Everyone warned me that as soon as Amalia started daycare, she’d be sick pretty much constantly through the spring. In theory, Anel and I were on board with that because we were told by so many people (including our pediatrician) that it would help to build up her immunity. But then she got sick last week for the first time and I finally understood what people meant when they said your baby’s first cold is the hardest.
For her it started as a cough that then turned into a much worse cough with a seriously runny nose. Although I was traveling, yesterday was her first day of acting like herself again, laughing and chatting up a storm, after almost a full week of being sick.
A cold is a cold is a cold… But when it’s your baby who looks so small and vulnerable and you can’t explain what is going on to her, it can feel like the end of the world in the moment.
The worst of it was Friday morning when she was coughing uncontrollably. I thought for sure it was RSV or Croup. Her breathing was very labored so I rushed to the pediatrician for their drop in hours, arriving just in time. The doctor assured me that there was no infection in her lungs, no ear infection, and that I did the right thing by coming in. She gave me clues as to what to look for (wheezing, a cough that sounds like a bark, and even more shortness of breath) before getting worried.
Despite her assurance, it was still scary to hear this tiny little thing coughing so hard and clearly not feeling well.
But I’m happy to say we survived what all parents have been surviving for ages with a few tricks that I learned from our doctor, my mama friends, and a lot of you on Instagram! Here are the ones that worked best for us:
– The NoseFrida: I used it to suck out her boogers multiple times everyday (That’s a sentence I never thought I’d write). The doc warned us that she would scream and hate it, but apparently my child is into boogers because she thought it was hilarious.
– Hot steam showers: After many recs from you guys on Instagram, we tried sitting with her in the bathroom twice a day for 10-15 minutes with a hot shower running. It would clear up some of her mucus and break up her cough. Just make sure to bring a few toys or books in with you so that your baby doesn’t get bored. I learned that after our first go-round!
– Matys Baby Chest Rub: We discovered Matys through a friend and are now serious fans of the brand. They make baby-friendly wellness products like this chest rub that’s filled with delicious smelling essential oils. It’s a great alternative to Vicks. We put it on the bottom of her feet a few times a day and on her chest before getting into the bath so that she could breathe it in.
– Humidifier: We kept it running during all of her naps and overnight. On the one night when I forgot to turn it on, she woke up coughing way more than the other nights, so I think this really made a big difference too.
– Elevating her while she slept: A lot of people suggested putting a few books under her mattress to keep her a little more elevated while she slept. I don’t know if it made a difference or not but it definitely didn’t hurt.
– Hydration: One thing that her doctor was adamant about was that Amalia needed to get enough fluids when she was sick. She never wanted a full feed and would often turn her head away or get fussy when I came to her with a bottle. Instead, I listened really closely to her cues and would give her a few ounces at a time, whenever she showed any remote interest in food. This meant ditching her normal schedule and routine, but she seems to be getting back on track already.
On her worst day, she hardly ate at all so I took some water in a dropper and literally dropped it into her mouth to see if it would work. She was loving it, so I gave her as much as I could until she was over it. I did that a few times throughout the day with water and formula and it made me feel way less scared about dehydration
– Patience: At the end of the day, there isn’t a whole lot you can do for a baby with a cold and/or cough. We just had to be patient and make her as comfortable as possible while she was sick.
What are your tricks for baby colds and coughs? I want to go into our next one more prepared!