Babies are a bundle of joy, amongst other things. They are also a bundle of confusion, chaos, and colourful germs. Since their immune systems are still developing, babies are a bacterial disaster waiting to happen. Most of the time, they fight off germs with resilience and strength thanks to that little immune barrier. But sometimes, the germs fight through and cause a cold to happen.
Now most of the time, a cold is no big deal. Rationally, we know this. Yet when you throw in mom-worry and panic, a cold seems like the biggest deal on the planet. Snotty noses become like alien life forms and a cough sounds like a dinosaur has invaded baby’s chest. New moms are entirely entitled to blow a cold out of proportion, especially when it is baby’s first cold.
We don’t want to state the obvious, but you and your baby are going to get through this cold. It won’t last forever. It might come back next winter, and then go away again. It might put a downer on the mood and make things seem like an even bigger effort. But a cold doesn’t actually have to disrupt every morsel of life.
Nonetheless, baby’s first cold is going to bring some warranted panic with it. You can get through the first cold in a few different styles, from worrying germaphobe mom to chilled out calm mom. Whichever method you choose, here are some survival tips for baby’s first cold to help get you through.
15Use Delicate Tissues
It’s no surprise that babies have sensitive skin. After all, they’ve spent the first 9 months of their life floating around in a sac of protective amniotic fluid without any disturbances. Now they’ve been thrust into the real world and their skin has no outer protection. This is especially true for the skin around baby’s face.
Once the snot bubbles start and the cold takes over, your baby is exactly going to have the reflexes to wipe their own nose. That’s your job, along with all those other thousand and one jobs you have to do. Wiping your baby’s nose is going to become an automatic reaction quickly enough, but it is important to make sure you know what you’re wiping it with. Investing in some soft tissues that are gently and kind on the skin will make a big difference in getting baby through the first cold. Less tears, less snot, and less grotty dry skin on the nose afterwards.
14Have A Reliable Thermometer
Moms have some amazing insight to how their baby is feeling with or without any external monitoring systems. During baby’s first cold is where mom’s instincts really come into play. However, having some reassurance from technology can help confirm what mom’s gut is telling her.
Using a thermometer to gauge your baby’s temperature will help understand the severity. While you can feel the heat radiating from the forehead and cheeks, the number of degrees is actually important. There is nothing worse in a moment of panic while your baby is screaming and upset than to have a dodgy thermometer that doesn’t give an accurate read. What if it is telling you a lower temp? Or higher? Either outcome, it’s not good. Investing in a thermometer that is around $30 or more, a digitalised one that reads from in the ear will be well worth it. This way you can get a good read on the temperature and know when you need to visit the doctor.
13Take Care Of Yourself Too
Germs are grossly contagious and germs love jumping from one member of the family to another, especially when one of those is mom hugging sick baby tight. It’s a cruel irony, but the chances of mom getting sick when baby is are very high.
Putting yourself first and looking after your health is far from selfish. It is actually one of the most important things you can do when you are looking after a sick baby. The more sick you become with a nasty cold, the lesser of a job you can do to take care of baby. You don’t want to compromise your baby’s health any more because you aren’t feeling up to tending to him when he’s crying, or driving to the doctor’s when in need. Look after baby, of course, but also look after yourself. Sitting back with some chamomile tea and resting for ten minutes is a very beneficial thing for you and your baby.
12Hydration Is Your New Best Friend
New moms are constantly on their feet, constantly running a million errands at once, and constantly forgetting to drink enough water. Well, that last one is a habit that needs to stop as soon as baby’s first cold sets in. Hydration is the best defence for the immune system for both mom and baby, and that immune system needs to be strong in the face of baby’s germs.
Drinking 8 standard size glasses of water a day has never been more important. When your baby is suffering from a cold, you really need to be at the top of your game to provide optimal care. So get that water chugging down as often as possible.
It is worth filling up a drink bottle and carrying it around the house for you and your baby, as well as any time you leave the house. Of course, make sure you’re washing said drink bottle even more thoroughly than usual given the germs lingering around the home.
