There isn't much that can be done for an infant with a cold, or anyone of any age, for that matter- though an infant can't even take cold medicine and relies on clear nasal passages for eating. However, there are things that can alleviate the symptoms, even if only temporarily. These things have been extremely helpful this week in making Tye more comfortable:
- We returned the cool mist humidifier to the bedroom. I put some peppermint essential oil in the water to give it a little boost.
- I put some Nature's Baby Organics Ah-Choo! Chest Rub on her feet under her socks (it really works!) and a tiny bit just under her nose.. It's the organic, non-petroleum version of Vick's VapoRub.
- I've used Badger Headache Soother, a peppermint and lavender scented balm, on my own chest, close to where Tye nurses, and on Tye's sinus areas.
- We made a steam tent in our kitchen. I put menthol, lavender, and peppermint essential oil bath salts along with some chamomile tea bags into our crock pot. Once it was hot and steamy, I uncovered it. Then I opened an umbrella and placed it over the crock pot, then threw a sheet over the umbrella. When Tye was stuffy, we hid under the tent until she could breathe more easily, which worked beautifully. (This would work with hot water off the stovetop, but I was too afraid my groggy middle-of-the-night self wouldn't be fast enough to keep Tye's little hands away from the hot pot, and the crock pot was already hot in the middle of the night, no waiting necessary. It would also work with just one of the essential oils or just the chamomile tea.)
- Tye and I bathed together before bed in a bath with peppermint essential oil bath salts. We had a wonderful time together, splashing in the water, and the room filled with the scent of peppermint, helping to open up those airways.
- When her congestion seemed to be too far out of reach to suction with the bulb syringe, I hand expressed some breast milk into a small bowl. Then I used an eyedropper to squirt breastmilk into Tye's nose, then used the bulb syringe to suction her out again. This was really effective, but by far Tye's least favorite activity on the list.
- Tye napped in one of the carriers so she could be upright and breathe more easily. At night, we sleep (or try to, at least) propped up on pillows so Tye's head is upright.
I know many moms swear that teething is accompanied by fevers and congestion, and I've thought many times this week that perhaps that's the source of this. After all, I can feel Tye's first tooth just under the surface of her lower gums, and she's been chomping on her hands intensely. I have to wonder if the teething causes these symptoms, or if maybe teething is related but not causal. Maybe the teething lowers the immune system (fever or not), allowing room for illness to take hold, right as the child is putting more foreign objects in her mouth than ever before. Either way, enough moms claim teething and fevers/congestion go hand-in-hand that I have to believe there's some kind of correlation. Maybe that tooth is about ready to pop through finally.
I've been making sure Tye gets plenty of time outside even while she's under the weather, as long as she can stay cool and comfortable. After a lovely morning walk through the Montrose Beach Bird Sanctuary with our Nature Babes Meetup group, I decided to stop on the way home at Home Depot to make copies of keys. Tye was in the carrier, as always, just taking in the sights. As I was browsing the gardening section on the way to the key desk, I thought my stomach felt a little more wet than the usual sweat Tye and I create under the carrier. I thought, Oh no, did Tye's diaper leak some pee? and stuck my hand in the carrier to check. Hmm, that's weird, it's a little thick. When did Tye spit up? (stomach dropping as I realize, before I even get my hand out of the carrier to see what is on my fingers...) Oh no!
There's one other symptom that goes along with both teething and congestion that I didn't mention yet- drool. And what does excess drool cause? Diarrhea. So out we went, to the parking lot of Home Depot, where I stripped Tye down and used the last half package of wipes cleaning poop- from her, me, the carrier, the car... And after I had Tye cleaned up and into her car seat, I stripped off my poop-covered shirt and drove us home. Another peppermint bath for us tonight.