Tips on what to do when your baby is unwell

Helen O’Callaghan speaks to TV presenter Lucy Kennedy about #FeverFighter.

Lucy Kennedy didn't know what to do when her first-born developed a fever. Pic: Fennell Photography

LUCY KENNEDY says her two older children, Jack 7, and Holly, 4, have been brilliant — “surprisingly good” — since baby Jessica arrived in December.

“Jack shocked me the most. He plays football and is into Ninja turtles and she has turned him into jelly. 

"He’ll sit and ‘mind’ Jessica. He’ll put in the time and is really sweet, pushing her buggy, like a little modern man.”

The busy mum says Jessica’s an easy baby and naturally she’s a much more relaxed mum than when firstborn Jack was a baby. 

“When he first got a fever, I didn’t know what to do. I called my older sister, Anna — her daughter was two then. 

"We live in the same cul-de-sac and she came over and reassured me Jack was absolutely fine, he just had a fever. I remember her stripping him down and putting a wet cloth on his head.”

Lucy is the ambassador for Nurofen for Children’s #FeverFighter campaign, which aims to inform and empower new mums. 

Research by the brand found 27% of first-time mums lack understanding about what to do when their baby is unwell. 

Almost one third struggle to understand what their baby’s cry means and almost half don’t know at what temperature a fever begins.

Like Lucy, family’s the first port of call for many mums when panic sets in over an ill child. 

Almost a third of respondents (28%) go to their own mother, while 18% look for recommendations from either their GP or online sources and 12% seek a pharmacist’s advice. 

Mothers-in-law are a less popular source of advice, with just 1% of first-time mums turning to them.

The Nurofen survey of 400 first-time mums, aged 18-49 years old, with children aged from birth to two years, also asked what was most challenging about becoming a mum. 

For over one-third, it was lack of sleep (39%) — exacerbated when caring for a child suffering from fever.

Other challenges new mothers encounter are finding time for themselves (16%) and juggling finances (10%).

Dr Sinead Beirne, who provided fever management tips for the campaign, says it’s important to keep baby well hydrated. 

And if they’ve been vomiting, you need to re-hydrate slowly.

“Give a teaspoon of fluid for every commercial break, if you’ve got the TV on. Ice pops can be helpful too, as well as ice cream.” 

She also recommends using a baby sleep bag at bedtime and just one layer of light clothing, like a vest — no need for pyjamas too — so as to ensure temperature doesn’t rise further.

TOP TIPS

* Fever is temperature over 37.8°C on more than one consecutive reading.

* Cool baby down: strip to vest and/ or place in lukewarm bath.

* Ibuprofen can be given to babies over three months/babies weighing over 5kg. Paracetamol can be used from two months. Read label before medicating children.

* Keep baby well hydrated. If they’ve been vomiting, rehydrate slowly.

* See doctor if child does not improve.



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