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What to Do When Your Baby is Sick For the First Time
If you’ve clicked through to this page you probably have one concern – your baby is sick and you want to do something about it NOW!
If you need answers RIGHT NOW – just scroll to the end of this post for the recap.
But what can you REALLY do when your baby gets a cold?
You can’t give an infant cough drops, regular cough syrup, or even honey and water like you would a toddler or an older child. So I’ve not only listed helpful products especially for infants but also things you already have at home and can implement right away until you have time to run out to the pharmacy for the other stuff.
If you want to be on the safe side and have things on hand in case your baby does get sick (in the middle of the night on a weekend, for example) I’ve put together a little shopping list for you at the bottom of this post.
So let’s cut the fluff and get to the stuff that will help you help your baby feel better.
How to Know When Your Baby is Sick
Here’s how to know when your baby is sick – these are the starting signs of illness.
- behavior changes – if your baby suddenly becomes irritable or lethargic
Asses the Situation
If you’re freaking out because this is your baby’s first cold I totally get it! These guidelines will help you keep calm:
- Everything is fine as long as your baby doesn’t have a high fever (over 104°F / 40°C).
- Everything is fine if she keeps drinking and wetting her diapers.
- If the symptoms don’t start getting better after a few days, it’s time to go to the doctor.
- If she’s running a fever and starts to seem apathetic, go to the doctor or emergency room immediately.
- Most importantly: Keep calm and listen to those mama instincts! It’s a magical power every mama possesses… don’t doubt yourself. If it tells you to go to the doctor or even the emergency room – DO IT!
How to make a baby feel better when sick
- lower the fever
- clear nasal passageways when baby has a stuffy nose
- relieve coughing
- alleviate congestion
FEVER – WHAT TO DO
As you probably know, a fever isn’t always a bad thing. Its purpose is to raise the body’s temperature enough to kill off certain bacteria and viruses that are sensitive to temperature changes (namely the ones that are making us sick!). Nonetheless, you don’t want the fever to get too high for too long.
My doctor said the magic number is 104°F (40°C). If my baby seems too uncomfortable and can’t sleep even though she’s tired, I should administer acetaminophen suppositories to lower the fever. If the fever continues to rise, I should call him. It’s time to go to the emergency room if baby seems apathetic.
If you’re like me and use meds only as a last resort, you can try cool (not ice cold!) washcloths wrapped around baby’s ankles first. This too will help lower the temperature.
My doctor also told me to be mentally prepared for fever cramps, which are supposedly normal for young babies.
STUFFED UP NOSE – WHAT TO DO
There’s nothing more heart-wrenching than a baby who can’t breathe through her nose. She can’t drink properly, can’t sleep soundly, and is just plain miserable.
Breast milk nose spray can be very effective. Put a little breast milk in a clean, empty nose spray bottle and use it as a nose spray. If you don’t have a nose spray bottle, use a dropper. As you probably know, mother’s milk has antibacterial and powerful healing properties.
If your baby is sleeping in her own bed, I highly recommend propping up her mattress with a pillow under one end. That way your baby can sleep slightly inclined and the mucus can drain while she’s sleeping. The drainage sometimes leads to gagging or coughing, but that’s not the kind of coughing you’re worried about.
The Honest Company Breathe Easy Rub for baby’s chest, neck, back, and bottoms of feet really helps. Not only does it help them breathe better, but the lavender oil helps them relax so they can sleep. If you’re concerned about applying it directly to the skin, just rub some on the crib close to where baby’s head is laying.
COUGHING – WHAT TO DO
The coughing you’re worried about is the mucousy bronchial coughing. I can’t think of a better way to describe it, but you know what I mean.
There’s only one thing that I think works even better than Zarbee’s, and that is Prospan. Ivy leaf extract is the main ingredient in both syrups, but Prospan seems to work faster. It is so effective that Thomas and I even use it.
A humidifier is also a wonderful thing to have, especially if the air in your house tends to be on the dry side. It helps alleviate that dry and scratchy throat coughing
That’s the end of my list of sick-baby-helpers. I’ve never needed anything else.
Did I miss anything that you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below! Thanks!
ASSESS THE SITUATION
Listen to your mama instincts to determine if your baby needs immediate medical attention.
Decide how you want to handle a fever and go with that. Just be sure not to let the fever get too high.
- Cold washcloths on ankles and/or
- acetaminophen suppositories
Soft blankets and pajamas mixed with mama’s love and cuddles are so important! But you already know that.
If you’ve read this article because your baby is sick, then I wish you and your sweetie (or sweeties) a big “Get Well Soon!” You can rest assured, this will be over quicker than you think. Babies tend to recover a lot faster than adults (at least that’s been my experience.)
Chin up! It’s rough, but you have everything you need to get through this, mama.
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