It's been a month since we left the hospital, but we still get daily emails asking about baby Minion. It's so amazing to see how our community has risen up and rallied behind this little man.
When he got sick I put an update on Facebook asking for prayers, and messages poured in from parents who had been in similar situations. One in particular from a friend whose son is battling cancer: she was on the floor below us, and offered her time if I needed a shoulder to cry on. “Man,” I contemplated aloud to Nate. “That puts things into perspective, doesn't it? She's here so often she's basically the sick baby welcoming committee.”
Since that day I've learned what that truly means. We've been contacted by numerous young parents worried about their own sick baby. Scared and alone and confused, they're looking for advice from someone who has gotten to the other side. I've tried to pass on the small moments of warmth I felt in that sterile space, the same words that brought me comfort. “We're praying for you, we care.” Sometimes they're looking for camaraderie, occasionally they need specific instructions. However you got here – either through following our journey or simply typing “sick baby” into Google in an attempt to find some relief (yes, I've been there) – I want YOU to know that you are a capable parent, your child is lucky to have you as an advocate, and there will be better days.
How to Monitor and Care for a Sick Baby
There is nothing more terrifying than seeing your child struggle for breath, squirm from pain and vent heat from their bodies. A spiking temperature is a particularly worrisome, as parents worry about brain damage and stress over proper measurement.
How do I take a sick baby's temperature? When should I be concerned? Should I call the pediatrician? How can I reduce his fever?
In my time in the hospital, I learned that rectal thermometers are the most reliable method for measuring fevers in infants. Our doctor told us that we should address any fevers over 100.4 degrees with Acetaminophen, which can easily be picked up in the form of a FeverAll suppository. The suppositories also help with pain relief, and they're a good solution for accurate dosage when children or infants can't take liquids due to illness/vomiting or respiratory issues (as in our case) and they can be given to babies as young as 6 months old without a prescription. If your baby is younger than that, call your doctor for dosage information.
While it seems natural to strip off baby's clothes and even dip them in a cold bath to reduce fever, extreme methods like that can upset baby's system to the point that he starts shivering. It's best to keep the room at a normal temperature with one layer of lightweight clothing on.
As the fever comes down, I find it helps to wear or hold a sick baby to keep them calm. Other methods that I use to support them include warm air humidifiers for easier breathing, sucking the nasal passageway with a bulb syringe if it's blocked, and dripping saline drops from the drugstore into their nose to help clear up excess mucus. Most baby colds are a matter of easing pain while their body fights through it, but you should absolutely call your pediatrician at the first sign of a baby cold since they can give guidance specific to your situation and keep an eye out for any particularly dangerous symptoms.