A fever is the most common reason why parents contact their child's pediatrician, according to Senders Pediatrics 1. If your baby develops an elevated temperature, it's natural to want to do whatever you can to help her feel better. By choosing the best foods to feed your baby when she has a fever, you can make her more comfortable and speed her recovery.
The normal temperature for a baby is between 97 and 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, according to BabyCenter.com 2. A rectal temperature higher than this indicates your baby has developed a fever. In many cases, it's fine to let your baby's fever run its course because a fever just indicates that his body is fighting off an infection. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you contact your baby's pediatrician if he's under 3 months and his rectal temperature is 100.4 degrees F or more, if he's between 3 and 6 months with a temperature of 101 degrees F or more, or if he's over 6 months with a temperature of 103 degrees F or more -- especially if you notice a change in his activity level.
Foods for a Fever
Feed your feverish baby as much breast milk or formula -- her primary food during her first year -- as she wants. This will help keep her from becoming dehydrated and provide her with nutrients that she needs. Breast milk in particular benefits your baby since it contains antibodies, it's easy to digest and the act of nursing comforts her. If your baby has started solid foods, offer her other age-appropriate solids that have a high-liquid content, such as soups, flavored gelatin or frozen juice Popsicles.
Convincing a baby with a fever to eat can be difficult, especially if he has a fever high enough to warrant a call to his pediatrician 3. A high fever may make your baby feel so miserable that he doesn't want to eat. However, it's important for him to at least taken in some high-liquid foods, since he needs energy to fight the infection and enough fluids to prevent dehydration. Consuming cool liquids can also help make him feel more comfortable by lowering his body temperature naturally.
Follow your baby's lead in determining what to feed her. If she doesn't have much of an appetite, let her eat the foods she wants to -- even if this means that she goes back to just eating breast milk or formula until her fever is gone. Don't force her to eat if she isn't hungry. Babies eat when they need to, and her appetite will come back when she's feeling better. However, if your baby won't eat any breast milk or formula at all, contact her pediatrician, because refusing to eat is a sign of a more serious fever.
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