11Remember This Is Immune System Development
While baby’s first cold is something that moms dread and panic over, it is actually an important growing phase. While the bad bacteria and viral strains are having a party filled with snot, coughs, and mucus, the baby’s immune system is learning new skills to fight them off. A cold is essentially building up stronger walls and resistance so that these germs have less chance of getting back in.
So every now and then during your baby’s first cold, take a moment to say ‘hey, well done, immune system, I see you growing there’. It is important to acknowledge that this is a healthy growing stage. No matter how upset it makes you to see your baby crying in discomfort and blowing green snot bubbles, just know they are going to get through, literally stronger than before. If you have to wait until hindsight kicks in after the event to appreciate the immune system growth, that’s totally ok as well. No one will blame you for that!
10Bathing Helps For Fevers
A cold leads to discomfort and frustration in a baby. They don’t understand what’s happening to their body and can’t process the things they are feeling. This leads to tears and screams that can be quite distressing for mom as well.
Once you’ve had enough of the wailing and misery and no other strategies are working, try giving your baby a bath. Keeping the bath water tepid and sponging with cool water can help to reduce a fever as well as the uncomfortable systems of a cold.
Filling the bath with hot, hot water and letting it steam out the bathroom before it cools to a tepid temperature is also a good idea. This way the steam will help clear out baby’s sinuses. Plus, baby’s love splashing around in the water as it is a relaxing and enjoyable distraction. So have some fun music playing and toys on hand for some happy cold relief.
9Ensure You Understand Medicine Dosages
Administering any type of medication for a baby can be very nerve wracking for first time moms. It is so important to get the medicine dosage correct, so it can feel like quite a bit of pressure. When babies have a cold, their temperature tends to spike in the late afternoon and early evening. Annoyingly enough, this is when doctors normally aren’t available, so having some medicine for pain relief is important.
Ibuprofen can be used for baby’s over 6 month, and having some acetaminophen on hand never goes astray. Early on, chat to your doctor about having a dosage chart that you can keep with your medicine stash. This way, in moments of panic, you have a reliable source to look at.
In some cases paediatricians recommend letting a fever run its course if it's under a certain temperature. Other doctors suggest using medicine. This is a chat you should have with your trusted GP and trust your own judgement depending on how your baby is feeling in that moment. Mom does know best, believe it or not!
8Mom’s Hug Is The Best Medicine
The power of a comforting hug filled with love and warmth cannot be overlooked when it comes to a cold. Holding baby close will help to alleviate the stress and concern that comes with not understanding what is happening to the body. Comfort and support can help to calm the brain down so that less anxieties occur.
Of course, babies don’t understand what is going on with their body when their temperature is rising, snot bubbles are flying out in all directions, and the little lungs are coughing all the time. Depending on the age of your baby, you can’t explain what’s going on either in a way that they can understand.
Therefore, giving them a supportive hug will make the world of difference. When your baby is crying in pain or confusion, don’t even bother with the ‘self settling’ method. Rather, just give them the hug and attention they need so that they know you will always be there to help them through the tough times.
7Be Patient With Moodiness
Just like in adults, colds tend to bring mood swings to babies. They get grumpy, cranky, and are more prone to tantrums. And who can blame them really, when their little bodies are fighting through their first real germ battle.
Despite the sleepless nights, the constant worry, and the wishing you could just make it all better, you’re going to have to be very patient with your baby. Taking a deep breath, bracing yourself for tears, and accepting that this won’t last forever is an important mindset to have to get through your baby’s first cold.
Sure, you might have to give up some of your plans, change things around day to day, and accept that you’re going to be a little run down, but taking care of your baby will be immensely worth it. No matter how often you feel frustrated, just remember baby is more frustrated than he can express. Snuggles are going to help you both be more patient with one another.
6A Nasal Aspirator Works Surprisingly Well
A rather unconventional method, a product called Nosa Frida is becoming increasingly popular with babies because the results are pretty undeniable. This is a product clears out snot and mucous, especially when babies are teething.
Basically, it a tube that allows you to literally suck the snot out of your baby’s nose. It is as gross as it sounds, but it is also really effective and practical. It works more efficiently than nasal aspirators. Of course, the main challenge is ensuring your baby is sitting still and not squirming. It isn’t exactly easy to say ‘hey, relax, I just need to suck some snot away from your nose’ and get your baby to react in a logical way.
