Rules for surviving a cold that strikes the whole family at once:
1. Ignore all the rules.
We are currently winding down a bout with a nasty cold that hit us all within a matter of hours. I remember wondering whether or not you can breastfeed a sick baby in a La Leche League meeting, so I figured I ought to assemble some details on how to care for two little ones and a whiny husband while blowing through every tissue in the house. I should have seen this coming considering we spent the majority of the summer cooped up in the house between bed rest and birth, only to return to activities in the midst of back-to-school/cold/flu season. Once we all fell under the weather, I assumed the role of Dr. Mom to a T, with the requisite bathrobe and all. (Note: bathrobes have deep pockets for tissues.)
Audrey’s Care Regimen
The littlest one in the house needed lots of contact with Mama (as usual.) It’s important for her to get breastmilk because my body quickly develops antibodies to the virus and will pass them on to her to help fight it off. However, the stuffy nose was causing her to spit up lots of milk, so I kept the laundry going full time for clean sheets and pjs. Using cloth diapers comes in handy at times like these because I have plenty of absorbent cotton handy for cleanup. I tried my best to nurse her upright and to pay close attention to the timer on my watch to space her meals so that I wouldn’t overfeed her. Most importantly, I pumped once a day so that I wouldn’t get backed up, my supply wouldn’t go down, and she wouldn’t have trouble latching on during a waterfall of milk. After two days my supply did decrease as I suspected, so I read her cues and offered her more time to feed while switch nursing. During the day I changed her diaper after meals and gave her a little time to stretch out and “play” with her sister. Then I bundled her back up and rocked her to sleep. At night she slept in my bed so I could easily feed her and we could get back to sleep immediately. I always try to keep the lights low or off starting at 7 PM so that she knows it’s nighttime. I think the sleeping beauty will feel better in no time.
Hannah’s Care Regimen
My little bundle of energy needed lots of rest and fluids. To make it easy on her, I gave her all bottles instead of sippy cups to ensure that she’d get enough to drink. I also let her fall asleep with a bottle of water since I put her to bed a little early each night. During the day, I offered her meals and snacks a little earlier than usual or else gave her a bottle of milk while I prepared them. A few times I added my pumped milk to her bottle since she could benefit from that as well. We read books each day (which I need to towel off with cleaning spray) and played with toys together (that need to go through the wash cycle.) I showed her how to wipe her nose and kept a cloth wipe available for her to do it on her own. Most of the time I’d ask to wipe her “boogs” and then do it for her. Since she’s so independent and loves to move around, we took her for walks in the stroller so that she wouldn’t over-exert herself. I even caved and had my husband put on a movie for the family to sit down and watch so that we could all relax before bedtime.
Flannel makes soft, reusable hankies. You can cut a receiving blanket, pajama bottoms, or plaid shirt into squares or rectangles. Keep a basket for soiled wipes near the washing machine and throw them in for two cycles. Quick wash on cold, then hot wash with a little soap.
Tomorrow is a new day and I hope we’ll all greet it with renewed energy.