What I learned from baby’s first cold

The inevitable first cold. It’s a moment that new parents dread. I felt terrible for my son when he caught his first cold at six months. He was born in the beginning of cold and flu season, so I thought for sure we’d be sick all winter. The duration was less than two weeks but I learned a lot.

Fevers are warning signs, but not always cause for panic

The most heartbreaking thing about a sick baby is that they can’t tell us what’s wrong. The first sign of his illness was a combination of tiredness, fussiness and a warm forehead. Fevers are the body’s way of gearing up to fight an infection. His pediatrician said that after two months of age, we didn’t need to call in right away for a fever unless he’s been at 100.4 degrees for 48 hours. He also noted that the best time to take the temperature is when baby is calm and not too warm from being snuggled in bed. Lastly, a rectal thermometer provides the most accurate reading of baby’s core temperature.

Alleviate a stuffy nose with elevation

My son’s nose was stuffy and we could hear the congestion in his cough. He would fall asleep (finally) in our arms only to wake up as soon as we put him in the crib. Laying flat on his back made it difficult for him to manage the drainage. Unable to give him a pillow in the crib, we lifted up his mattress entirely and put a pillow under one side to create a bit of elevation. He was able to get a few hours of uninterrupted sleep until he wanted to be held again.

Snot suckers are the worst for everyone involved

I don’t know of any babies who like a nasal aspirator. As gross and awful as they are, it is an important tool for the nursery for a baby who can’t blow their nose yet. I used both the bulb kind and the fancy tube straw and they both worked. My son hated them equally.

Sanitize everything

Colds are meant to be shared, right? My son’s first sickness got to all of us, but the second time around I was more proactive in preventing the spread. When your baby or any member of your family shows signs of sickness, do a little extra to sanitize commonly used surfaces like doorknobs and light switches.

When baby is sick, everyone knows it

My mom told me that I was always clingy when I was sick, and the same held true with my son. He could only rest soundly when we were holding him. In advance of cold and flu season, I saved up some sick days to take care of baby. When they aren’t sleeping through the night, neither are you and the family, so take some time to recuperate with baby before heading back to work.