Taking a newborn’s temperature frequently is extremely important. They sometimes have a difficult time regulating it in their first few weeks of life and can be indicative of other issues, such as low blood sugar, infection, or sepsis. Being able to accurately take and interpret a baby’s temperature is an important and often overlooked aspect of newborn care. Your nurse and other caregivers will monitor your newborn’s temperature throughout your stay in the hospital and your pediatrician will as well on follow up visits. Watch what they do and how they do it and ask questions if you have any!
The axillary temperature is the most commonly used for newborns- rectal temperature is no longer done as it has been shown to be as accurate but more invasive. This is best done by lifting the baby’s arm, placing the end of the thermometer probe in the armpit, and holding the newborn’s arm down until the thermometer finishes it’s measurement.
Knowing the normal temperature values is important as well. A baby’s temperature can mean a lot of things, low or high. You can measure in Celsius or Fahrenheit- in Celsius, a baby’s temperature should be 36.5-37.5. In Fahrenheit, it should be 97.7-99.5.
Take your baby’s temperature once a day at least for the first few weeks. Notify your pediatrician if low or high. They will ask if there are any other significant symptoms. These will include sleepiness, fussiness, inability to eat, constant crying, changes in diaper habits, etc.
As always, ask any questions that come up!