However, it is worth having one of these on hand during cold and flu season. Easing the congestion, in whatever method you need to use, makes a big difference for your baby’s breathing and oxygen intact, therefore helping them to relax through the cold.
5Humidifiers And Vaporisers Will Save The Day
Unlike vapour rub or any products similar, a humidifier or vaporiser doesn’t require any skin contact. When babies have a cold, everything becomes more heightened and they become more sensitive to things, especially touch. Therefore, having a foreign cream substance rubbed on them, even though it is meant to be therapeutic, might cause anxiety.
Plug in vaporisers work by releasing some menthol scent throughout the room, which helps to clear sinuses and encourage relaxation. You can be in control of how much is released and for how long. Humidifiers are quite similar and they work by literally taking the humidity out of the air, making it easier to breath. You can also use other essential oils in humidifiers and vaporisers, but it is important to check that they are safe for babies. There is plenty of information available on essential oils available online, just be sure to compare and contrast different reviews to get the best product for your sick little baby and help them on the mend.
4Use Just One Pacifier
There is just something that baby’s love about pacifiers. The action of sucking and releasing something in their mouth literally pacifies many senses and stimulates relaxants. It is pretty incredible how shoving a pacifier in baby’s mouth can reduce tears and tantrums almost immediately.
This also works really well for colds. When baby is sick and coughing and sneezing, having a pacifier can help to reduce anxiety and stress around the unknowns of what’s going on in the body. Of course, since the pacifier is heading straight into the action of germ-city, that being the mouth, it is important that hygiene becomes a priority.
There is no paranoia around disposing of pacifiers after just one use or thoroughly disinfecting a thousand times when baby has a cold. Realistically, you don’t want to be removing the pacifier, leaving the germs to stew on there, and then putting it back in your baby’s mouth. Um, just no.
3Soapy Hands Are Healthy Hands
Healthy hygiene practices should be done all year round, but of course more attention is drawn to them when snot starts flying out of baby’s nose for the first time. Bacteria are part of life and there are both good and bad bacterias. It’s when these are in an imbalance that things start going wrong. And that is what happens when baby gets a cold, the bad bacteria are dominating.
Obviously, you want to deal with the current cold, but you can also be proactive about not letting more bad bacteria in once the immune system is already compromised. Therefore, picking up the slack on hygiene standards is more important than ever.
Washing your hands thoroughly is the top of this list. Getting some really good quality hand soap, scrubbing up between the fingers, and rinsing thoroughly should not be overlooked when your baby has a cold. Also, these practices of healthy, soapy hands should be passed onto baby so that they don’t compromise their own immune system again later on.
2Limit Visitors And Potential Germs
As much as having family over can be great, and sometimes a hug from grandma can be just as therapeutic as a mom hug, there are certain limits on visits once baby has a cold. It isn’t rude or disrespectful to cancel plans or bail on someone when the baby is sick – any good friend or family member will simply be understanding.
Of course, you don’t want to be too over the top and paranoid and make everyone where a facial mask or spray themselves with antibacterial stuff on arrival. However, cutting back on a few social activities and having less people over during the cold is totally acceptable. This way, you and baby get to rest and take care of yourself. It also limits exposure to new germs coming into an already compromised immune system. Plus, no one really wants to play with the snotty baby so just send a pic of a good, green snot bubble if your friends think you’re ditching them for no reason.
1Consider The Germy Waiting Room
Of course, if things are getting out of control, go see the doctor. This means when the fever is sky rocketing and the baby is becoming a hot potato, or if the crying has literally become uncontrollable on a 24 hour streak. However, the doctor should be a last resort when baby has the common cold.
A cold is basically when germs have broken down the immune system and infiltrated the inside. This means that there is a heightened risk of more germs getting through the weakened barrier. Therefore, taking baby into a doctor’s waiting room full of germs isn’t ideal.
If you do have to take your baby to do the doctor (which your judgement and instinct will help you decide in the moment), book an appointment and make sure you get there right on the appointment time. Since doctors are always late anyway, don’t bother being too early just so you can sit in the germ-fest longer than you need to.
Sources: Todaysparent.com, Thestir.cafemom.com, Babycentre.com, Bugchild.com
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