Is it normal for a baby getting sick for the first time to act like he or she isn’t sick?
Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know.
My son caught his first cold at 8 months, my daughter at 7 months. When my son got sick, he had just learned to crawl. I always thought a sick child needed lots of rest and, indeed, my mom told me he would probably eat and sleep a lot. I remember thinking, “Oh, good, I can sleep, too, because I am also not well.”
Ha. Life likes to laugh at me.
Not only did my son not eat or sleep more than usual, but I think he slept less. Because he had just started crawling. There was a whole new world for him to explore, powered by hands, knees, and feet. He looked miserable the whole time with red-rimmed eyes and a dripping nose. But he kept smiling. He seemed to refuse to acknowledge the fact he was not well. Perhaps it was just a new sensation to him, a mere annoyance, and life went on as usual.
The second time around, with my baby girl, I expected more of the same. I am pleased (?) to say she did not disappoint. Lucky her, though, she didn’t look as sick as her brother did. She just sneezed and sneezed and sneezed and coughed and coughed and sneezed and…repeat. She sounded terrible, but her eyes still sparkled, sometimes shimmered with a slight fever, and her lips still smiled, before parting to emit a wet cough.
There really wasn’t much of a difference in taking care of a well and sick baby. I tried to give more TLC than usual, but both mostly shrugged me off. The one really miserable part was that I was sick, too. Unfortunately, I knew and felt it and couldn’t do much. I was breastfeeding, so pretty much anything outside of Tylenol was off limits.
So, is this normal? I don’t know. But I survived. How?
- Tylenol. But not too much. Some does get into breast milk, so this was more of a last resort, when I was so miserable I had to take something just so I could continue to care for my kids.
- Getting help when possible. With my son, my husband was too busy and sick himself. But with my daughter, he was home from work and we were able to divide and conquer with two sick kids. It also helped that, the second time around, he got sick last.
- Tissue. Both times I walked around everywhere with a box or with my pockets stuffed full of tissues for me and them. The mucous level was just gross.
- Rest, whenever there is a second. Literally every time the baby slept, my eyes closed as well. I needed rest and sleep. The dishes could wait. And I could definitely wipe down my kids if the floor was a little too dirty. The pains of a sick, mobile baby.
- Plenty of fluids. I fed my kids as much as I could. I kept myself hydrated, too, until my stomach begged me to put food in it instead of liquids.
I cared for my babies first, even when they didn’t want it. It dragged out my colds, but it was worth it. It still is.