Sunday, February 27, 2011

When Your Young Child is Sick

The last ten days has been consumed with the family being sick, which is a major reason why I've written. Even though she is a couple days away from 17 months, this was the first time Natalie ever had more than a cold. Her first fever, stomach bug, loss of appetite, and general upset over feeling sick. Here is what we've learned these last ten days.

  • The only good thing about a sick toddler is the cuddling you will most likely get. Enjoy the break from chasing your toddler and soak up the hugs.
  • Keep sick items in your house so that you don't have to worry about getting them when illness strikes. Examples: fever reducer, Pediolite, vapor rub, tissues, diaper rash ointment, apple sauce, etc.
  • Invest in a good digital thermometer, preferably the super fast in the ear ones. Natalie acts like our super slow under the arm one is torture.
  • Your child might not cry after vomiting in the middle of the night. Natalie just turned around, then got sick again on that end of the bed. Left with no more options, she just went back to sleep. Scary, shocking, and sad finding her like that in the morning.
  • My doctor told me that it can take up to two weeks for a toddler's appetite and bowel movements to get back to normal after a stomach bug. With this bug, it took Natalie a week to get close to normal.
  • If your child is having diarrhea, use diaper rash cream as a preventive measure.
  • My mother (and doctor) recommend the BRAT diet. Bananas, rice, apple sauce, and toast make a great diet for a stomach bug recovery. For Natalie, we used jarred baby food (mainly an apples and banana mix). Avoid acidic foods and drinks.
  • The doctor also said that your child is no longer contagious 24 hours after the fever is over.
  • When you are trying to get your toddler to drink fluids, try changing the delivery. We offered her regular cups as well as the medicine spoon.
  • Write down everything. Most important is that you write down fever temperatures and medication times and doses. Insist on this if more than one person is caring for your child throughout the day. If possible, have only one person give medicines to help prevent overdosing. Also, writing down times of symptoms can be helpful if you need to call or visit the doctor.
  • Expect to break most of your routines and rules. For us, the biggest one was TV watching. We usually follow a somewhat strict schedule, but when all Natalie wanted to do was snuggle on my lap for three days, we watched a lot of TV.
  • If you get sick, too, remember to ask for help. It wasn't until Mike and I both got sick this time around that he mentioned to me that I should have made a bigger deal out of caring for Natalie while sick in the past.
  • Try to come up with a plan for what you will do if you get sick. A plan for what you will do if both you and your spouse get sick is also nice, too.
  • If you are used to going out every day, be prepared to get a little stir crazy. Your child might, too. If possible, try to get out of the house on your own for a little break. If your child is still too sick to really go out, try a quick trip outside, such as getting the mail.
  • If you only have one mattress pad (like us), you could put a large waterproof cloth under your child's sheet to help reduce mess from multiple vomiting episodes while the pad is in the wash.
  • Remove any toys you can't wash well from the crib / bed. Luckily, Glow Worm only took a small hit. She was the only crib friend hit, and also the only one who is not machine washable.

No comments:

Post a Comment