8 Things to Do When Your Baby Is Sick (and 3 Things to Avoid)
New parent red alert! Your sweet baby is suddenly sniffling, fussing, feeling feverish and definitely not sleeping. Cold and flu season is almost here—and when it inevitably hits your house, here’s your game plan.
DO: Relax the sleep schedule
When your baby isn’t feeling 100 percent, sleep is tough—for them and for you. And no matter how slavish you’ve been to your sleep training schedule, for now, the rules go out the window. Try a stroller nap. A car-seat nap. A nap in your arms. Kick your partner out of bed and co-sleep with your sickie (safely, of course). Whatever it takes to get that little one some rest.
DO: Embrace the Nosefrida
It’s probably the most joked about item at any baby shower, but trust us: When congestion is making your little guy miserable, this crazy, Swedish “snot sucker” is suddenly the most genius invention in the whole entire world. (Yes, you do suck out the snot. No, it doesn’t go into your mouth.)
DO: Keep calm and nurse on
If your sick baby is still breastfeeding, great—your milk is nutrient-packed, easier to digest than just about anything else and even has antibodies that help fight viruses.
DO: Call the doctor
You’re not being silly. You’re not overreacting. Just pick up the phone. Your pediatrician is there to dish out solid advice and peace of mind. (And, trust us, she’s seen crazier.)
DO: Prop baby upright
Stuffy little noses and painful earaches feel even worse for your baby when she’s laying flat. If the old elevate-one-end-of-the-crib trick isn’t working (try a stack of books under two of the legs), you and your partner may need to trade off on glider/rocker duty throughout the night.
DO: Make the most of bath time
A tepid bath or even a washcloth wipe-down can help bring down a fever, and a warm-water soak is great for loosening congestion. (Though you’ll still want to keep the item mentioned in #2 nearby.)
DO: Create a soothing vibe
This is not the time for a house full of visitors, a loud TV or a test-drive of your new Rumba. Dim the lights, put on baby’s favorite soft music and snuggle up with a book.
DO: Take vitamin C
It might feel like an afterthought, but you need to keep yourself healthy. Especially if your child is in daycare, germs are going to find their way into your house more often now—so eat nutritious food, become a hand-washing fiend and try to get a reasonable amount of sleep. (We know, we know. We said “try.”)
DON’T: Troll the mommy chat rooms
Again, you need sleep. You don’t need to pore over a four-year-old Australian thread about one mom’s struggles with a cool-mist vaporizer you can’t even buy in the States.
DON’T: Call your doctor 12 times
She said not to worry unless the fever lasts more than five days. It’s been two days. So put down the phone and channel your energies into soothing your little one.
DON’T: Freak out
Chances are, this is one of dozens of colds, flus and earaches you’ll contend with as your baby grows up. You’ve consulted with your doctor, administered the Tylenol and you’re doing all you can to help your baby mend. Say it with us: Brighter days are ahead.