“‘I Want My Dad’ said no sick kid ever!” – Unknown
Motherhood is lovely. Except when it’s not.
One of the times when it’s not is when we are stretched too thin & certain things are out of our control.
As a mother, I feel the most out of control and stretched thin when my babies are sick. All mamas know this feeling to varying degrees.
But one of the most terrifying for your average mama is when you’ve just brought your new baby home and your older kiddos are sick. And you just panic, praying that your baby doesn’t get sick so you don’t have to deal with a scary newborn fever.
More Kiddos More Germs
I’ve written before about the time that GQ, our oldest, was hospitalized for a week at the age of three. That experience was traumatic for all of us, but I remember thinking how much worse it would have been if we’d had other kiddos at home.
Three years later I gave birth to our middle guy, LJ. GQ couldn’t even come to the hospital because he’d begun throwing up while at my mom’s house. We didn’t know if it was a virus, so he had to stay with her an extra day even after we came home.
So we never had those sweet sibling photos at the hospital. So sad! However, we were so blessed that our baby stayed healthy and we were able to avoid a newborn fever.
Now here we are again. We have a newborn at home and two very sick big brothers. And my mind begins to race. I try my best not to panic in situations like this even though that’s all I want to do.
Instead, I switch into project manager mode and create a plan. And I am blessed to say that we have not yet had a newborn fever through it all.
Plan To Avoid Newborn Fever
Why am I so concerned about specifically a newborn fever? Well, other than the obvious, fever in a newborn could signal sepsis and it is often routine to do a spinal tap on any baby under 3 months old presenting with fever.
No little baby should have to undergo such a procedure if it can be avoided. And no mama should have to watch her child suffer needlessly.
So I would like to share with you my battle plan on how to avoid a newborn fever when siblings are sick. Some of these may seem obvious, but we can’t always think straight when our kiddos are sick. Plus,n I think you’ll find some details you would never think of!
1 | Breastfeeding – We’ve all received the message that ‘breast is best’. This one is not likely something you can change at this point unless you are reading this before Baby arrives or within days of birth. However, breastfeeding is the absolute best thing you can do to help your newborn avoid illness resulting in a fever.
While you are breastfeeding I recommend that you add a vitamin C supplement, garlic, and probiotics to your diet during cold + flu season. Make sure to keep taking any regular medications along with your prenatal vitamin. And drink *at least* one ounce of water for every 2 lbs of body weight. You may want to double that when you or family are sick.
2 | Probiotics – I’ve always heard how probiotics are good for you, but I never really understood why exactly. So I would call myself a newbie to understanding gut health, but the biggest surprise for me was how gut health impacts our ability to fend off + fight infection.
And probiotics are critical for maintaining balance in the microbiome for optimal gut health, which translates to our overall health. We use Evivo, a special probiotic for babies, which can be used from birth on and we love it. You can learn more about the benefits HERE.
3 | Hands + Face – Your baby’s hands and face are the two most important areas of concern when trying to keep Baby healthy. First, teach older kids to never touch Baby’s hands or face (this one is HARD, particularly for toddler siblings). Next, clean Baby’s hands and face with face wipes at least twice per day as part of the morning and bedtime routine. Finally, when in public and at home with sick family, make use of the built-in scratch mittens on Baby’s clothing or use a set of stand-alone mittens to keep Baby from chewing on their hands.=
4 | Diffuser – I like to use a diffuser in every occupied room of the home almost all of the time. During cold + flu season this is even more important. Not only does it keep moisture in the air, but you can use a recipe of essential oils for wellness. I diffuse Thieves, Orange, and Oregano for wellness. Make sure to follow safety guidelines when using essential oils around children.
5 | Disinfect Surfaces – This is a no-brainer, but sometimes we forget when we’re in the thick of it. You can just use Lysol disinfectant spray, bleach, or a natural alternative. You can create a DIY Disinfecting Spray with essential oils if you’d like to avoid the chemicals in regular household products. This will help you keep the spread of germs under control in your home, which is really the ultimate goal.
6 | Elbow Trick – The worst thing is to have a toddler coughing and sneezing right in Baby’s face. So, teach your older children to always cough + sneeze into their elbow and not in the direction of other people. Older children can be taught to step away from others before coughing + sneezing as well.
7 | Isolate Baby Items – Keep baby items like burp cloth and binky isolated to avoid contamination. Don’t just drop them around the house and pick them up as needed. Keep them in a designated spot away from the coughing + sneezing of others. The same goes for all other baby items, but those in particular as they frequently go in and around baby’s face + mouth.
8 | Quarantine – If you have older kids that have their own room(s), quarantine them to their room while ill. Get them a bell or walkie talkie to summon you if you don’t have an intercom or they don’t yet have a phone.
This is good for everyone. They can get uninterrupted rest and you can keep the germs contained.
9 | Separation – Keep older kids away from the baby as much as possible, which is much easier said than done. I know. But do your best.
If you cosleep/bedshare all is not lost. I recommend that you follow safe cosleeping guidance and keep kids on opposite sides of the bed. For example, our 3-year-old sleeps in between his Dad and I. While the baby sleeps in a sidecar cosleeper on the other side of me. I recommend keeping a hand sanitizer on your nightstand during illness as you juggle the needs of your babies.
10 | Family Nurse – Nurse your older kids back to health as quickly as possible. Make sure they are taking vitamins, garlic, and probiotics too. Use a wellness roller on them and refill diffusers regularly. Make sure they are staying well-rested + hydrated. And give them as much TLC as you are able to while still meeting the needs of your newborn. [Yes – I realize how challenging that can be. I’ve been there and it sucks!]
It’s a tall order, but at least you’ll feel like you’re “doing” something. And if you follow these suggestions you should significantly reduce the chances of your newborn getting ill resulting in a fever.
For tips on how to prevent your older kids from getting sick in the first place check out “How To Keep Your Kids From Getting Sick”
** Please keep in mind that I am not a medical professional and none of this should be consumed as medical advice. For medical advice on keeping your family well please reach out to your healthcare provider. **
I really hope that your family makes it through the cold + flu season without any significant illnesses. And make sure to give yourself some grace when you are juggling the needs of all your sweet littles. You are amazing and you are doing the best you possibly can. Also, take care of yourself!