio, Texarkana, Waco, Webster); VERMONT (Barre, Brattleboro, Middlebury); VIRGINIA (Charlottesville, Chesapeake, Hampton, Richmond) WASHINGTON (Everett, Fairchild AFB, Longview, Olympia, Puyallup, Yakima); WEST VIRGINIA (Wheeling); WISCONSIN (Florence, Green Bay, Madison, Oshkosh, Watertown, Wausau); JAPAN (Atsugi, Yokosuka), ITALY (Sicily); UNITED KINGDOM [a.k.a. Hit the Ground Crawling] (Birmingham, Liverpool)