Is it just us or does this year’s cold and flu season feel especially long? So long, in fact, that it’s carried into the new year! To make matters worse, new parents will soon learn how hard it is to keep the whole family healthy when a dreaded flu bug bites one of you. And let’s not even talk about those of us who are dealing with their second or third round of sick kids in as many months!
Help is on the way! To anyone out there battling sniffles, puke, coughs, snot, fevers and more, we decided to reach out to some trusted Babies in Bloom affiliated experts and asked them: What advice or recommendations can you offer new parents and parents of young children to help them get through cold and flu season?
Here is what they said:
Registered Dietician specializing in Pediatric Nutrition, Rachel Rothman of Nutrition in Bloom
No magic food or supplement will keep away germs and illness. Continue to offer your children nourishing foods throughout the day. Drink fluids. Wash hands. Take care of yourself, as a sick parent is never any fun. Eat whole foods like fruits, vegetables, proteins and whole grains. And if illness does strike, remember to rest, stay hydrated and enjoy some of your favorite comfort foods. Soup is one of our favorite staples during the winter time, as it can warm our bodies, provide nutrition and keep us hydrated. I recently made a hearty tomato soup with celery, carrot, and onion, which was a hit with the whole family! Check out some of my favorite recipes on my blog www.nutritioninbloom.com/blog.
Certified Gentle Sleep Coach, Jen Varela of Sugar Night Night
When your little one is not feeling well it creates a dilemma for parents on what to do with sleep expectations and sleep training. Here are my top tips to put your mind at ease.
- If your little one has a fever and you are in the middle of sleep training, it is OK to pause your sleep training efforts. Once they are feeling better then jump right back in, don’t delay and you will be amazed how quickly they will get back to where you left off.
- If your little one at bedtime is able to put themselves to sleep without your assistance and due to a cold, they are waking at night, it is OK to help them back to sleep. Getting them back to sleep as soon as possible with comforting (holding, rocking, patting, shushing), you are protecting the amount of sleep they are getting which will help them get the rest they need. The key is to keep the skills at bedtime in place, once your little one is feeling better because they are not sleep deprived due to your assistance, they will start sleeping through the night again.
- When your baby is sick, you know they need more rest but you might be wondering if too much day sleep will affect their night sleep. Typically for babies 6-months or older, you don’t want their morning nap to be longer than 1 ½ – hours. However, one or two days allowing their morning nap to be 2-hours long when they are not well can help them get the extra rest they need to get well.
Licensed Midwives, Paula Tipton-Healy and Haley Perkins Kaijala of Paula’s Midwifery
To help prevent illness, keep your hands clean as often as possible, eat a well-balanced, healthy diet, and boost your immune system during peak sick times with elderberry, Zicam and Vitamin C.
When you are experiencing cold and flu like symptoms, here are a few things you can do:
- Use Homeopathic Flu Nosode (liquid drops), and Oscillococcinum (pellets)
- Drink warm water with apple cider vinegar, fresh lemon juice and honey
- Continue breastfeeding even when sick
- Wear baby when out and about for comfort when they are sick and to help keep away from germ exposure.
Certified Babywearing Educator and CPST , Katie Prochaska
Babywearing can be a great way to help baby avoid extra germs during cold and flu season. When baby is snug and secure right on mom or dad’s chest people are just more likely to keep their distance from baby because they don’t want to get too far into your personal space. The added benefit is that the carrier can actually act as a bit of a physical barrier. Not only is it going to keep baby warmer by adding more layers, it’s also going to be what people are more likely to touch, keeping potentially germ-y hands off of baby’s clothes and body. Another perk to babywearing during cold and flu season is that if people do ask to hold your baby and you are worried about germs (or you just aren’t comfortable with it-you’re the parent here), you have a built in excuse to say, “not right now, s/he’s pretty comfy in there…” If all else fails, you may still have to ask people to keep their distance from baby, or to wash their hands; but having baby in a carrier can definitely be a great way to cut out germs during the sickness prone time of year.
Learn more about Babywearing classes or schedule a consultation at Babies in Bloom by calling 760-940-2229.
Certified Childbirth Educator and Lactation Consultant (and Babies in Bloom owner), Rochelle McLean
The most important thing a breastfeeding mom can do during cold and flu season is to continue to breastfeed. If baby is in daycare, I encourage moms to send a blanket with baby to daycare, and then the next day, wrap the blanket like a scarf around their neck during pumping. It helps to expose mom to the organisms baby is exposed to at daycare so that she can help to make protective antibodies.
If mom gets sick, your body is making antibodies to the things you are exposed to and will pass those antibodies along to baby, without passing along the illness. Utilize the same techniques to help control the spread of germs such as frequent hand washing, covering when you cough or sneeze. Breastfed babies can often escape illness in the house.
There is a ton of misinformation out there about medications available for breastfeeding moms to use when they are sick. Oftentimes doctors and pharmacists will say a medication is not safe for use during breastfeeding when it is. LactMed is a great resource to read more information about medications and their use while breastfeeding. The KellyMom website is another helpful resource for natural methods to treat a cold or the flu that are compatible with breastfeeding.