Home > Infant Warning Signs & Taking Care of Baby

There are many ways to care for a baby. Try out different ways until you find what works and feels right for you. Contact your baby’s doctor if you have any of the warning signs below. Also, call them if anything else worries you. Be sure to make and go to all of your baby’s health appointments.


Go to emergency care or call 911 if

Temperature: If a newborn baby has a temperature of 100.4º F (38º C) or more. This temperature is a fever for a newborn baby and is urgent.

Bleeding: If baby was circumcised, any blood soaked in the diaper is urgent. Small streaks of blood are normal, like a small cut.

Breathing: Has a hard time breathing that does not go away with nose suctioning. 

Color: Lips, area around the mouth, and/or nails become blue in color.


Call your baby’s healthcare provider about any of these:

Pee and poop problems 

  • There is blood (streaks, flecks, or clots) or mucous with poop. 
  • Does not pee three times or more within 24 hours. 
  • Still pooping meconium (very thick, dark poop) after four days of life.
  • Has not pooped in the past 1-2 days.

Bad smells 

  • Starts to have unusually watery or bad-smelling poop. (Breast milk stools are very loose but do not smell bad). 
  • Has a cord (belly-button area) or circumcision site that smells bad or has pus or if the skin around the belly button or penis is bright red and warm.

Changes in color 

  • Skin or eyes become more yellow in color. 

Changes in behavior 

  • Is fussier than usual, or is sleeping more than usual. 
  • Misses two feedings in a row or vomits most of two feedings in a row. 

Taking care of baby

Feeding 

  • For help with breastfeeding, visit the KBC’s Local Resource Directory with 24/7 hotlines.
  • Feed on baby’s cues. Offer to feed when baby is “rooting” or putting hands to mouth. Stop when baby’s hands and arms are relaxed. Feed at least 8-12 times in 24 hours. They do not eat on a schedule.
  • Breast milk usually offers full nutrition and immune protection for your baby. Talk with your health care team about vitamin D supplements for your baby or you if you are breastfeeding. 
  • If using a bottle, you, or another adult must hold it the whole time. Propping it up could lead to overfeeding or choking. 
  • If formula feeding, follow the label instructions exactly.
  • If your baby is less than two months old and you are using powdered infant formula, boil the water and wait about 5 minutes before mixing with the powder. This kills any germs there may be in the powdered formula. More information from the CDC HERE.

Feelings 

  • Trust yourself! You know your baby best. 
  • Caring for a baby can be a joy, but it is hard. Be gentle with yourself. Accept help. 
  • It is normal and healthy for your baby to cry. It is also normal that sometimes the crying feels like too much. Feeling stressed? Take a few deep breaths before responding to your baby. You can also put your baby in their crib and then step outside for a few minutes before going back in to soothe your baby. Responding to your baby’s needs is not ‘spoiling’ them.
  • Never shake a baby.

Staying safe 

  • Do not smoke around or wear clothes that smell like smoke around your baby.
  • Have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home. 
  • Keep your baby away from people who are sick. 
  • Make sure that children and adults around your baby are vaccinated (including their Tdap booster and annual flu shot). 
  • Your baby can start tummy time once their cord falls off. Always watch your baby during tummy time.
  • Use a rear-facing car seat until at least age 2 or have they have reached the maximum weight for rear-facing in their car seat. Baby should not wear a coat while in the car seat 
  • When baby wearing, have your baby up high enough that you can reach them with a kiss. Make sure you can see your baby’s face (nothing over baby’s nose or mouth). 
  • For baby baths, keep the water warm, stay close and keep your eyes on them. Wait until baby’s umbilical cord (belly button) falls off before first real bath.

Sleep 

  • Your baby should share a room, not a bed, with you for the first year. It is safest for your baby to sleep in their own crib or bassinet in your room.
  • Put your baby on their back to sleep, even for naps.
  • Keep the room temperature comfortable for you. 
  • Wherever baby sleeps: do not have blankets, bumpers, stuffed animals, pillows, pets, siblings, balloons, or other things in the area.
  • It is dangerous to fall asleep while holding your baby in a chair, recliner, or couch.
  • Babies should not sleep at an angle, such as in car seats or swings. 

Staying clean 

  • Use a washcloth with water or baby wipes with each diaper change. Wipe female babies front to back. 
  • Diaper banks are available if you need access to more diapers. Diaper Bank Directory here.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol after each diaper change.

This content has been adapted from the 4th Trimester Project™ resources on NewMomHealth.com. Funding for and review of this webpage was provided by Kansas Department of Health and Environment with funding through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Maternal and Child Health Service Block Grant [Award B04MC28100; CFDA 93.994].