What a week that was. One tiny little germ causing so many problems. The first few weeks with a newborn are probably the toughest because it's all so different from what you've done before, and so exhausting. For similar reasons, caring for a sick baby is almost as tough. I jotted down a few notes for myself for when another terrible baby-bug inflicts my family again [Please add your own tips as comments!]:
Note 1: Don't assume that terrible smell is a broken sewage main. It will only lose you valuable time to change the smelliest nappy you have every come across in your life. People around you will start looking awkward and moving away. If your sick baby looks happy, you are likely to see a brown mark spreading across their baby-grow
Little Bear came down with a bug over a week ago. It all started with an unusually big load of vomit, which surprised Little Bear as much as Pappa. Then came the sleepy baby, then came the nauseous and sad baby. Next the terrible nappies. Then came the night when Little Bear couldn't sleep without being on Pappa's shoulder and getting bounced. So Pappa got no sleep.
Note 2: Don't hold your sick baby with your mouth open (however exhausted you are at 2:00 in the morning)... It took me a few times of his well aimed vomit to learn this lesson properly.
A quick trip to the doctors armed us with some rehydration powder, and the depressing advice that we just had to bear through it, but rush him to hospital if he didn't drink enough fluids or started showing signs of serious dehydration. Another night came and went with no sleep for Pappa, and of course Pappa, being around Little Bear all the time and having a few acidic tastes of baby barf, also got the bug.
Note 3: Don't assume the sick baby is being fussy because it wont drink the rehydration salts. When you get your baby's bug, you'll realise that they really are disgusting. It tastes like ground death mixed with water and blackcurrant flavouring.
With the house quickly descending into a mess as Pappa was out of action, Mamma stepped into to 'help out' on the weekend and care for Little Bear. Mamma then started to come down with it too and in short order, we were all struggling, with my wife and I taking laboured turns to care with the needy and crying buddle of vomit smelling chub. I feel the NHS should send a nurse in hermetically sealed clothing to people's houses in situations like this. Definitely one of the worse weekends of our lives.
When your little guy is sick, it's not just exhausting, it's also really heart wrenching. This normally very ecstatic and bubbly little troll has a permanent sad look on his face, and that's between all the cries. You have to keep the hydrated, but when you think it might be getting safe again, wham! It would just pour out with no warning. But you can't stop with the liquids or you'll end up in A&E.
I do feel I'm suffering from a mild form Post-Traumatic Stress, as every time I now give a health and happy Little Bear his milk, I hover over him (with mouth closed) waiting to catch his vomit.
Note 4: After the bug has gone, don't expect your life to return to normal. Not only will you be knackered, but your baby's long established sleep, nap and feeding patterns will be out the window. Hours more mid-night struggles lay ahead. Plus, if it was a tummy bug, they might have some killer diarrhea for the next few days. Be prepared for several full changes of clothes a day.
It was tough, but also bound to happen at some point with a baby. We're just glad it waited this long. Now he's been better for a week and we're getting back into the rhythm. Seeing the happy little crawling cucumber laughing has never felt quite so good.
Please add your own tips as comments below!
I'm Dave, dad of Little Bear. Also known as 'Pappa' to the little man as we try and bring out his Swedish roots
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