Caring for Baby When Sick

When parents have the responsibility for a baby or very young child, it is only natural for them to want to protect them as much as possible from sickness and to deal with any signs of sickness quickly. This is perhaps one of the most difficult parts of baby care, as it can be difficult to find the balance between allowing the sickness to take the natural course or rushing to the doctor at every hint of a cold or other minor ailment. 

This is a problem especially for first time parents. Having a young baby that is ill can be very distressing, and can become a nightmare if the wrong choice is made when a baby does indeed have a serious illness. By and large, ailments are not a threat, and you should expect a baby to get colds and occasionally fever. 

Of course, if you are going to err, it should be on the side of caution. But it is reassuring to know that a baby with a healthy immune system will see off the occasional virus with no difficulty. For that reason, it is important from the baby’s birth, and then right through childhood, to care for their immune system. By doing so, you will not only improve their health, and increase their resistance to illness, you will feel more confident that when she starts coughing and sneezing, or has a fever, she will soon get it under control herself. Monitoring progress, though, is essential, and keeping an eye on any fever especially so. 

With the blanket advertising on pharmaceutical remedies for baby’s and young children, it is easy for parents to be brainwashed into rushing out to buy something, anything even, just to help them feel as they are doing something to help the baby recover quicker. 

Babies have colds, have earaches, and have fevers, but do not always need a treatment from the pharmacy immediately. Some of the drug company remedies may even do more harm than good and cause a reaction, as I have witnessed in my son when he reacted very badly to an ear treatment that contained a bright coloring. 

My son is grown now, but my young daughter has benefited from a strong immune system each time she has had a cold since birth right up to 23 months (as I write this). She shakes off colds in two days, which is about as good as you can expect, and has no remedies from the pharmacy. She has had vitamin and mineral supplements since birth, a good diet (including the first year on breast milk). If she gets a fever, we give her plain paracetamol and keep a very close eye on her. We live in the tropics, so we do have to be alert for malaria and dengue fever. 

It is also worth bearing in mind that, for minor ailments, there may be some home remedies that will help, or at least give you the feeling that you are doing something.