What to Do When Baby Has a Chesty Cough...

Posted Monday, September 28, 2009

I know, I know. Isn't that the saddest thing you've ever seen? (It gets better, I promise)

When my daughter (who is now 3) was a baby, I took her to the doctor for everything. And if the doctor's office wasn't open, I took her to the ER. We've spent at least 10 nights camped out in an emergency room waiting area for no reason at all. At the time, I would have argued that she needed to be there, something was very wrong, she was going to die! Now being a Mother of two, I can see where I went wrong. I think part of it was hormonal, honestly, but the rest of it, was I just didn't know any better.

Little Charlie came down with a runny nose the other day. When I got him out of bed, his nostrils were crusted over, his whimper was congested, and his eyes had a solid ring of pink around them. "Awww, noooo, Mommy got you sick", I pouted. When we cozied up on the couch for breakfast, poor baby cried every time he got a good latch. He couldn't breathe through his nose at all, making meal time a wide awake nightmare. We dealt with it, suffering through the day together, and eventually the sniffle simmered and the smiles returned.

Or so we thought.

Instead of draining out of his nose, it was draining down his throat. Of course, right? Dangit.

A day later, he was projecting a chesty cough that sent echoes bouncing from the floors to the ceiling. I plugged in the vaporizer near his play mat, and hoped for the best. Later that night when he went down for a nap, since he hadn't slept all day, there was the cough again. Louder than before, and bad enough to wake him up after his 5 minutes of peaceful slumber. Somehow the cough, that a day earlier had just been a sniffle, had turned into an awful miserable hacking. It was too late to take him to a doctor, and I knew that even if I did, they wouldn't be able to do anything for us. Not, a dang, thing.

I did what came natural. I hopped onto Twitter (I'm @TiaColleen if you want to be friends, *waves*) and asked for help. All of my lady friends were a huge help, not only showing concern for grumpy bear and support for a tired Mama, but they offered up some really great advice that came in really handy, and eventually did the trick! Man, I don't know what I'd do without the Internet sometimes, ya know?

So the whole point of this blog post, is to help another Mother out there, who maybe doesn't know what to do for her baby with a chesty cough. I am by no means a doctor, and always always trust your gut instinct. If you feel like your baby needs to see a doctor, or go to the ER, take her. These are just suggestions that have personally helped me (and others) when help was needed.

Things to do when your baby has a chesty cough (or just isn't feeling well):

-Humidify and vaporize. If you have a humidifier, clean off the dust, fill it with fresh water, and plug that thing in! If you can't afford an expensive one (and really, who can?), Vick's makes a cheapy that works extremely well, something like $12. You can get it at Walmart, Target, all of those drug store type places. We use that one more than we use our larger less affordable model.

-Put baby into a steam room. Take baby with you into the bathroom, close the door behind you, and with baby nowhere near (seriously, we're not trying to burn the baby here) the tub/shower, turn the shower part on as hot as the knobs will allow. Let the room turn into a sauna. Its uncomfortable, you'll start to get sweat and your skin will get sticky, but its what baby needs it (and really, you know you probably need it too). Strip baby down to nakedness, tickle his tummy, give him some raspberries, and before you know it, the mirror will be completely fogged up (write redrum with your finger, draw smileys, mess it all up, because you know you can't resist), and you'll be ready to put baby into a warm bath. Adjust the water temperature, fill up a bath for baby like you normally would, and hang out in there as long as you can possibly stand it.

-Pat baby on the back, almost like you're burping her, but this time you're patting her to loosen up the lung clogging gunk. Someone told me that this worked best after baby gets out of the steam room, and I agree. However, you can do this at any time, and it would probably still be effective.

-I got an email last year from my husband's Nana, something about putting Vick's Vapor Rub on baby's feet, and then covering his feet with socks. She said that my Sister in Law had tried it, and that it had worked for her. Well... if you've got some in the closet, its worth a shot, right? As soon as we pulled baby out of the steam bath, we loaded up Charlie's feet with a few swipes of the stinky stuff (stinky in a good way), and then put his footy pajamas on.

-Baby Vick's Vapor Rub. I read the back of the adult Vick's, and the jar states that it can be used on children ages 2 and older, and it when it comes to medicines, you can never be too careful. My neighbor just happened to be going to the store to pick up some allergy meds for her little girl, and she was nice enough to pick up a jar of Baby Vick's for us. When Charlie woke up for his midnight feeding, we put a little bit on his chest. Maybe write that down on your shopping list right now while you're thinking about it, so you don't find yourself making a trip to the store at 11pm?

-Elevate baby. My Twitter Mama friends suggested using a Boppy pillow, or even putting books underneath one end of baby's crib. I never used a Boppy pillow, so we didn't have that option, but we do have books. Good tip! Christopher went out into the garage and found some books right away, and put them under Charlie's bed legs.

-Hydrate your baby. If your baby will take water or juice, great. Mine won't, haha. If you're a breastfeeding or formula feeding Mama, don't be afraid to offer baby an extra round or two of milk. Normally I try to offer Charlie solid food in between breast meals, but while he was sick I gave him all the breast he could stand. And what really surprised me, was there was no spit up, which means he needed it. The more fluids you can give your baby while he's sick, the better. Drink up little one!

Alright, so we did all of those things combined, and our sad faced baby (remember the picture from earlier?) actually got some sleep.

I told you it got better, didn't I? ;o)

Re-posted with permission, from The Mama Dramalogues.


Jenn/Boutique Lucky Stars said...

I too have tried the Vick's Baby Rub on my little one's feet with socks and had a better night sleep!

aGibson said...

What a cute chunk! I'll keep these in mind. Now, any tips on how to get baby to sleep in her own room? ;)

BabaMoon Baby Knits said...

this is so helpful thanks so much! I have an older son whom I went through all the panicky traits with when he was a wee sprog, but even still now that my 6 month old daughter is really poorly, part of me is still in a bit of a panic. I think it's because shes so down and out. I am doing my best with fluids but i havent tried the vicks on her feet. i'll give that a go for sure!

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