This is one of those posts I was kind of hoping I wouldn’t have to write. But, alas, my little one got the flu and a bonus ear infection a while back and then just kept getting sinus problems coupled with (BONUS!) teething. For all the fellow autoimmune disorder moms out there, you know what that means, right? Yup. It means you’re getting sick, too. Over the course of the past couple months, I also got the bonus ear infection (full with perforated eardrum) plus a super sized sinus infection and limited edition stomach flu! So here are my first-hand tips on what to do when both you and your baby are sick:
1. SANITIZE ALL THE THINGS
Not even kidding with this one. My husband usually teases me because of my OCD and proclivity for decontaminating things, but this time of year no one is joking about the Purell! Your little one, no matter the age, is carrying a copious amount of germs. Whether your baby is sneezing in your face, putting everything in his mouth, or touching everything with sticky hands, he or she is spreading germs. Your first line of defense? Sanitize things and do it often. Wipe down hard surfaces and plastic toys, wash bedding and soft toys, and pay special attention to communal areas (like the living room or bedroom) and shared objects (like remotes or pillows). So even if you are already sick, this will help limit the length of your sicky days and will hopefully prevent it from being reintroduced into your family.
2. Limit Time in “Danger Zones”
Whether you’re trying to prevent getting sick or you already are, it’s a good idea to limit your baby’s and your exposure to germy hotbeds. Now may be the time to cancel play dates, say no to Chuck E Cheese, and avoid busy malls. This goes both ways, too. Not only are you trying to reduce your chances of getting sick, but you also don’t want to be “that mom.” You know the mom I’m talking about. It’s the mom who brings her clearly sick child to daycare or a group play date and seems oblivious to the fact that he’s snotting all over the toys and is coughing directly into your child’s mouth. So yeah, don’t be “that mom.” And limit time in potential danger zones so you don’t have to run into “that mom.”
3. Rest, rest, and more rest
Easier said than done, right? While I’m inclined to agree, there is one exception to the rule. You can’t properly care for your sick child if you are running on fumes. Take it back to the newborn days when you repeated this mantra like a bloodshot-eyed zombie “you sleep when the baby sleeps.” If your baby is sick, hopefully he or she will actually be taking more naps than usual since they’re feeling pretty rundown themselves. So forget dishes and errands. Seize every opportunity you can to nap and take it easy.
4. Ask for (and accept) help
Thankfully I live within ten minutes of both my mother and mother-in-law. And thankfully we all got sick when people weren’t terribly busy. So thankfully (again) I had no shortage of help when my baby and I needed it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, don’t mistake pride for courage and remember it’s not a Mompetition (remember that one?). No one is going to judge you for letting your mom watch the baby while you get some shuteye or if your mother-in-law graciously brings over dinner. And if anyone does judge you, they are either jealous or… well no they’re probably just jealous and you should feel bad for them.