Wednesday, October 30, 2013

10 tools & tips to help your baby when they have a cold!

Allie just had a cold last week and is finally getting over it. It got me to remembering how I felt so helpless with the first one she had. She was almost 4 months old and it was right after her first week at daycare and I felt so stressed and panicked over it. Seeing my sweet baby feeling so cruddy, having a hard time nursing and sleeping cause she had so much mucus and was just a miserable time full of a lot of tears (for us both). I felt so worthless by not knowing what I could really do to ease her suffering besides Tylenol and lots of love.

She's gotten a few more colds since then (and thankfully got over her last one pretty quickly), and while its still miserable seeing her not feeling good, thanks to some advice from our doctor, other experienced mothers, family nurses and some discoveries of our own, we've finally got the comforting and healing routine down a little better!.

So in case you are faced with a baby with a cold - here are the tools and tips that we rely on when she's got a cold:

1) We use and love the Exergen’s Temporal Artery Thermometer (also called a forehead thermometer). Its quick, non-obtrusive when you have a sleeping baby in your arms you don't want to wake, and safer (than taking a rectal temp). Plus its accurate. If she has a slight fever, we use baby Tylenol per the recommended dosage. (We use the old pacifier bait-n-switch....put the pacifier close to her mouth, she'd open for it, we sneak in and squirt the meds, then put in the paci as a chaser. Less mess, no waste!) If she doesn't have a fever, I still check pretty frequently, cause I'm a worried mess ha ha. She's so cute now, she knows what I do with it so she leans her little forehead forward like, "ok time for mom to scan my head..again."

2) Saline Spray! Our doctor recommended this to us after the first cold and we have found it definitely helps her get over the cold faster and helps her breathe easier at the time. We warm it in the bottle warmer (its less shocking that way), or in a rush just use it at room temp. We give her a squirt in each nostril while she's laying on her back. It helps flush out the mucus and crud. We use this several times a day and it helps sooo much. (Now that she's older she knows it's coming so she gets a little squirmy, so we'll do it on ourselves first which she thinks is hysterical and then distract her with crazy noises or goofy songs )

3) The Nosefrida snot sucker. The grossest but most effective snot sucker ever. The first time I used it I almost gagged, but when I saw how much snot came out vs. using the bulb...and how my baby was instantly able to breathe better and nurse better, I declared it the best invention ever. (Somebody alert the media! Best. Baby. Invention. Ever.)

If you're not familiar with one - there's a tube you suck attached to a canister, so its your own suction power and duration getting the snot out. And no, you don't suck up boogers, there's a filter. :) So unlike the bulb thing they give you at the hospital, there's a stronger and longer suction so you actually get crud out and you don't hurt their little noses.

The Nosefrida is super gross at first (you get used to it....and then you get excited when you see how much you get out. Being a parent is gross. ha ha)....but its soo super helpful (and easy to clean). This should definitely be in your arsenal of baby gear! We don't use it all day long cause we don't want to aggravate her - especially if she has sinus pressure - mostly right before a feeding so she's able to nurse better or right after a particularly big sneeze.

*Tip: gently occlude (close) one nostril with your finger while you're sucking out the other nostril, it helps increase the power. (Much like when you blow your own nose) And remember to be gentle when you use it and don't go too long, you don't want to power vac their brains out/make it painful.

So yeah, the NoseFrida is awesome. It's on my top ten baby products I couldn't live without! :)

4) A warm bath with some lavender baby soap. Forget the "tepid baths" the ol' wives tell you (Who wants to take a cold bath when you're all achy and sick?) I run a nice warm/almost hot bath, some bubbles, and instantly my cranky, fussy baby is sooo happy. Most times I'll run the bath in our big tub, get in there with her and hold her on my lap or legs while she just stretches out like she's at a day-spa and kickles her little feet. It's a relaxing time for me (inevitably I've been up all night with her) and for her, warm, deep water, momma making all the toys fun and a nice break from all the snot and agony.

5) Baby Vapor Rub. We slather this all over her chest, back and feet after bathes, before bed, when she first is awake (being careful that she has a diaper on first, I imagine it would burn if it got in the nether regions!). It helps with her congestion and cough and the "baby" rub has milder and additional oils in it (like lavender and rosemary), so they just smell all wonderful and snuggly.

6) Humidifier in the room. We put some eucalyptus oil in the water and crank this sucker on high - helps them breathe if they're congested. By now the whole house smells of eucalyptus. No getting around it.

7) Put her to sleep at an incline - do whatever we can to help her sleep comfortably: we raise the mattress in her pack-n-play, put her to sleep in her swing, hold her while she sleeps in our arms, let her nap in a little elevated blanket nest (this is while she's supervised with me right next to her - so she doesn't roll/suffocate, obviously safety first. We wouldn't do this at night). The better sleep she gets, the faster she gets over the cold. We noticed a huge difference in how much she coughs and wakes up when she's lying flat versus when she's raised up a bit.

summer cold, napping on the couch in a little elevated blanket nest

8) Boogie wipes for the runny nose. These things are awesome! I love the grape scented ones - very mild but so yummy smelling. (Although if you hate grape, you probably won't like. I think the clean-scented ones smell like someone sprayed febreeze up my nose - instant head ache - so we stick with the grape). Or use aloe vera kleenex, or a soft burp cloth to dab runny noses. We try not to be at her nose all the time - that just makes her crankier and her nose raw - but when we use the boogie wipes she seems not to mind as much.

9) Vitamin C for me. I'm nursing, so when she's got a cold I try and double up on my vitamin C to make sure that my body has the optimal amount it needs, so that its not depleted from my breastmilk and so she gets the amount she needs. Plus it helps prevent me from getting her cold too (cause even when she's all snotty, I still find myself covering her with love and kisses and then think, "what am I doing?!" I can't help it!)

10) Lots of cuddling (and patience). True to cliche, when babies are sick they just want to be held. The moment we'd try to put her down in front of toys or a book, to try and do something productive she'd start crying. So now we don't worry about the house getting a little messy, the laundry piling up, we just try and weather the storm til she's better and take turns holding her. (Or if my husband is working/its just me - I'll wear her in the carrier to get the necessary things done). It gets frustrating at times for sure, but I just try and remember that "this too shall pass" and enjoy the moments of holding my little one in my arms, even if she's a fussy little one, because before I know it she'll be outta my arms.

Sleeping on my lap, who cares about the laundry. Look at my sweet angel.
If you have a baby who's sick, I know its rough and stressful, you are not alone in feeling helpless - anything you do to increase their comfort even marginally is doing a good job! Just keep doing the best you can and remember this too shall pass. And I hope some of these tips help.

If you have any fabulous tips that help your little ones when they are sick I'd love to hear!


*Disclaimer: please note I'm not a health professional, just a mom sharing her experiences. You should always consult your pediatrician or medical professional when your child is displaying symptoms of a cold and/or in pain and use your own judgement to do what's safest and best for your child. I'm also not paid to try any of these products, these are just my fav products that I'd recommend to any mom*

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