If you suspect that your newborn has a fever, a rectal (in the bottom) temperature is the most accurate way to check. Having to take your baby’s temperature using this way may make you feel a bit uncomfortable. Just remember, this method will give you the best reading. Indications that you may need to take a temperature includes instances where your baby is acting fussy, appears very sleepy, or feels warm to the touch.
To take a rectal temperature, clean the tip of your thermometer with rubbing alcohol or soap and water. After placing a small amount of petroleum jelly along the end, turn on your thermometer, and gently insert the the tip ½ inch or so into the anal opening. Be sure to cup your hands around your child’s bottom to hold the thermometer steady. Your digital thermometer will beep when the recording is complete. Remove the thermometer and check the reading.
A fever is defined as a rectal temperature greater than or equal to 100.4oF (38.0oC). The presence of a fever in an infant younger that 2 months old is a very concerning symptom and needs further medical evaluation.
Call us immediately if your infant has a fever of 100.4oF (38.0oC) or greater. Do not give any fever medication, as this will affect the ability of the doctor to make the best decision concerning your baby’s medical care.