How to Take Your Newborn's Temperature

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taking care of a newborn baby is a total

learning experience and as you probably

know by now a ton of work being patient

and taking things one at a time can help

but it also helps to learn some of the

how to's parents need to know that's why

we made this video series to help with

at-home newborn care for example there

may come a time when you will need to

know if your baby has a fever and the

best way to find out is to measure the

temperature of your baby why would you

need to know well one reason might be

that your baby is not feeding as usual

or the baby may feel particularly warm

to the touch or maybe your baby is

crying non-stop and nothing you have

tried has worked to comfort your baby or

maybe the crying takes place in the

middle of the night and you will wake to

find your baby is both hot and sweaty

there are three standard ways to take a

person's temperature oral in the mouth

rectal in the bottom and axillary under

the arm of these three ways only two are

recommended for an infant under the age

of three these are the axillary and the

rectal temperatures it's not a bad idea

to know how to take your baby's

temperature using these two ways but

keep in mind that while the axillary

temperature is good for a quick check if

you call into the doctor's office your

pediatrician will definitely want to

know the rectal temperature because it

is the most accurate now you don't have

to wait until your baby is crying from a

fever to take the temperature for the

first time there's nothing wrong with

practicing how to just pick a convenient

time when your baby is calm and relaxed

use a digital thermometer most of the

digital ones are designed to be used for

all three standard ways but make sure

the package indicates that it can be

used for the way you want actually for

children under three years it is a good

idea to have two thermometers one for


and one for rectal temperature taking

carefully read the instructions that

come with a thermometer so you'll know

how it works you've probably heard of

the in the ear electronic thermometers

but here's the scoop on these devices

although they are quick and easy for

older infants and young children for

newborns they are an is accurate as the

rectal temperature taken with a digital

thermometer when you call the doctor's

office you'll want to give them the most

accurate information about your baby to

start place your baby down face up on a

firm surface a table or changing table

is fine

loosen the diaper clean the end of the

digital thermometer using a tissue with

rubbing alcohol or soap and cool water

do not wash or rinse it with hot water

then place a small amount of lubricant

on the end such as petroleum jelly then

turn the thermometer on making sure it's

powered up next bend the baby's legs

toward the chest and insert the end 1/2

inch to one inch into the baby's anal

opening do not insert it more than one

inch hold the thermometer in place

loosely holding the baby's legs keep it

there until you hear the beep about a

minute then remove it and check the

digital reading on the display clean the

thermometer after each use wipe it with

tissue and then with rubbing alcohol or

soap and water dry the thermometer

before putting it away it is a good idea

to mark this thermometer for rectal use

so you don't use it anywhere else to

take your baby's temperature under the

arm the axillary temperature lay the

baby down on a firm surface a table a

changing table or a crib is fine

lift one arm up and place the

thermometer under the arm with the tip

pressing in the center of the armpit now

bring the arm down making sure it is in

line with a thermometer gently hold the

arm down until the thermometer beeps

after it beeps take it out and read the

temperature making note of the reading

if the under the arm temperature is over

99 degrees you'll want to verify this

taking your baby's rectal temperature if

the rectal temperature is 1

point four degrees or higher call the

doctor's office and remember to tell

them which way it was taken they'll want

to know that if you are concerned it is

always best to call your doctor rather

than worry having a digital thermometer

in your home and knowing how to use it

are important steps to take

you'll feel better knowing you can take

your baby's temperature if you need to

we hope this at-home newborn care video

has helped look for our other newborn

care videos