Having a sick baby is tough. ESPECIALLY as a first time mother. Everything is new, scary and unfamiliar. The first time my baby got sick and vomited, I freaked out and took him straight to the children’s hospital. As a parent, you feel helpless and not knowing what to do or what to expect is nerve wrecking and stressful to say the least. Recently, he got sick for the second time. Our little boy spent the whole day and night before Thanksgiving with a fever. The fever did not break until the end of Thanksgiving day. Those were the longest 48 hours of my life. Besides the fever, he had congestion that sparked up at night. Congestion and babies are a bad mix especially when they don’t know how to breathe from their mouth yet. They freak out when they can’t breathe and hysterically cry which makes the congestion much worse! Through my experience I have found a few things that have helped me keep his cold at bay.
Food and Sleep!
I believe my breastmilk has helped my baby tremendously when it comes to having a strong immune system and fighting off illnesses but in general making sure your baby is well hydrated, fed and well rested is key to a fast recovery.
Sleeping Baby at 45 Degree Angle.
I co-sleep, so I prop myself up at a 45 degree angle using extra pillows and sleep with baby beside me on my arm. This allows me to monitor him carefully throughout the night and assure that he is propped up and able to breathe easily. For parents who do not co-sleep, there are angled pillows to safely place under the baby’s mattress as well as other sleeping devices that are helpful.
Saline Drops / Nasal Aspirator
I swear by saline drops! They are heaven sent! Lay baby down and put a few drops into each nostril. The drops are better than the spray mist. Wait about 30 seconds and then use a bulb syringe or nasal aspirator to suction out any secretions. I recommend doing this a couple of times throughout the day especially before feedings.
Baby Vicks Vapor Rub.
Spread a small amount of vapor rub on baby’s chest and back before bed and through out the day if needed. Some people rub some on the soles of baby’s feet and cover with socks but I found that when my baby has a fever I prefer to not put socks on him. Also, I place the rub on areas he can’t touch or get into his mouth. This helps him breathe better when he is congested.
Rectal thermometers are best for infants! A rectal temperature less than 100.4 is considered normal. I take my child’s temperature about every ten minutes when he has fever (when it is higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit) and with two different kinds of thermometers just to be safe… call me excessive haha! It is important to not let a baby’s fever spike too high as it can be extremely dangerous. Do not cover baby in warm clothes when a fever is present.
To cool him down, I wet a little towel with water (never alcohol) and quickly air it out so that it can get cold on its own and pass the wet towel around his body specifically his forehead, back of neck, under arms, back, groin, and behind his knees. This helps bring the fever down immediately. Repeat a few times especially if the fever rises again. Never let your baby’s fever rise too high as it is dangerous for baby’s to have a high fever.
These are great for reducing a fever and an alternative to medicine. Our bodies immune system creates fevers to recruit white blood cells in order to fight infection. It is important to keep the fever down but not diminish it completely.