Taking care of a sick baby has got to be one of toughest things parents endure. In fact, I’d argue that sometimes its even harder for us than it is for them. Our little ones can’t tell us what’s hurting them and we are so limited in our ways to make them comfortable.
My baby girl is just now feeling better after her first full blown cold. What started out as a runny nose turned into an entire week of sneezing, screaming, crying, and snuggling. It was rough but we survived.
This is how.
Bottles Everywhere. It’s tough keeping little ones hydrated! Since I’m not producing as much breast milk as I used to (which is full of the antibodies she needs) I try to always have alternatives nearby. This translates to plenty of (defrosted) breast milk and Pedialyte in the fridge, water bottles in her bedroom and in ours, and spare bottles in both cars just in case. So no matter where we are we always have something for her to drink.
Plan ahead. Whether it’s figuring out the feeding/sleeping schedules or allocating middle of the night responsibilities, planning ahead will save you the stress when your baby’s routine to become erratic. It also enables you to find balance with your partner rather than one person doing all the work. Double checking your supply of (sick) baby-friendly foods and infant ibuprofen is also a good idea.
Swings work wonders. Indoor swings, outdoor swings, swings in doorways, swings that vibrate. No matter which you choose swings are awesome for sick babies. Runny nose? A swinging will help it drain. Can’t go outside? An indoor swing (or Johnny Jump Up) is great for shaking all of the wiggles out. Going stir crazy? A short walk to a local playground is a great way to get some fresh air without a whole lot of interaction. And need a break from all the one-on-one time? Find some swings in the corner of a busy playground. The other kids will hold your baby’s attention much longer than you can. Just don’t forget the Kleenex and sanitizer!
Sleep, sleep, and more sleep. It may be the only upside to caring for sick babies. They tend to sleep a lot more (meaning more of a break for you). Once they start rubbing their eyes try laying them down. Even if they only sleep for 20 minutes you’re giving them the opportunities their little bodies need to rest and recover.
Treat Yourself to Dinner. Chances are your little one is going to be a super picky eater if she’s in the mood to eat anything at all (Ella has survived the last week on bananas, Cheerios, and yogurt). So if you’re feeling ambitious I encourage you to pack up your little bundle of sickness and make a quick run out to pick up dinner. A giant pre-made salad from a local deli? Some chicken lettuce wraps from your favorite Chinese restaurant? Since I rarely focus on my meals I try to treat myself to something yummy that I’d never make at home. This goes for dessert too! When was the last time you ordered a decadent slice of apple pie to go? It’s pretty awesome at 2 am when you’ve got a screaming, slobbering sick baby in your lap.
I mean Mamas deserve to be taken care of too, right? 🙂
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