Parents might get nervous while taking newborn temperature, although taking the temperature is advised when the child has fever or they act cranky, has a hot or pale skin, there are rashes, the skin looks flushed or there is a nasal discharge. Additionally, you are advised to measure the baby temperature if the child refuses to eat, pulls the ears, thrashes things, throws up, has an unusual stool or diarrhea or cries intensely.
If you feel that the baby has been overheated or overdressed, it is best to take a few clothes off the baby and then take the temperature after half an hour.
In case the newborn temperature is less than 97.6 degrees F, and feels cool to your touch, warm them up with an additional layer of clothes and retake their body temperature.
You may even put them close to you until they warm up. It is best to wait for 20 minutes after bath to get the correct reading for baby temperature. The temperature of newborns can be taken with a digital thermometer for appropriate reading and sensing of their body.
It is advisable not to use glass thermometers as they can be incorrect due to the presence of mercury.
The benefit of digital thermometers is that they offer an unambiguous temperature display, and can be used easily, swiftly and precisely. The newborn temperature can be taken axillary, rectally or orally. It is best to purchase 2 thermometers for oral and rectal purposes.
If you are planning to use ear thermometers, your baby should be over 3 months old because the ear canals of infants may contain fluids which give inaccurate baby temperature reading.
A rectal thermometer is recommended until 4 months since up to this time, this method is most accurate. Axillary methods are not always accurate and should be backed with rectal temperature reading.
Taking rectal temperature
For this, you need a suitable digital thermometer with a flexible tip which can be inserted deep into the rectum. Inserting too far can cause perforation. After coating the end with petroleum jelly, place your child on the floor with bottoms up or legs up as if you were changing diapers.
Take newborn temperature by slowly inserting the thermometer into the rectum, by about 0.5 inches. Hold it there until it beeps, remove it and note the baby temperature. Disinfect the thermometer by rubbing alcohol on the tip. The normal rectal temperature is 100.2 degrees F or less.
The normal under arm or axillary temperature is between 97.6 and 99 degrees F. it is the most common method of taking newborn temperature. Oral temperatures for kids generally range below 99.5 degrees F. for this, you should wait 30 minutes after your child has eaten or drunk anything.
The ideal way of taking oral baby temperature is by placing the thermometer using the lips, not the teeth. The thermometer should be placed at one side of the tongue. Breathing should be done through the nose. Parents using ear thermometers should insert them exactly as required. If not, practice to get an accurate reading.