The Common Cold, Your Baby's Sleep Cycle & Using a Humidifier for Baby
Caring for your newborn baby is both a moving and joyful experience, but it can also be exhausting. Most newborn babies don't sleep through the night. They wake regularly for feedings and diaper changes. Once your baby is a few months old you can begin developing a regular sleep cycle that's beneficial to both baby and mom.
WebMD offers the following advice on sleepiness and establishing a sleep pattern that can be beneficial to you.
- Watch for signs that your baby is tired like: rubbing eyes, yawning, looking away from you and fussing.
- Set your babies day-night sleep cycle by teaching your baby that nighttime is when we sleep and daytime is when we have fun.
- Separate eating from sleeping. After the first month, encourage the baby to stay awake when taking a bottle. If the baby is falling asleep, stop the feeding, and put the baby to sleep.
- Don't wake your baby to feed after 2 months. Once the baby is eating more in the daytime, he or she won't have to wake up in the night.
- Be a patient parent by keeping your expectations realistic. For the first few months of your baby's life, expect unpredictable and sporadic sleep
This is the best way to establish a sleep pattern, but how do you maintain a sleep pattern when your baby is sick?
The Common Cold
The common cold is an upper respiratory tract infection caused byone of more than 100 viruses. According to the Mayo Clinic, the rhinovirus and coronavirus are common culprits and highly contagious.
Babies are most susceptible to colds during the winter season. One of the main reasons for this is because their immune system is immature. As babies grow they begin touching everything, thus picking up germs with their hands. As the baby puts his fingers in his mouth or nose and rubs his eyes, the virus gets a chance to take hold.
The reason why babies most often catch colds in the fall and winter season is because the nasal membranes tend to get dry, making it easier for a virus to settle in. He or she also spends more time indoors where viruses can spread more easily from one person to another. The common cold is typically spread the following three ways:
- Direct contact
- Contaminated surfaces
According to the Mayo Clinic, most babies have up to seven colds within the first year of life. This might be a surprising number for most new parents. If your baby is in daycare, this number can easily climb from seven to ten or twelve. This is definitely a factor that can upset the sleep cycle you're trying to initiate. Below are some helpful ways to maintain the sleep cycle and manage the inevitable cold your baby is bound to get.
5 Helpful Ways to Manage Your Baby's Cold
Saline and Suction
The doctor will show you how to use saline and a suction bulb to keep nasal passages clear and assist your baby's breathing. It's important to monitor mucous. A stuffy nose can be uncomfortable for your baby, making it difficult for your baby to breathe The bulb removes excess mucous and the saline helps get rid of nasal crusties and loosens mucous from nasal membranes.
Placing a little petroleum jelly around and under the nose and mouth area will help prevent chapping and chaffing. Don't block nasal passages. Just rub a thin coating under the nose and under the bottom lip to protect the skin. It's also great for cheeks where "smear tactics" and rubbing have caused minor irritation.
Moisten the Air
Invest in a warm mist humidifier for baby or a vaporizer to keep the airmoist. Moist air reduces congestion and makes breathing easier.
Fight Back with Fluids
Increase your baby's fluid intake to replace those lost through a fever or runny nose. Ask your doctor which fluids are best for the baby
Bump up the Bed
Raise the head of the crib mattress by positioning a pillow or other supports underneath it. Elevating the upper portion of the bed, helps free breathing so the baby can rest more comfortably.
Contacting a Doctor
If your child is under 3 months of age, contact your doctor at the first sign of illness and if the following occur:
- If there is a fever present
- Coughing, rapid breathing, wheezing, or gasping sounds
- Pulling or rubbing of the ear which can be the first sign of ear infection
- Crying during feeding or uncharacteristic crying and agitation
- Goopy or tearing eyes
- Extreme fussiness, unusual sleepiness, and a significant change in feeding and sleeping habits
- Have any signs or symptoms that worry you
- Get worse instead of improving and extending symptoms that don't get better
For additional advice on baby care check What to Expect and discover all sorts of helpful tips on caring for your newborn.