Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Kicking a Cold!

As I mentioned in my previous post, Grayson and I both are being exposed to a wide variety of new germs as he has started daycare. (But we're building immunities and working on becoming super heroes! One new germ at a time!!) We're already on our second cold, but the first one was so brief and minor that I hardly remember it at all. This one has lasted a little longer and been a little more unpleasant (for both of us). I'm mostly okay at this point, but Grayson is still working on breaking up chest congestion and has an icky sounding cough. Even so, the illness itself has been fairly manageable. Grayson hasn't seemed too bothered by it, and it seems to be getting better all the time.

So, I thought I would share some of our tricks and tips for kicking a cold. I realize most of this is not news, but as we're still in the middle of cold and flu season, I thought it was worth posting about.

**I am not a doctor or health care professional. These are just things that have worked for me and my family. Please consult your doctor on anything you are unsure of. I always encourage people to do their own research as well!**

+ Cool mist humidifier

They say the cool mist ones are better than the warm because they tend to grow less bacteria and mold. We got one without a filter so it is easier to clean. We change out the water daily, swoosh it with vinegar water every 2-3 days, and do a deep clean by running vinegar water through it (outside!) once a week. We usually let this run all night while Grayson is sleeping to help break up mucus and congestion. It's especially nice during the colder nights when the air tends to be drier. 

+ Nosefrida

I admit I was grossed out by the concept of this thing when I was pregnant. But now I must say it's a lifesaver and everyone with kids should get it! Yes, you physically suck the snot from your baby's nose, but it's pretty much impossible for it to get to your mouth. You'll notice it's a very long tube connecting the mouth piece and the part that goes in the nose. And there is a filter between the two, so even if you were to fill that thing up (I shudder to think how much snot that would be!), it's still not getting to your mouth. Why is this better than your typical bulb syringe? For one, it just works better. You can control the suction and really work to get that junk out. And you can SEE the results! I know, it's a little gross, but I like to see that what I'm doing is effective. If I'm going to pin my kid down and make him scream bloody murder, I want to at least know it's worth it. And you can easily take it apart and clean it between uses, so it's much more sanitary than the bulbs. Again, you can SEE when it's clean. I also like that the part going into the nostril is wide enough that you aren't going to jab up the nose if your baby wiggles a lot (which he will!). 

+ Saline Spray

This is pretty self-explanatory. Use it in your baby's nose (and yours as well) to help relieve swollen sinuses and break up mucus. I always do a squirt in each nostril before sucking it out. It really does make a difference. Side note-- I have my own bottle and a separate one for Grayson. It's easier than having to sanitize the tip after each use and that way we don't share germs. Although...we pretty much share germs all the time. But still.

+ Boogie Wipes

These aren't really necessary. They are saline wipes. You could easily just use a baby wipe or a plain tissue for wiping your babe's nose. But these smell really good and feel refreshing. They also prevent and soothe chaffed nostrils. I even used a couple when my nose was getting chaffed and it was really pleasant. I figure anything I can do to make the whole thing less horrific for Grayson is worth it. He's so dramatic!

+ Breast Milk

Sorry, no picture folks! ;) 
But breast milk is basically the cure for any and everything in the whole wide world. For realz. I try to nurse Grayson as often as possible when he's sick because my body is producing antibodies for all the germs I'm exposed to (which are basically the same ones he is). I am passing those on to him with my milk, helping him build his immune system. Nice work on that one, God! Nursing frequently will also help prevent dehydration (for your baby, not you! If you're nursing, you should be drinking more fluids, especially if you are also sick!). And here's where I start to sound super granola and crazy... I put breast milk up Grayson's nose. And that's not all. Wait for it.... I put it up my nose too! The milk has antimicrobial properties that can actually help kill the germies in the nose and speed recovery. Plus it also does the same things saline drops do (loosen mucus and relieve swollen sinuses). I don't do it every time I suck his nose, but I try to give him some once a day (or maybe twice) to speed recovery. And since I used it on myself, I can tell you it really does work!

+ Coconut Oil

If you don't have any breastmilk handy, coconut oil is nature's other miracle drug. You can use it for just about anything!!! I put a teaspoon of it in my coffee every day to help with digestion, brain activity, etc. It's also said to help soothe sore throats and speed up recovery from illnesses. So I took a little extra each day when I had a cold. It's also great to use topically for pretty much anything! I put it on my chaffed nose during my cold. I wouldn't recommend giving a lot of it to an infant, but I do put it on my nipples to moisturize and protect them, and so Grayson will get a little bit from that. It's perfectly safe for him to ingest it that way, but I wouldn't go putting a scoop in his bottle or anything like that.

+ Probiotics

I don't take them personally, but I wish I did. I mostly just haven't come around to the idea of spending money on probiotics. But I know they are super important and beneficial not only to digestion but to your immune system and overall health. I started giving this to Grayson in his bottles when he was suffering from gas and reflux. Now I continue to give him a scoop a day just for preventative health. 

