If you’re a first-time parent, you don’t have much—or any—experience looking after a young child. You may be anxious about how you’ll cope if your baby suddenly gets ill and your GP’s surgery is closed.
You know that you can take your baby to the hospital if they get seriously ill, but you may doubt your ability to manage more minor problems.
You may also be concerned that you won’t know whether your child needs immediate medical attention or can be treated at home or when the surgery opens again. A little pre-planning will put your mind at rest.
1. Talk to Your GP
Your GP isn’t just there to deal with immediate medical problems. They’ll also be happy to talk through your concerns. So next time your baby has an appointment, explain your worries to your doctor.
They can give you basic information on common baby illnesses and how to identify and deal with them. They may also recommend a reputable health website or a baby care book that will give you more information.
Your GP can also give you examples of when an ill baby needs immediate medical attention and when it can wait. For example, if your baby has a cold, then it may have a slightly raised temperature. This is normal and can be treated at home.
However, if your baby has a very high temperature combined with other symptoms such as breathing difficulties, vomiting or general lethargy, then your baby needs more immediate help. Your GP can’t cover everything that might happen, but they can help you build a basic knowledge base.
2. Stock Up Your Medicine Cabinet
If your baby gets ill in the night or over a weekend, then you might not be able to easily get hold of medication. It’s a good idea to stock up your medicine cabinet in advance to cover common illnesses or complaints. This way, you have what you need to hand.
For example, make sure you have the following at home:
- A thermometer that can be easily used on babies. Ear or forehead digital or strip thermometers are both good options.
- A liquid pain medication designed for babies.
- A colic medication like gripe water.
- A teething gel or teething aid.
- A cream for nappy rash and/or insect bites or stings.
While your baby may be too young to hurt itself, it’s also a good idea to have a basic supply of an antiseptic cream, plasters and bandages just in case your baby does get a cut or a scrape.
Make sure to keep your supplies topped up if you use them. You should also periodically check the dates on any medications you keep in your cabinet and replace out-of-date products when you need to.
3. Find an After-Hours Doctor Service
Sometimes, you’re going to need more immediate professional medical help if your baby is ill but not sick enough for a hospital visit. To prepare for this, make sure you know how to contact an after-hours doctor or medical service.
Your GP’s surgery may run their own after-hours service. If they do, note down the phone number and the hours that the service operates. Keep this information in a safe and easily accessible place.
It’s also worth having a back-up in case your GP’s service is busy or unavailable when you need it. For example, the Hello Home Doctor Service is there for you if your baby is ill out of surgery hours and your GP isn’t available.
Our doctors make home visits in the evenings, at night and over weekends and holidays. If your baby is ill and you need back-up medical support, advice and treatment, contact us.