Posted: Jan 29, 2014 6:00 AM
When it comes to families and colds, moms are like Batman; except instead of villains, we fight cough and congestion. With four days of cold combat under my belt, I'm thankful for the comforts and conveniences that make tending to sick babies a much more manageable job.

We are Day Four into a wicked cold epidemic at our house, and with three kids — one under the age of 1 — there are a lot of sleepless nights, not to mention the wads of tissue we’ve gone through. As mothers, we are no doubt accustomed to finding that silver lining of sick baby days — the way our otherwise inquisitive and mobile babies want nothing more than to quietly cuddle into us and be loved. I’ve enjoyed a few of those nights with my littlest lately and exhausted as I may be, I have to admit those moments are priceless. But the fact of the matter is — kids and colds are a sorry mix.

At our house, it’s all about artillery — setting up camp with all the necessities we’ll need to combat coughs and congestion at the first sight of their arrival. We equip ourselves not only with natural remedies and modern conveniences but also with a few simple comforts to help ride out those long days and sleepless nights.

What are our weapons?

Vaporizer and essential oil

Vaporizer steam not only loosens mucus but provides a calming environment especially when paired with soothing essential oils. While drugstore vaporizer liquids can smell overpowering for a baby, I've found adding a few drops of essential oils gives me more control over the scent and can be just as soothing. We love adding a few drops of melaleuca, lavender, eucalyptus and/or lemon oil to our vaporizer.

bulb syringeBulb syringe and saline

I have yet to manage a good bulb syringe suction that doesn't make my babies mad, but sometimes it's necessary when they're too plugged up to suck or sleep well. A quick mist of saline in the nostril before suctioning moistens things up to make the job a little easier. On nights when I'm expecting we'll be up a lot with a congested baby, I make sure to keep a bulb syringe and saline on my nightstand.

Baby chest rub

My littlest one went into a good two-minute relaxed trance last week when I rubbed his chest with baby vapor rub. There are several companies that make baby-safe chest rubs, but you can make your own with olive, coconut oil or cocoa butter and a few drops of eucalyptus, rosemary and lavender oil.

Lotion tissues

I may not splurge on the good tissues for everyday use, but when my kids are sick and I'm wiping their nose 20 times a day, I like to pamper them a bit with a soft, moisturizing tissue. Applying some salve or cream under their nose also helps that area from getting too raw.

Hot baths

I've found the best natural way to clear a stuffy nose is to steam it out with a nice hot bath. There have been several sick days in my years of mothering where we took two plus baths a day just for some comfort and congestion clearing.

Hair ties

Runny nose plus long hair equals a crusty hairdo. I take the first sign of snot as a cue to pull my girls' hair into ponytails.

Chicken soup

A classic feel-good remedy for colds, chicken soup makes everything better. When you're tending to sick babies, the last thing you have time for is boiling chicken and slaving over soup, so cut yourself some slack. Buy a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from your deli and add chicken broth, bouillon, onion, celery, carrots and parsley.

vitamin c tabletsVitamin C, water and hand-washing

Tending to babies is no time for Mama to get sick. When my kids are sick, I take extra caution to take care of myself, drinking lots of liquid, taking my vitamins and washing my hands.

Lower expectations, move deadlines

I sent a couple of emails last week explaining that my baby needed more of me and asking for a little extra time on work deadlines. We skipped ballet and let a few things go. Sick kids — even if they're dealing with minor colds — require more of us, and we can better overcome under-the-weather days when we allow ourselves the space, time and rest that we need to take care of our families.

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