Surviving Your Baby’s First Year of Illnesses

No transition has a learning curve quite as steep as the introduction to motherhood. There you are, reeling from the most physically demanding event of your life, when someone hands you a baby. Then they send you home with the expectation that you’ll figure it all out, just like the billions of mothers before you. Which is when the real fun begins: Just when you think you’ve figured out how to deal with spit-up, your little bundle throws up for real. You get breastfeeding figured out, and the pain of teething changes the game. That’s where we come in. From fevers to colds, we’ve come up with a helpful cheat sheet of the ailments you may deal with in your baby’s first year.


Nothing worries parents like a fever, yet most fevers can be treated at home. Here’s when to call the doctor:

  • Your baby is 3 months or younger and has a rectal temperature of 100.4°F+ (38°C+)
  • Your baby is between 3 months and 6 months with a rectal temperature higher than 102°F+ (38.9°C+)
  • Your baby is between 6 months and 24 months with a rectal temperature higher than 102°F+ (38.9°C+) that lasts longer than one day, but shows no other symptoms
  • Your baby is experiencing other concerning symptoms

Here are some recommended home remedies for less serious fevers:

  • Give your baby a bath, making sure to use lukewarm water.
  • Wet a washcloth with cool water, and place it on the forehead.
  • Keep your baby hydrated. If you are nursing, nurse as much as your child wants.
  • If your baby is 4 months or older, manage the fever with Advil Pediatric Drops.


It’s hard for parents to watch their baby struggle with a stuffy nose. Colds are common, and most children will have up to seven colds in their first year3, according to the Mayo Clinic. Here’s when to call the doctor:

  • Your baby is having trouble breathing.
  • Your baby has a persistent cough.
  • Your baby has thick, green, nasal discharge for several days.
  • Your baby is having fewer wet diapers than normal.

Here are some recommended home remedies for less serious colds:

  • Continue to offer liquids.
  • Use over-the-counter saline drops to help thin mucus and clear nasal passages.
  • Use a bulb syringe to clear your baby’s nose.
  • Run a cool-mist humidifier to help keep the air moist.
  • For children at least 4 months old, manage sore throats and other aches and pains with Advil Pediatric Drops.

Stomach Viruses

It can be scary to watch your child struggle to keep food or liquid down, and that’s without consideration of the sheer amount of laundry you’re about to have to wash. Here’s when to call the doctor:

  • Your baby is showing signs of dehydration, e.g., sunken soft spots, crying without tears, no wet diapers for six hours.
  • Your baby is unusually lethargic or listless.
  • Your baby has bloody stools or severe diarrhea.
  • Your baby continues to vomit for several hours.

Here are some recommended home remedies for less serious stomach viruses:

  • Wait 20 minutes after vomiting, and let your baby have small quantities of breastmilk, formula, or an oral rehydration solution from the pharmacy.
  • Stick to the “BRAT” diet (aka bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast).
  • Avoid sugary foods and sodas.
  • Apply diaper cream to help soothe sore bottoms.


Did your older infant wake up wearing cranky pants, even though you really thought you’d pulled out some cute jeggings? Is there a seeming drool factory happening while she tries to cram her whole fist in her mouth? Most babies get their first teeth between 6 months and one year. Just when you thought you had it all figured out. Note that teething, on its own, isn’t a medical emergency, so you get to deal with it all by yourself. Hooray! Here are some home remedies:

  • Give your baby chilled (but not frozen) washcloths, spoons, or teething toys.
  • Give your baby frozen breastmilk or formula cubes in a mesh feeder.
  • Rub your finger along the gums (this gets less useful and more ouchy once there are already teeth).
  • Dry the drool often to help avoid painful rashes.


Painful ears and teething have many of the same symptoms, such as tugging on ears and general crankiness. Ear infections can also come with a fever over 100 F or (37.8°C), drainage of fluid from the ears, and loss of balance. Here’s when to call a doctor:

  • Your baby is under 6 months of age.
  • Your baby has discharge leaking from his/her ears.
  • Your baby has symptoms lasting for more than a day.

Here are some recommended home remedies to help with earache pain relief:

  • Hold a warm, moist compress against the affected side.
  • For children 4 months and older, Advil Pediatric Drops can help ease the pain.

Bookmark this guide, and keep doctor-recommended Advil Pediatric Drops on hand for fast relief to help manage pain and fever from many childhood illnesses.

This post was written in partnership with Children’s Advil, but the opinions are our own. Be sure this product is right for you. Read and follow the label.

This information is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute of any kind for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of a qualified professional as required. Speak to your healthcare professional before making any changes to your lifestyle, or beginning or discontinuing any course of treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site.


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