New Momma Musings

Ah-choo! Ah-choo!

D-man’s typical sneezing pattern (the normal newborn clearing of the nasal passages) is two sneezes. But when he was just shy of 3 months we heard single sneezes, then sets of 3 or 4. I could tell right away that something was off, but the new and scared momma in me was hoping it would magically disappear. Later that day, we took his temperature and sure enough, he was at 99.8.

AHHHHHH! My newborn baby has a fever and I have no idea what to do! Ok. I’m exaggerating a little. I have some idea of what to do (and I realize it wasn’t actually a true fever), but I really don’t want to see my baby sick. D-man’s first cold was super scary for me even though it was incredibly minor for him.

So, when you see an elevated temp for the first time, hear the new sneezing pattern, or see green goo running down your child’s face, take a deep breath and create your action plan. Here is what mine looked like.

1. Call the doctor. If your pediatrician’s office gives you a hard time for calling too often, or doesn’t get back to you quickly, find a new doctor. I have been so impressed with the return time on phone calls and the friendliness of both the regular office staff and the after hours phone staff at D-man’s pediatrician’s office. They always make me feel completely validated for calling and encourage me to call back if I need anything at all. In this case, D-man’s temperature was first elevated after hours (of course), so the nurse gave me some over-the-phone advice with the recommendation to go to the office in the morning since it was his first sickness.

2. Avoid flat lying positions. We kept him slightly reclined or upright rather than flat on his back. This meant there was lots of cuddling (which was totally fine with me!). We put a towel under his crib mattress to elevate him when he slept. I was a bit nervous about this due to all of the advice that warns against putting anything in the crib, but as long as the towel is UNDER the mattress, it is safe for baby. Whether or not this is actually helpful, I have yet to decide. Each morning, D-man had managed to slide down the incline and was back to flat lying. Maybe it helped for a little while?

3. Use moisture to break up congestion. We did this in two ways. Each morning and night D-man got a steam bath. My husband or I would hold him in the bathroom with the hot water in the shower on full blast for about 10 minutes. This actually seemed to be one of the things that worked best for us, and we continued doing at least one steam a day for most of the winter. The second way we used moisture was by putting a cool mist humidifier in D-man’s room. If you go this route, be sure to keep it clean! A dirty humidifier can actually do more harm than good. When choosing a humidifier, pay close attention to the sound that is put off as well as any light that stays on while the machine is in use. I suggest shopping somewhere other than the “baby stores” for this because you will find many more options. We went through three until we found one that worked well in his room.cold

4. Stay Hydrated. This is very important. Some parenting/sleep training techniques call for no deviations from the schedule, even when sick, but I chose to throw his schedule out the window with this first cold (not that we had a fantastic schedule to begin with). I fed him whenever he showed any interest in eating to be sure he stayed hydrated. This ended up being one or two extra feedings a day and he did get back to normal sleeping patterns once the cold was gone. I am by no means saying this deviation from schedule is the best way to do it, but it worked for us! If you are nursing, be sure to keep yourself hydrated as well!

5. NoseFrida! We LOVE this simple (some would call disgusting) piece of baby gear. Prior to having a baby with congestion, I SWORE I would NEVER use such a thing. Suck my baby’s snot from his nose using my mouth? YUUUCK! After having a baby with congestion, I am sold. We brought home the bulb syringe aspirator from the hospital but it just wasn’t getting his mucus out. If you didn’t bring the aspirator home, you kind of lost out on that one. Don’t bother buying one from the drug store–those tiny things are not worth the money. If you can’t stomach the NoseFrida, the hospital bulbs are the next best thing. However, I highly recommend the NoseFrida. Basically, it is a tube where you put one end on the baby’s nostril and the other in your mouth and suck! There is a filter so that no mucus gets in your mouth, but the first time can be a little scary! Once we all got used to using it, we discovered that was the best way for us to get the mucus out (after putting a couple drops of saline in each nostril). And in a very strange way, it’s a nice sense of accomplishment to see how well you cleared out your baby’s nose (I am well aware of how twisted and gross that sounds, but trust me, try it and you’ll see!). One piece of advice with either suction method: don’t do it unless they sound congested (some recommend not doing it unless you can see the congestion). If you suction too often, it can dry out their nasal passages, which is counter-productive. Using a couple of drops of saline prior to sucking helps the passages remain moist.

6. Time and Love. Trying to be patient while letting this first little virus run it’s course (while doing the above things) is about all that you can do. Lots of cuddles and love for Baby and in a few days, you should all be on the mend (Baby from the cold and you from the stress of dealing with and surviving the first illness!). The nurses told me that usually days 3-4 are the worst, so hopefully Baby will be on the upswing after that!

Being a novice, I know I missed a lot, so seasoned mommas…what are your tricks for dealing with baby colds?