Keep cool + carry on: What mamas need to know about baby fevers

How high a fever is too high? We’ve got answers. Plus, what do you do if your little one spikes a temp?

Keep cool + carry on: What mamas need to know about baby fevers

No mama likes to see their little one suffering from a fever, so it’s important to know a few basic facts about what to look for when your baby spikes a temp—and when to worry.

Baby’s feeling just fine right now? Happy dance! Pin this one for later. ?

Here’s what you need to know.

What are the common causes of a fever in a baby?

1. Vaccines—

That boo boo can sting in more ways than one!


Pediatricians recommend monitoring your little one post-vaccination for any signs of a reaction—a mild fever (anything above 100.4 rectally) occurs in some children 12 to 48 hours after the vaccine is given. Slight fevers are to be expected, but for anything over 102*, call your doctor.

2. Teething—

Teething bites.

Studies show that teething may cause an elevation in body temperature, but not one high enough to be considered “fever” territory—generally considered to be anything over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. So watch that temp, and put out some frozen chew toys out for baby to gnaw on.


3. Infection

Keep those bugs away from me!

Most true fevers in infants are the result of her work to battle infections she’s encountered in her environment.

As your little one’s immune system builds itself during the first years of baby’s life, she’ll likely experience a lot of bugs that work their way through her system. She got many immunities to infection and disease from you during gestation and any time you spent breastfeeding (thanks, mama!) but she’ll continue to adapt as she gets her vaccines and builds her own independent immune system.

Join Motherly

What can I do to help baby?

Motherly’s expert pediatricians recommend the following strategies when your little one is coping with fever—

Dress in light, loose layers

Bathe your little one in tepid water

Give appropriate doses of fever medication

Call your doctor or nurse’s line to update medical staff as needed (see below)

Monitor baby’s temperature with a highly accurate thermometer—we love this one from Kinsa. (Use promo code MOTHERLY15 for 15% off any Kinsa product.)

When should I worry—or call the doctor?

If your infant is 8 weeks or younger and has a rectal temperature of 100.4 degrees (38 degrees Celsius) or higher, call your doctor right away -- this is considered a medical emergency.

Infants age 7 weeks to 3 months with a fever over 101 warrant an appointment with your doctor within the next several hours.

During this early period of infancy while your baby’s immune system is still developing, she requires much more attention during fever illnesses than she will during later months, so make sure you touch base with a health care provider asap.

“For infants after three months, there is less reason to worry,” Dr. Sears advises.

Here are AAP fever guidelines for infants and toddlers, age 3-24 months—

100.4-101 degrees: Don’t panic —slight fevers are common among infants—vaccinations and even mild viral illnesses can be to blame! Give your baby the correct dosage of a fever reducer (ask your doctor during your next check up!) and use your thermometer to check again in an hour after giving the medication.

102-103 degrees: Dress your baby in something cool and breezy and give your pediatrician a call. You might be able to avoid an unnecessary trip to the doctor’s office with their advice. It will likely include a fever reducer (Motrin or Tylenol) and retaking baby’s temperature in an hour.

104 or higher, but comes down with treatment: Child fevers of 104 degrees or higher that quickly come down to 100 or 101 degrees with the treatment measures are worrisome but not necessarily medical emergencies. If your child is comfortable when the fever comes down and you can keep the temperature down overnight, you can likely wait to call your doctor until the morning.

Fevers of 104 or higher that don’t come down with treatment: High fevers that don’t come down to 101 or 102 (38.3 to 38.9 Celsius) with treatment measures, or fevers that reach as high as 106-106 degrees require immediate medical attention. Your doctor can help you figure out if your child needs to be seen immediately and can also help get your little one comfortable again, so get in touch quickly.

“Some children are happy and playful with fevers of 104 – and this canbe reassuring that they likely do not have a serious infection. On the other hand, a fever of 101 can beworrisome, if your child is lethargic and not responding to you appropriately. Howyour child looks and is acting, is more important than the number on thethermometer,” says Dr. Tiffany Otto Knipe, MD, FAAP and founder of Washington Market Pediatrics.

And remember: You know your child best. If she is showing signs of lethargy, irritability, or other troubling symptoms regardless of temperature, make sure you touch base with your pediatrician.

You’ve got this, mama. Get better, little one! ?

This article is sponsored by Kinsa. Use promo code MOTHERLY15 for 15% off any Kinsa product.

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.

Keep reading Show less

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

Keep reading Show less