Once a Wish, Twice a Kiss, Three you’ll never grow old,
Four for a letter, Five something better and Six you’ll never grow old!
It’s definitely winter now. I brushed my teeth last night and the rinse water from the tap made me wince it was so cold; at the weekend my husband, smitten with the same bug I had last week but (natch) 10x worse than mine, weakly requested a Green & Blacks Hot Chocolate, as clearly that was the only thing that would save him, as he huddled on the sofa in front of a roaring fire; I had a strange urge to start making jams, chutneys and temptingly dark, gravy laden casseroles. Yes, it’s definitely November and double definitely the onset of winter!
Now, much as I love kicking my way through the last piles of autumn leaves, smelling the vestiges of cordite from the November fireworks drifting away on the damp air, I do dread the arrival of the latest feast of bugs, viruses and infections with my little charges.
As we snuggle down into that lull between Halloween/Guy Fawkes Night & the first ghastly rendition of Noddy Holder shouting Merry CHRISTMAAAAAAS from the doorway of every high street shop, our tube trains, buses and shop door handles are generously transporting a veritable smorgasbord of nasties to pass backwards and forwards within the populus of London over the coming weeks.
In my experience, a baby with a cold can be one of two things: completely “unbovvered” yet streaming steadily, rather like a chocolate fountain at a wedding reception, or completely without external drainage symptoms yet hot, miserable, inconsolable and very, very “bovvered” indeed.
It is distressing for a new mother to watch her little, unsullied new arrival rallying against their first invasion of the dreaded winter cold virus, but it is worth remembering that each cold, each interloper to their systems, will help to strengthen their immunity for next time round.
Very young babies, of course, cannot be treated with the vast array of cold remedies that the drugs companies relentlessly peddle to gullible adults, but they will have an army of anti-bodies in place both from their time in the womb and possibly further enhanced if you were able to breast feed for any amount of time. Remember, our bodies are amazing and have taken millions and millions of years to evolve into the fascinating and complex beings that we have become, but babies under 3 months of age need to be checked when they are poorly, so a quick visit to the GP is a good idea and will help to reassure you that, apart from being snotty and grizzly, all is well.
Babies cannot blow their noses or sniff, so they resort to frequent (and usually very generously shared) sneezing bouts. As messy as this becomes, it is their only way of getting shot of the gunk. If their are particularly bunged up and you can visibly see a bit of a dried up blockage (just as well I’ve eaten before going into this much detail!), you can use a nasal aspirator to suck out any obstruction which may help your baby breathe more easily.
A properly supervised and safe steamer in the baby’s bedroom, a nice warm bath in a steamy bathroom at bedtime and keeping them away from drafts will all help to keep the worst of the symptoms at bay.
Saline drops can help to clear the way if bunged up and a dab of Vaseline under their noses if they are streaming will help to avoid that button of a nose getting sore with the constant wiping.
Avoid using the heavily scented vapours such as Vicks, Karvol or Olbas Oil until your little ones are over 3 months of age.
No-one knows your baby better than you, so if you feel that, apart from a very icky runny nose, he is really not quite himself, take him to the GP to confirm that it is just a common cold.
Do not buy over the counter medication without first consulting your GP and, if you are breast feeding, make sure you are having plenty of fresh fruit and veg in your own diet to further boost his recovery.
Give feeds as often as they need it if they are struggling and give them lots of love and cuddles until they are bundles of health again. Not unlike the way I handle my husband really, but I guess you get to drink the Green & Blacks Hot Chocolate yourselves!