When your baby gets sick it’s no walk in the park. Any rules or routines you’ve established go out of the window and you can kiss goodbye to sleep.
Not that you would sleep anyway. Because you literally feel every single cough, splutter and sneeze as if you were doing them yourself (and you wish you were just to take it away from him) and you can’t sleep because you’re too terrified it might be something more serious. It’s better to be tired and just watch him breathe each breath through the night to make sure he’s ok.
Here is my survival guide to coping with a sniffly newborn.
1. Don’t Google – the temptation will be overwhelming either because you will be convinced it can’t just be a cold or you are genuinely innocently trying to find remedies. An hour later you will emerge, bleary eyed and in a state of panic, to inform your partner that your baby definitely has Whooping Cough. Google has told you and you’ve seen videos, read all of the blogs and umpteen ‘health’ websites that have verified it. It doesn’t matter that you had the vaccine and your baby has had two of his three vaccines already – you read a warning story on the Daily Mail of someone this exact same thing happened to and now it’s happening to you too. Even after you’ve seen the doctor and are reassured that it is just a virus, you still watch the YouTube videos daily just to keep an eye on it.
2. Stock up on chocolate and coffee. And drink orange juice and rub vicks on your chest just to prevent the inevitable happening. There’s nobody to take over if you get taken down too. Which you will. Accept it.
3. Have a second person on hand to help wrestle the baby, who somehow develops the strength of a rhinoceros and becomes more wriggly than an eel, when you need to get drops into his nose or Calpol into his mouth. Try to get him slightly tilted back too otherwise you’ll permanently be trying to wipe Calpol, the stickiest substance known to man, off every bib, sleepsuit and surface in addition to all of the layers of cute baby chin.
4. Embrace the night – in between watching your baby’s chest move up and down and giving extra feeds to prevent dehydration, you’re sure as hell not going to sleep. And even if you do, you will wake up abruptly at least several times an hour every time he coughs, splutters, snores or sighs so you may as well catch up on some light reading, housework, drinking, old repeats of Greys Anatomy on the laptop with headphones. By reading I don’t mean Googling shite though (unless you’re reading about McDreamy vs McSteamy or IMDB-ing who the guest star is from various episodes).
5. Chuck the rule book out of the window – throw money at the situation and buy every product Snufflebaby makes, thermometers and nasal aspirators. Forget the extra layer of clothing rule. Realise your thermometer is too difficult to use on a squirming baby and use your brain and instinct and go by how their chest feels instead. Realise nasal aspirators don’t really seem to work and throw them across the room. Double up on Snufflebaby products instead. Pick the congealed snot out of the end of his nose. Realise nasal aspirator will make good bathtime toy instead and retrieve from pile on the floor. Let him feed whenever the hell he wants. Feel guilty you’ve over-fed him and vow to let him go the normal amount of time. Panic when he cries and give him Calpol. Feel guilty about giving him too much Calpol and relying on medicines. Panic when he cries and feed him again. Watch him breathe when he passes out into a milk coma. Repeat from picking his nose.