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Behavior Changes to Watch For

A change in behavior may be one of the first signs of illness in a newborn. Although a baby's activity level, appetite, and cries normally vary from day to day, even hour to hour, a distinct change in any of these areas may signal illness.

Generally, if your baby is alert and active when awake, is feeding well, and can be comforted when crying, occasional differences in these areas are normal. Consult your baby's physician if you have concerns about your baby's behavior. Some behavior changes may indicate an illness is present including the following:

  • Listlessness or Lethargy
    Lethargic or listless babies appear to have little or no energy, are drowsy or sluggish, and may sleep longer than usual. They may be hard to wake for feedings and even when awake, are not alert or attentive to sounds and visual stimulation. Sometimes, this can develop slowly and a parent may not notice the gradual change. Lethargy may be a sign of infection or other conditions such as low blood glucose (sugar). Consult your baby's physician if your baby's becomes lethargic or has a change in activity level.
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