An ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure.
No matter how hard you try to fight against the forces of the world, your baby will eventually have her first cold. In the first year of life, babies come down with somewhere between six and twelve infections. Each infection can last from one week to ten days, which means they can spend up to 120 days of the year being sick!
As soon as your baby begins to settle on a routine and starts sleeping better at night, it seems inevitable that a cold comes and wreaks havoc on these precious sleeping and feeding schedules.
Colds are common among babies because their immune systems are still developing. This is an occurrence among all babies and even the healthiest of babies will get between six and eight colds before her first birthday. So do not be alarmed when your child’s first cold strikes.
With cold and flu season approaching us, we want to arm you with some information to help you prevent an excessive amount of colds.
Preventing Colds in Babies
Although colds are inevitable, you can take some steps to prevent the development of excess amounts of them in a baby’s first year of life. It is important to note that parents should be extra cautious with babies under two months of age. It is best to avoid crowds with newborns.
Keep your child nearby. If you do need to out in public, keep your baby at least six feet away from anyone who is coughing or sneezing. If possible, carry your baby in a wearable carrier or keep the canopy of your baby’s stroller down.
Use soap. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds to remove germs carried on them. A general rule of thumb is to sing “Happy Birthday” two times after coming from a public place, using the bathroom, or changing a diaper. Keep hand sanitizer in your bag too.
Disinfect surfaces. Germs can live on shopping carts for hours, so keep sanitizing wipes in your diaper bag in the event that the stores you shop at do not have them readily available by the cart station.
Be careful at the pediatrician’s office. The waiting room is often filled with germs. If you can, try to get in for the first or last slot in the day when the room will not be as busy and be careful to not touch surfaces. Avoid letting any other children of yours play with the activity centers in the waiting room as they are loaded up with germs this time of year as well.
Understanding Baby’s Cold
When your baby does get a cold, it is helpful to understand the life cycle of the majority of common colds. Most common colds rear their heads slowly and last about nine days.
During the first few days, your child is contagious, may seem fussier than normal, and may have a decreased appetite. Mucus is usually clear and thin and often runs constantly in this stage. If her rectal temperature is above 100.4 Fahrenheit and she is 3 months old or less, call your pediatrician right away for instructions.
During the middle stages of a cold, fever usually subsides and your baby may eat better and fuss less. Mucus tends to thicken somewhat and often turns slightly yellow. This is the phase when a cough may develop and sleep could be disrupted.
The final stage is often the last three days when the cold just seems to linger. Mucus becomes crusty and thicker but despite this, your baby will begin eating better and resume her usual activities.
- Olivia, mom & a pediatric nurse
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