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Mom’s Survival Guide for Taking Care of a Sick Baby

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Wondering what to do for a sick baby? Here are the most helpful tips and products we’ve found for helping you conquer your baby’s first sickness.  We loved working with Maty’s Healthy Products on this post.  

Mom's Survival Guide to Conquering Baby's First Sickness | Super Healthy Kids | Kids and Baby

Sick babies have a way of making parents feel helpless! It can be hard to know what baby needs and how to help. As a trained health educator and new mom, I wanted to find the best practices for helping my baby. Here are the most helpful methods I’ve found to help myself and other new moms with baby’s first illness.

First step: Take baby’s temperature

If baby is acting extra fussy and you suspect sickness, the first thing to do is check baby’s temperature. Many moms are able to touch baby’s forehead and get an idea of if baby is running a temperature because they will feel hotter than normal. But to be safe, taking an official temperature is always a good idea.

National Institutes of Health recommends taking a baby’s temperature (up to age 2) is best done with a rectal reading, and the second best option is an armpit reading. Rectal readings can be intimidating for a few reasons, including safety, sanitation, and comfort. Here is a great resource on how to get a good reading without being worried. This article also gives great tips for armpit readings.

Mom's Survival Guide to Conquering Baby's First Sickness | Super Healthy Kids | Kids and Baby

Since rectal and armpit readings are ideal for young infants, all you really need is a basic digital thermometer. There are lots of fancy thermometers out there being marketed to parents, but many of them aren’t even designed for rectal and armpit temperatures. I registered for an ear thermometer, only to receive it and find out it wasn’t meant to be used for babies under 6 months!

A normal temperature for a baby is about 95.7* F, so a fever is generally considered anything over 99.5* F. If baby is running a fever, make sure to consult with your doctor.

Help baby breathe easier with a humidifier

Hopefully, baby is just a little sick. If no medical attention is needed, your main job is to help baby feel more comfortable and help them sleep!

A basic practice that many find helpful is to put a humidifier in baby’s room. Adding a little humidity to the air helps break up mucus in the lungs and nose, as well as soothe coughs. This is especially helpful if it’s wintertime and the heater is running because indoor air becomes very dry.

Mom's Survival Guide to Conquering Baby's First Sickness | Super Healthy Kids | Kids and Baby

When using a humidifier, make sure to change the water daily and clean according to manufacturer’s instructions regularly. It can be a pain, but it’s worth it to take these precautions. The last thing you want is to add to baby’s sickness by shooting mold and mildew into the air.

On that note, make sure that baby’s room doesn’t get too humid because you don’t want to encourage mold growth in your home. If baby seems to be sick for a long period or to get sick repeatedly, you may want to check your home for mold, regardless of if you use a humidifier or not. Mold is not always easy to spot, but it can cause sickness in anyone, regardless of age. For more information on mold, visit the EPA’s website.

Clear baby’s nasal passages using a nasal aspirator

Sometimes, baby’s congestion is bad enough that breathing is difficult. While humidifiers help with this over time, sometimes a quicker solution is needed. Call in the nasal aspirator.

Nasal aspirators can be a great way to help baby breathe easier. Nasal aspirators help parents suck excess mucus out of baby’s nasal passages. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from small bulbs you compress with your fingers to electric pumps.

I have found that the NoseFrida works best for me. The hand type often don’t have quite enough suction because the bulbs are only so big, and they can be difficult to clean. And electric pumps seem a little over the top for my needs. So, the NoseFrida has been the perfect medium, allowing me to suck out baby’s boogers with just the right speed and force to get the job done without too much hassle.

When using a nasal aspirator, be careful. Especially for newborns, too much rubbing can cause problems with nasal passages becoming inflamed, making breathing issues worse. Try and keep snot sucking to a minimum so that baby’s nose doesn’t get hurt.

Often, baby becomes agitated with this process, so I highly recommend having a helper when possible. This way, one person can hold baby still while the other uses the nasal aspirator. This also helps with minimizing nasal inflammation due to too much contact.

Once you use the nasal aspirator baby might be upset, so it’s a good idea to have something to help calm them directly afterward – perhaps feeding or cuddling. Applying baby chest rub is a great way to help calm baby and help her continue to breathe easier.

What is baby chest rub?

If you’ve never used baby chest rub, you may wonder what it’s all about. It’s certainly something I was unfamiliar with until becoming a parent. In a nutshell, baby chest rub helps sick babies feel better. I have loved using Maty’s All Natural Baby Chest Rub because it’s safe, natural, and works well.

First, baby chest rub helps calm congestion and coughs. Once rubbed on baby’s chest, the essential oils in baby chest rub help baby breathe easier and also help strengthen baby’s immune system naturally. Many baby chest rubs contain menthol and petroleum, but Maty’s contains only natural and baby-friendly ingredients in just the right amounts.

Second, baby chest rub soothes baby through aromatherapy. Maty’s chest rub contains lavender and chamomile, which not only smell amazing but also really do help baby calm down and sleep well.

I was so glad to have chest rub on hand when my daughter was sick for the first time! Rubbing Maty’s chest rub on her was really soothing and calming, and she was able to sleep better because she could breathe well.

women and infant crying on the baby bed

Good luck with your sick baby! I hope that these products and tips help you conquer baby’s first sickness!

Mom's Survival Guide to Conquering Baby's First Sickness | Super Healthy Kids | Kids and Baby

Natalie Monson

I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

Learn More about Natalie

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