Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ava's First Cold is a Good Reminder on Treating Babies with Congestion

Ava and I caught a cold last week, probably from a baby in her daycare. The cold has brought on congestion, which then drains in the back of her throat, and then when she nurses she chokes, and then boom...throws up...all over mommy! That's been going on since last Thursday. Since I've had asthma my whole life, I'm really careful about drainage because I worry that it will go down into her lungs making it hard for her to breathe. She's coughing up mucus now. We're at the same stage of this cold. If you didn't know she was sick, you wouldn't know it. She's more sleeping more than normal, but she's still really smiley and happy when she's awake. Her daycare caregivers are amazed by how happy she is when she's not feeling well.

Yesterday, I started to worry because her cough was getting so bad. I called the nurse on the way home from work and she called me back when I arrived at daycare. She asked to have Ava up by the microphone of the phone so she could hear her breathing to see if she was congested and/or wheezing. She was very congested. Aaron says it's like she's breathing through her "Snorkle" (remember that cartoon?). The nurse told me that she needs to be seen by her doctor in the next 24 hrs. Then we got off the phone and I felt rattling in her chest. I put her in her carseat to go home and she started coughing again. No sooner than I unstrapped her that she threw up. Not to get graphic, but her teacher told me that she could see that Ava was throwing up mucus and not just milk. So, off the Dr. we went! I was thankful that our normal pediatrician's office has extended hours (with different Doctors) so we just took her to the same place.

I learned that she's just over 15 lbs! By 15 weeks old, Ava has almost doubled her body weight. Yeah! Go momma and baby! We work hard for that growth and nutrition.

She wailed when they poked her and prodded her at the exam, but she calmed down eventually. Usually Ava is fine at the doctor, but the little miss just wasn't feeling well and she let them know. I held her as they examined her. He said the reason she's throwing up from breastfeeding rather than at daycare with her bottle is the positioning since they feed her more upright with a bottle. The doctor was happy that she's exclusively breastfed because she's getting lots of immunities in the milk.

The dog is acting weird! Bena knows Ava isn't feeling well. She's freaking out! This picture is her sitting in the closet because she's worried or scared about Ava! The baby had a coughing fit and she freaked out and darted out of the room. I took this picture of Ava sleeping in her bouncy chair and Bena was standing there by her. Bena will either stick right by Ava like glue or run out of the room. It's really funny.

Our new nightime routine...Instead of her usual bath on Mondays, we did a new routine last night. I closed the doors to the bathroom and put Ava in her bouncy seat while I took a steamy shower first and then I got her and held her in the shower with me. I sang to her while we stood in the steam and touched her feet and hands in the stream of the shower. She loved it! Then I gave her a sponge bath to clean her off, suctioned her nose, and gave her a lotion massage. I put her PJs on her and then she nursed a long time until she fell asleep. It was so relaxing for both of us and it's following doctor's orders! :)

Here's our treatment plan that I thought was a good reminder of how to treat baby's congestion since you can't give them a decongestant like an adult! :)
  • Step 1 - Warm steam, especially before bed: take the baby with you in the bathroom or shower and use a humidifier by their bed. The AC is on all the time because it's been so hot, but it's making the air dryer, which isn't good for congestion. I remember sleeping with a humidifier in my room for my asthma when I was a kid.
  • Step 2 - Suction often: use the suction really high up in the nose to pull out the snot. The doctor said that since they are rubber, you go put in their nose deeply. Apparently, babies at this age don't have sinuses so it's just training directly from her nose to her throat. We bought a smaller suction than came in our baby grooming kit, which has worked really well since it's easy to maneuver in her tiny nose.
  • Step 3 - Incline for sleeping: sleeping or sitting on up to a 30% incline is great to help keep her from choking. Last night, we put Ava to sleep in her bouncy chair after she woke up in her bed coughing. Aaron made a little pillow by folding up a blanket and putting it under her head and shoulders. Another nurse told me that you can put a towel or blanket under their mattress so you don't have anything in their bed, but it will still be inclined.
  • Step 4 - Chest Rub (optional): The doctor suggested to use chest rub to unlock the congestion. We haven't tried that, but we have a small container of non-medicated baby chest rub. I used it on my chest last night and it's very soothing and not as strong as Vick's.
My doula, Jacqui, told me she spent several nights with her daughter in the bathroom to get her in the steam and she entertained her other child by playing with him in the room. It reminded me that we're making memories together even when Ava is sick and as parents we learn the tricks that soothe our sweet babies and young children.


  1. I have had nights in the bathroom with Rocco as well with the hot water running. He would just fall asleep in my arms. Blanket under the mattress helps Rocco sleep better when he is stuffy. Suction, not so fun, but really does help them breathe better for a bit. Good work Mom.

  2. Vick's Baby Rub is a miracle worker! This sounds weird but my sitter told me about it and I swear by it. A little vicks on their feet!

  3. Sheryl, you're right the suction is not fun for babies! She's getting used to it a little bit though.

    Jennifer, I never thought of putting the rub on her feet! Great idea. We got some of it when we bought the humidifier. I'll give it a try! Thanks!