Poor little one. And poor you. When you have a sick baby, don't you just want a friend or a sister or a mom around to help make all of the decisions. Someone to help talk it out. Its hard to know because every fever and every cough is slightly different...
Growing up, my Grandpa was a doctor, so we had a terrible habit of calling Grandpa and only heading to the hospital when it was desperate. I think this mentality has spilled over into how I do things. So, I guess this is as good a place as any to stick in a disclaimer - I'm not a doctor and have no doctoring degree. I'm just giving my own advice - and I'm just an Angie, an Angie with kids, giving the best advice I can.
My kids seem to get fevers with teething and immunizations and sometimes colds and on and on. So, I give my kids Tylenol right away when they get a fever. And then I wait and watch. And this is my big determining factor - if the fever breaks fairly well with medicine I don't go in. The fever will probably last several days (meaning on and off and with Tylenol doses as directed). It helps me to remember that a fever is the body's way of trying to get rid of illnesses - so its not always so bad.
I, personally, would rather stay away from doctor's office which is usually a nightmare - the waiting, the other sick kids, and of course the waiting some more. If its a fever and something more - I still wait and watch for at least three days. But if you're worried and the fever won't break - go in - its better to be safe than sorry.
But, here's one trick - did you know if you call your doctor and ask for a prescription over the phone - they will usually give you one! So, if you know they need something - call and firmly ask for a prescription - if you waffle they probably won't do it! But, its nice to know its an option!
What does anyone else use to decide?
Oh, and as for sleeping through the night - I'd throw all previous rules out the window for sick babies. Just help them and cuddle them. If they are waking up because they are sick - just help soothe them. If they really are sick it won't throw off sleep and such. Its just about getting through.
Painting: L'Infirmierre by Beatrice How