Knowing when your child is ill
Most parents are so closely tuned in to their children and so used to their normal behavior and appearance that they can usually tell the moment that their child starts to become unwell. If you believe that your child is sickening for something, follow your instincts – you’re almost certainly right. Indeed, many parents find they know if their child is going to become ill even before symptoms are apparent.
This ‘tuning in’ to your baby is a natural part of learning about being a parent and explains why so many new parents feel jumpy or anxious about their babies. It’s quite normal and it’s far better to be over-concerned than over-confident when it comes to babies, because a slightly unwell baby can become rapidly worse. It’s much safer to seek medical help sooner rather than later if you’re in any doubt. In fact, if you have a young baby, it is probably sensible to consult your doctor in person or by phone any time that you are worried. You owe it to yourselves and your baby to hand over the burden of medical decision-making to the doctor, rather than to try to shoulder it alone and wait until illness is all too obvious and perhaps more difficult to treat.
Your health visitor (qualified nurse) is also a very important source of help and advice about babies and young children and will help you to learn to distinguish what is normal and to be expected from what is not. Regular clinic visits and discussions with the health visitor will soon give you more confidence in your judgment.