It’s that time of year again. No sooner has LO got over one cold/cough and he/she’s caught another. It’s passed on to a tired mum and then a tired dad and soon the whole household is a melting pot of germs.
WARNING – these bouts of illness may be the catalyst to prolonged night waking in babies and children who have previously been good sleeper’s
And most babies will catch 8 – 12 viral colds in the first year of life. Even adults get on average 3 – 4 colds a year. The consequence of these minor viral illnesses is, inevitably, disrupted sleep.
In essence this is a very NORMAL part of family life. Okay it’s a pain but tell yourself LO is building up immunity and will ultimately be stronger.
GOLDEN RULE – if you are worried about LO particularly if he’s wheezy, NEVER take him/her in to your bed. Much better to put a mattress on his/her bedroom floor so that you can keep an eye on them. This may seem harsh but how is a baby/LO going to understand why he/she is being turfed out of the parental bed? Many coughs last several weeks in LO’s which is more than enough time to establish a habit. It is much kinder to keep LO in his own surroundings with a comforting parental presence. And much less troublesome a habit for parents to break.
If you’ve camped on a mattress in LO’s room for more than 3 nights WHEN LO IS WELL AGAIN you may need to go through “gradual retreat regime” for a few nights. This is a kind way of teaching LO to sleep on his own again.
Be reassured that if LO was a previously good sleeper LO knows how to sleep (thanks to you) and should soon return to normal sleep patterns.
Very commonly breast fed babies feed frequently during minor illness. If night feeding has regressed to new baby regime reduce night feeds by one minute every 2 – 3 days. This does mean keeping a note of times and length of feeds in the middle of the night but WILL work. As LO’s appetite increases during the day he/she will naturally cut down on night time breast feeds. If you feel LO is WELL again you could ask dad or someone else to re-settle LO during the night. They’ll soon get the message!
Many parents worry about when to take their baby to the doctor. Well don’t! In our experience having worked with lot’s of GP’s (who are usually parents themselves) you won’t be labeled over anxious parents.
Here’s a quick check list of when to see the doctor.
1. Babies under 3 months should always be checked by a doctor if you’re worried.
2. Small babies who are drinking less than half their daily milk in take. Babies who are feeding normally are coping and fighting the illness themselves.
3. Any difficulty or trouble breathing should be seen by a doctor ASAP
4. Seek advice if baby’s temperature is above 38 degrees C
5. Seek advice if coughs and colds are prolonged.
6. Ear rubbing and crying may mean LO has an ear infection and needs to be checked. Ear ache is very painful so LO will sure let you know if this is the problem.
7. Signs of dehydration. ie; no wet nappies for 6 hours and a dry mouth or sunken soft spot
8. If baby seems unusually drowsy or difficult to wake
9. Get any unusual rashes or spots checked out
During coughs and colds most LO’s need lot’s of TLC, extra fluids, rest and paracetamol. Don’t worry if LO has a poor appetite fluids are much more important.
You can always telephone NHS Direct for advice on; 08454647
There are also many websites with good information on treating coughs and colds try; http://www.babycentre.co.uk/baby/health/commoncold/.