• Shruti GOCHHWAL

10 Tips for New Parents with a Sick Baby

Nobody can deny the fact that infants or newborns are the most adorable little humans ever. When these babies fall ill- be it a cold, flu, baby cough, diaper rashes, etc, it usually causes havoc in the household and especially stresses out new parents.

In fact, quite a few mothers start to stress out even when they observe their newborn sneezing. The main cause of sickness or infection is because these newborns are coming in contact with pathogens for the first time and it may take a while for their immunity to adapt and strengthen. Thus, their recovery period will be comparatively longer.

Important Tips for New Parents with a Sick Baby

⦁ Identifying the Problem

In order to treat and care for your sick baby, one should first be able to identify the cause, reason, or type of sickness.

Here are some signs and symptoms of the most common illnesses in newborns:

Teething

  1. Fussiness

  2. Drooling

  3. Running a low-grade temperature

  4. Chewing of objects

Actual Illness

  1. Fussiness

  2. Drooling

  3. Chewing of objects

  4. Running a higher fever

  5. Coughing

  6. Congestion

Here are the symptoms more specific to a type of illness:

Tips for New Parents with a Sick Baby

Image credits: Pixabay


Common Cold

  1. A stuffed or runny nose

  2. Thick and yellowish-green nasal discharge.

  3. Fussiness

  4. Fever

  5. Coughing, mainly at night

  6. Sneezing

  7. Low appetite

  8. Difficulty in feeding and breastfeeding

  9. Trouble sleeping

Flu

  1. Common cold symptoms

  2. Chills

  3. Vomiting

  4. Diarrhea

Pneumonia

  1. Common cold symptoms

  2. Shakes

  3. Chills

  4. Unstable breathing

  5. Excessive coughing

  6. Sweating

  7. Flushed skin

  8. High fever

Tips for New Parents with a Sick Baby

Image credits: Pixabay


⦁ Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

In general, proper hydration is required for the normal functioning of the body.

However, when your infant is sick, especially when they are vomiting, a lot of fluid intakes must be received in order to prevent dehydration.

Be sure to breastfeed or bottle-feed your child adequately or even use oral rehydration solutions to restore all the lost water and electrolyte.

Sugar water is a good form of oral rehydration for dehydrated and sick babies and it also has a calming effect on babies as a bonus.

Also Read: Breastfeeding: What is Responsive Feeding?

⦁ Humidifier or Warm Showers

When your baby has a cold, their nasal tract tends to get blocked and hence a ‘blocked nose’.

This makes it very uncomfortable for the baby who is just learning how to adapt.

In order to soothe out this problem, steam is used to loosen the bose secretion and unblocked the nose, enabling your child to breathe more comfortably.

This is usually done in two ways:

⦁ Shower Steam

Turn on your shower and increase the temperature of the water as high as you can tolerate.

Let the bathrooms become steamy and have your baby in the room.

⦁ Humidifier

The humidifier serves the same purpose as a steam shower but has more advantages as it can be placed in any room of your house that your baby is in.

Image credits Pickpik


⦁ Diaper Cream

Sometimes, when your baby is unwell the pediatrician may prescribe some medications to boost your baby’s recovery.

However, these medications could make the baby poop more acidic and as a result, cause diaper rash and makes the skin raw, sensitive, and irritated.

Thus, diaper creams are effective antibiotic ointments that help soothe these rashes, making your sick child significantly more comfortable.

⦁ Plenty of Rest

Your body needs plenty of rest and sleep in order to recover from any sickness and let your body heal and grow. Sleep is essential for recovery because it helps boost your immune system and babies are no exception to this.

Thus, it is very important to ensure that your sick newborn receives a good amount of rest, especially when they have difficulty falling asleep due to discomfort caused by an illness.

There is also melatonin for babies that are safe but must only be administered after the pediatrician has approved its usage.

Image credits Wikimedia commons


⦁ Spoil Them with Love and Affection

As mentioned above, when a baby falls sick they face a lot of problems when it comes to sleeping comfortably or soundly. As a result, the sickness tends to interrupt the sleep cycle and the baby will not have the energy required to beat the sickness. They also tend to lose appetite.

Therefore, it is very very important to spoil your baby with love by providing physical and emotional comfort through your touch and words.

This will help curb some of their crankiness and discomfort and help them sleep or even feed better.

⦁ Take Care of your Own Health

Although this may not be the first that comes to mind, it should be stressed upon more. This is because in order to have the required amount of mental and physical capacity to effectively care for your sick babies, maintaining your own health is very important.

This is because if a parent is sleep-deprived, tried, or frustrated they will not be able to care for their babies or provide them comfort. Thus, the baby will be lacking both emotional and physical love that is required for efficient recovery.

Therefore, it is crucial to sleep when your baby is sleeping or if required, reach out to a family member or babysitter and enable you to rest for some time.

Image credits Pikist


What not to do

There are a couple of things parents should avoid unless advised otherwise by their pediatrician.

  1. Antibiotics should not be administered for cold as it does not help fight the virus.

  2. Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs or fever reducers like Infants’ Tylenol are not recommended for infants below the age of 3 months.

  3. Overall, any type of infant cold medication or any OTC medicine is given must first be approved by the pediatrician, especially to a baby under 1 year.

  4. Such medications may also not be recommended or given to a child who is randomly throwing up.

  5. Aspirin should never be given to a baby or child.

  6. Typically adult cough medications aren’t recommended for children under 2 years.

  7. Vapor rubs if not utilized properly, can be irritating to the respiratory airways and cause other problems and symptoms.

  8. Don’t let your baby sleep lay on their stomach and fall asleep.

Conclusion

To all the new parents out there, you’re doing great!

Caring for a newborn, especially when sick, is not easy but being a parent is very rewarding. Therefore, do not overstress as it affects both you and your baby in the long run. These tips must be noted and followed alongside the instructions from your pediatrician and it will ensure a speedy and more comfortable recovery for the babies.

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