Cold and flu season is upon us, so it seems like stuffy noses, dry coughs and congestion are inevitable. Grab the hand sanitizer! Icky germs are everywhere.
No matter how careful you are and how hard you try to avoid it, you and your baby will eventually have to endure a cold – as many as six to eight in the first year.
The best way to deal with your baby’s cold is to be prepared. If you know how most colds work and what to expect, it might help to ease your worries, so you can focus on nursing your baby back to health. That way you can temporarily say goodbye to your routine, not your mind!
Fussy or Irritable?
At the onset of a cold, you may notice that your cheerful tot is not quite herself. She may be irritable and her appetite may decrease. She may also have trouble sleeping or resting peacefully. All of these signs could indicate her body is fighting a cold. This is when she may spike a fever and you’ll start seeing a runny nose with thin, clear mucus. This when she’s contagious too.
Mommy Tip: When I started to recognize the onset of a cold, I’d try to keep the potential for sharing germs at a minimum in the household. I’d also use Lysol on shared surfaces and make sure siblings weren’t eating food off the same plate or drinking from the same cup.
During a Cold
Once she has a cold, that’s when you might notice that the mucus changes colors and become thicker. This is also when pesky coughs tend to arrive. At night, she may have drainage from the congestion that runs down the back of her throat, so this can trigger a cough and also a sore throat. Fevers typically subside by this point in the cycle of a cold. Due to the discomfort from the drainage and congestion, she probably won’t be sleeping well during this time.
Mommy Tip: Two things really worked well for my kiddos when they were sick. One was setting up a cool mist humidifier in their bedroom, which you can find affordably priced at any drug store. The other was saline spray. I’m not saying my babies liked the spray, but it did provide relief before they went to sleep.
On The Way Out
As a cold runs its course, mucus should start being expelled more easily. This isn’t always pretty though! Babies and toddlers might be dealing with a tender, crusty and “hurty” nose. While the mucus may not look pleasant, the good news is your baby should be eating and sleeping better.
Mommy Tip: Aquaphor ointment is a life-saver! In fact, I still have it in my medicine cabinet at all times. Nothing heals up chapped lips/skin or overblown crusty noses better. I would apply it at night while they were asleep, so they couldn’t wipe it off, giving it time to work its magic overnight!
Rescue Little Noses
While there is no quick cure for a cold, there are products you can use to ease the symptoms like Little Remedies Decongestant Nose Drops, Little Remedies Saline Sprays/Drops, and Little Remedies Sterile Saline Nasal Mist. All of these products are safe and effective and they don’t contain alcohol or pseudoephedrine. They all help you decongest your little ones’ nose to remove mucus or clear nasal passages.
Mommy Tip: Little Remedies Saline Nasal Mist is one of their newer products and it’s one of my favorites. The mist is gentle and tends to be easier to administer. Plus, the shape of the applicator is more functional and gentle than bottles of the past.
How Long Will This Last?
Ah, the question that immediately starts popping into your brain. How long ‘til it’s over? Well, by my best estimate, I would say give it nine days. This includes the first few days of catching the cold and the onset of symptoms, three days of actually having the cold and three days of recovery.
Mommy Tip: Think Frozen. “Let it go.” Clear your schedule and ask for help if you need it. There were many times where I’d try to rush through a cold by keeping schedules and routines in place. It always backfired! Take off from work if you can, cancel plans and let the dishes pile up in the sink. Being sidelined by a cold is just part of being a mom. Life will be normal again soon – I promise.