These are the things we are doing to help kick our cold and prevent future ones, as much as possible. And of course there are the other obvious things like plenty of rest, getting some fresh air outside, washing hands often, etc. I've also heard people recommend nursing babies in the bathroom with a hot shower running so the room gets steamy. This is supposed to help them breathe better, especially if they are having trouble eating due to congestion. And I've heard of using Baby Vicks to help with coughing. Some people even suggest putting it on the soles of baby's feet and covering with socks or footie pajamas overnight. They say this works for adults, too. I haven't tried any of that yet. But if this cough continues, I might be willing to give it a shot! 

What about you? Any immune boosting or cold fighting tricks, tips, and insights? I would love to hear!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

10 Reasons Daycare Kinda Rocks!

It was not our plan to put Grayson in daycare this early. We were hoping to have a friend watch him for close to a year and then put him in a center when he was a little older. I admit, I was heartbroken when that situation didn't work out and we had to start shopping around for daycares. There is always that part of me that wants the very best for him, and I know that no one else in the whole wide world can take care of him like I can. I've got that mommy thing going for me. :) But there is also the very huge part of me that does not want to be a stay at home mom, who thrives on working, who enjoys her career, and doesn't want to feel guilty or like she is compromising the well-being of her child because she wants to work. I struggled with all of this for about a week. Okay. I actually struggle with it all the time. But it's getting better. It's all getting better because, believe it or not, God knew what he was doing when he worked it out for Grayson to start daycare earlier than we had planned. (Go figure!) Because, contrary to my fears and sorrow, daycare kinda rocks!

Here are 10 reasons why!

1. Socialization. Grayson smiles when he sees his teachers, and he’s used to being around other babies his age. I’m not a huge fan of settings where several age groups are all together, but a room of kids his own age is comforting. 

2. Becoming super heroes. Yes, we are going to get sick a lot at first. But think how awesome our immune systems will be from this! By the time he gets to school where attendance is actually important, he’ll be untouchable! (And I’m sure to kiss him all over when he gets home, so that I’m exposed to the same germs and can start making antibodies to pass to him in my milk.)

3. Structure. I would suck as a stay-at-home mom because I wouldn’t provide enough structure. I’m not self-disciplined enough to wake up at the same time when I don’t have anywhere to be. And I’m likely to want to spend time watching TV or even doing productive things like laundry. When Grayson is at daycare, the teachers are dedicated to caring for him and providing him with enriching activities. They have no other agenda. And he has the benefit of waking and going to bed at the same time every day. Kids thrive on that junk. For that matter, so do adults. 

4. Precious, precious time. When I pick up Grayson, I am fully dedicated to him until he goes to bed. I nurse him, snuggle him, play with him, read to him, and eventually rock him to sleep. I cherish those moments with all my heart. And mornings are the absolute best! I look forward to getting up every day and hanging out with him while I get ready for work. He is at his best in the mornings. And weekends are more fun too. I think if I were with him all the time, I would start to take him for granted. I wouldn’t spend as much time memorizing his every feature and finding the significance in the moments that we share.
5. Independence. For both of us. Grayson knows he can survive without me, but he also has the security of knowing I will always be there to pick him up each day. And I have the independence of my job and being an adult. And while I’m always a mom, I get to experience my other identities as well. 

6. Learning. I love teaching Grayson things, and even when he gets home at night, I count with him, show him colors, read to him, and do floor exercises with him. Learning doesn’t stop when he gets home. But I feel comforted knowing that he is in an environment where learning is a high priority. I know he is developing because of his situation, and he is not being left to hang out in a swing all day. 

7. Lots of diaper changes. They check them every 30 minutes to an hour! And diapers are included in the price. Let’s be real. I don’t check him that often when he’s home. And I definitely don’t change him at the first sight of wetness. Ain’t no body got funds for that! But at daycare I know he has a fresh diaper pretty much always.

8. Tummy time. Someone else can force him to do it. ; )

9. I can have a sick day! Stay at home moms don’t get sick days. They have to work regardless. Last week I had a cold and desperately needed rest. Scott took Grayson to daycare as usual and I took a sick day. I took Nyquil the moment they walked out the door and slept until noon. Sweet glory!

10. Peace of mind. I trust them. I feel calm and confident dropping Grayson off. And I can focus on work during the day without worrying how he is doing. They are professionals who care. I trust they can handle whatever comes up. And if not, I know they’ll give me a call. The accreditations and state regulations of having him at a center is actually comforting because I know there is no funny business going on. No need for nanny cams!  
And those are just a few of the reasons that we are loving daycare these days! Such a blessing, and I thank God for it all the time! If you are worried about childcare, just know that daycare is not all bad. And you shouldn't feel guilty for needing to put your child in one. I hope you find 10 awesome reasons of your own (or more!) that your childcare situation rocks! :) 

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