Before my son, I didn't know much about how to care for a sick child, let alone myself when I was sick, but nothing teaches you how to be a good caretaker better than becoming a mother. After last year's long season of seemingly never-ending colds and flu hit our house, I'm prepping for this winter's sickness like a Doomsday Prepper prepares for the end-times. I learned a lot last year as to what works and what doesn't in soothing Eli's cold symptoms, and while I tend to error on the side of not taking him to the doctor with every little cough or runny nose, I do like to be sure he is as comfortable as possible while he fights off infection.
So these days, I have a go-to toolkit with all my supplies for taking care of a little one that's under the weather. With Eli being sick last week and baby girl coming in just a couple months, I was recently motivated to re-stock it so I'm as prepared as possible to take great care of both of them during the long Minnesota winters.
Here are the top items in my toolkit for taking care of a sick toddler. I'd love to hear about any great products or tips you all have to care for your children when sick!
What about you all? Any you'd add?
- Vicks Baby Rub - I rub a bit of this on his chest and feet (then cover with socks) before bed to help clear his lungs and nose.
- Humidifier - We have the Crane Drop Humidifer and we actually run it all winter, whether or not Eli is sick. It's a bit of a pain to clean out and refill all the time, but overall, it's definitely worth it since the Minnesota winters are so dry.
- Raw Honey - Eli loves when I pull out the honey and sometimes it's the only thing I can get him to take when his cold is really bad. It's great for soothing sore throats and to ease a hoarse cough. And as you saw earlier this week, I also tried my hand at making honey lollipops and Eli loves them whether or not he's sick. Here's the recipe!
- Boogie Wipes - I totally thought these were a hoax at first. Just another way for the baby industry to make a little more money - but no. If the nose is really runny, plain kleen-x will make their noses super raw - and please, don't make the mistake of using a baby wipe on your child's nose - those things start to sting, especially after the nose is already raw! Boogie Wipes are great for quickly loosening the hardened stuff around the nose and wiping it clean without a stinging sensation. But use them sparingly - those things are spendy.
- Aquaphor - Speaking of dry, raw noses, I rub a bit of this on his nose to alleviate the dryness. You could also use vaseline.
- NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator - Nasty concept, amazing results. Every single time I use it I pray that it doesn't malfunction.
- Nasal Saline - I don't use this too often, although we keep it on hand. Eli doesn't like it at all, but it does loosen the dried crusties (ewwww) in his nose, and the NoseFrida is perfect for clearing it out right after. A steamy shower also works well for this, so often that's what I do instead.
- Eucalyptus Oil - Speaking of a steamy shower, if Eli is really congested or has a bad cough, I'll turn on a hot shower or run the bath with a bowl of eucalyptus oil nearby. Then I'll sit with him in the bathroom for a bit to help clear things up. I also like to put a few drops of the oil in a pot of water on the stove and simmer it all day long during the worst of a cold.
- Homemade Pedialyte - My pediatrician said it was perfectly safe to make a homemade solution, so this is the recipe I use. It's super easy and Eli (usually) sucks it right down.
- Rectal Thermometer - I still take Eli's temperature rectally, simply because it's the most accurate. We do have a forehead thermometer, so eventually I'll switch. But I just like the peace of mind knowing I'm getting the most accurate reading possible.
- Ibuprofen/Acetaminophen - If I'm going to use it, I tend to use Ibuprofen. It's a bit stronger than Acetaminophen, but it's also more effective. But overall, I tend to try to error on the side of not using it at all. Often I'll only use it before bed - because sometimes you both just need some sleep and that's the only thing that will help.
- Nublizer - Now that we have a nebulizer, I figure we might as well use it. When we first received it, the doctor sent us home with way too much medication than we really needed, so we have lots of extra. They told me to just keep it and use it when he was extra congested. It can't hurt him by taking it, only help, so I plan on pulling it out if his cough is extra tight or he needs additional congestion relief that the other remedies can't provide.
What about you all? Any you'd add?