In this study we present a design for a multi-frequency microwave radiometer aimed at prolonged monitoring of deep brain temperature in newborn infants and suitable for use during hypothermic neural rescue therapy. We identify appropriate hardware to measure brightness temperature and evaluate the accuracy of the measurements. We describe a method to estimate the tissue temperature distribution from measured brightness temperatures which uses the results of numerical simulations of the tissue temperature as well as the propagation of the microwaves in a realistic detailed three-dimensional infant head model. The temperature retrieval method is then used to evaluate how the statistical fluctuations in the measured brightness temperatures limit the confidence interval for the estimated temperature: for an 18 ?C temperature differential between cooled surface and deep brain we found a standard error in the estimated central brain temperature of 0.75 ?C. Evaluation of the systematic errors arising from inaccuracies in model parameters showed that realistic deviations in tissue parameters have little impact compared to uncertainty in the thickness of the bolus between the receiving antenna and the infant's head or in the skull thickness. This highlights the need to pay particular attention to these latter parameters in future practical implementation of the technique.