A sick baby survival guide
We’ve recently been plagued by a string of never-ending ear infections at our house. If there’s anything more sad than a sick baby, I haven’t come across it yet, and I really don’t want to. I think it’s the fact that they can’t tell you how they’re feeling, coupled with not being able to communicate to them that they’ll feel better soon. With ear tube surgery in our near future, I’ve had some time to reflect on what it takes to get through illnesses with a little one. Here’s my sick baby survival guide:
Trust your instinct.
Most babies are troopers. In fact, I often don’t realize our son is sick until he wakes up crying with a high fever. In hindsight, I realize he hasn’t slept well or has been a bit fussier in the past days. Trust your gut! If something seems off, it probably is. Get them to the doctor! And even if they aren’t sick, the peace of mind that nothing is wrong is well worth the visit.
Bend the rules (a little bit).
Be quicker to respond when they’re crying. Hold them while they nap. Get up with them at night. Basically do whatever makes them more comfortable and allows much needed rest.
Be your baby’s advocate.
Come prepared to appointments with a list of symptoms, medications and questions. Once you have a diagnosis, take time with your doctor to make sure you understand the illness and treatment options. If you forget to ask something, call the nurse! Don’t feel like you’re bothering them – that’s what they’re there for!
If someone offers to help, let them! Count your blessings if you have family and friends willing to lend a helping hand.
Hang in there. It gets better.
I often find myself picturing the healthy, happy baby that I know is only a few days away. Remember that nothing lasts forever, and most illnesses come and go relatively quickly.
Treat yourself and try to enjoy the “down” time.
It’s a lot of work taking care of a sick baby. Don’t feel bad about taking a few minutes for yourself, driving through the Starbucks drive-thru for a latte or handing the baby over to your partner to take a few minutes to regroup. I also try to enjoy the “down” time as much as possible by catching up on TV shows, magazines, and just being home with nothing to do but love on a sick baby. Let the usual tasks and chores go undone and enjoy the extra snuggles!
Get back into a routine.
This can be harder for you than it is on them… but when your little one is feeling better, try to get back to their normal routine as soon as possible. That means back to the crib for naps, sleep re-training if needed, revisiting their regular meal schedule, etc. Children seem to bounce back to their “normal” fairly quickly.
Anyone else out there dealing with sick babies? How do you cope?