When should I call the doctor once my baby is home from the NICU?

It is recommended to call a doctor within a week of going home from the NICU and maintaining communication with your pediatrician.

Intermountain Registered Dietitians
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

Once home from the NICU, call your baby’s doctor if your baby has any of the following:

  • Unstable or abnormal temperature—a baby’s normal temperature (armpit) is 97.7°F (36.5°C) to 99.5°F (37.5°C)
  • Decreased temperature where baby does not warm up with swaddling and holding
  • Sunken fontanels (fontanels are the “soft spots” on a baby’s skull)
  • Listlessness or weakness, and baby not very responsive
  • Jitteriness or shakiness
  • Extreme irritability or inability to be calmed for long periods
  • Decrease in appetite
  • More than one dry diaper in a row (in about 6 hours)
  • Significantly fewer messy diapers than usual
  • Diarrhea, or stool that’s watery, green, foul-smelling, or contains mucus or blood
  • Increase in respiratory effort (breathing fast, wheezing, coughing, or having any difficulty breathing)
  • Increase in apnea (temporary pauses in breathing) and bradycardia (slow heart rate)
  • Bad choking episode
  • Vomiting more than occasionally, or vomit that is green or bloody
  • Increased oxygen needs
  • Discoloration of the skin, especially blue, gray, or yellow discoloration
  • Thrush (white spots in mouth that look like formula but won’t come off with your finger)

Continue Learning about Caring For A Premature Baby

How can pumping breast milk help my premature baby?
Intermountain HealthcareIntermountain Healthcare
Pumping will help bring in a good supply of milk, so your baby won’t have to work so hard. Start...
More Answers
What should I keep in mind while taking my premature baby home?
Deborah Raines, MSNDeborah Raines, MSN
When a baby goes home from the NICU they may have some special needs. General things that parents ne...
More Answers
What are some tips for tummy time for NICU babies?
Intermountain Registered DietitiansIntermountain Registered Dietitians
Follow these tummy time tips for your NICU baby: Do it early. Begin giving your baby some tummy ...
More Answers
How can I make it easier to feed my premature baby?
Sandra CarrollSandra Carroll
Preemies come with a unique set of feeding problems. Differences arise depending upon what gestation...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.