My son has always been a happy, easygoing kid. But at 4 months, Samuel was really cranky for a few days. I called the pediatrician's office, and the nurse said it sounded like teething. That, though, didn't seem right, so I asked to come in for a doctor's take. I felt awkward. After all, I'd been a mom for a fraction of this nurse's career. Who was I to second-guess someone with so much experience?
What I didn't consider was that I'd developed my own expertise on Samuel. I could differentiate his feed-me wails from his cuddle-me whimpers and his I'm-so-sleepy sobs. Turns out, he wasn't teething. He had an ear infection, one we were able to catch and treat early.
Indeed, parents can help docs diagnose properly. Follow this guide to common childhood illnesses, how to treat them, and when to see the doctor.