Right now, my ten month old is napping happily…but if you had heard him over the last several days he was doing more crying than cooing and all because of a nasty cold. Runny nose, coughing, a tough time feeding, and going to sleep….
I thought illness was abounding when I had two under three, but with three children under 7, it feels like we go from week to week (since October) with one or another child battling a virus of some sort. So, this post is going backwards a bit from what mantras if your little ones are currently sick, to how to prevent sickness in the future.
These are the mantras I’ve recently told myself regarding children and illness: it’s hard right now but this too shall pass, and even with the best prevention, sometimes you just have to ride the waves whatever they may be and as my mother would say ‘do the best you can‘…and the last one from our nurse trust your gut, if something seems really wrong, get to the doctor.
If you’re like me and need to have a clean house with your baby who’s only two weeks old, this post may be for you!
In one sense I’m kidding, but there are some real valid considerations (especially during flu season) as to why you might be interested in figuring out how to manage cleaning house with a small baby. One being: germs! They multiply and it can be very important to keep things like laundry and clean surfaces if you have a baby born during the months where infectious diseases spread like wildfire, especially with older children/adults that work with children around babies.
First things first, though. Before my third baby was born, I bought this lovely print to remind me to sit and rock my baby instead of cleaning constantly and enjoy the moments we have because they are fleeting . If you haven’t heard this poem, I have to share it:
Mother, Oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peek-a-boo
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.
The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep —
Sigh… <3. ‘Back to keeping baby healthy …
So what do you do? Hire a cleaning lady? Never leave the house? Push hand sanitizer towards anyone near you and your babes? I honestly can’t answer that for you. But, in my humble opinion, it’s important to have systems in place and the family on board with best health practices to keep everyone safe. So whether you have hired cleaning help or initiate a system, when messes arise unexpectedly as they do with multiple children at home you’ll need to deal with it when no one else is available and everyone is sick all at once.
People debate whether or not broom sweeping is as effective as vacuuming, or bleach water versus vinegar solutions. While I won’t pick a side on that debate, as a mother of an infant born in flu season, I highly support the following practices I will list below, which are simple routines that can decrease the spread of infectious diseases to an infant. If you have ever seen an infant struggle to breath due to something like pneumonia or the flu, then you know why it’s important; if not, watch this video. Fortunately, Luna got the care she needed.
Here is the list of best practices for illness prevention:
-teach your children not to touch their face or food before handwashing
-Keep a healthy pre/probiotic (fruit/veg) filled diet for the older children & adults in your home.
-If you live North of Atlanta, GA or the Mediterranean, consider taking Vitamin D supplements
-If someone is coughing, do so into elbows and then handwash with soap
-be sure not to have someone with an active illness handle your baby or be in their face
-have older children wash hands with soap and change from school to play clothes before touching baby
-Be sure to do a hot soapy water wash of linens and household surfaces (doorknobs, too) after sickness hits
-toss toothbrushes after an illness hits to not get reinfected
-Do not share utensils or glassware, especially if an illness is still active
So mind you – the best practices may need to be habits for children of the special ages 2-4, and it can take time to get everyone on board, but these are things that prevent illness from spreading.
As far as cleaning goes, this is my experience:
When baby is under 4 months it’s important to rest when baby rests – but you can take up offers for help with a laundry load and can take one of the 3 naps and do a quick timed pick-up. For me, it helped me feel better to move around postpartum!
Between 4-8 months you can do the same but try and enlist help. Baby maybe more awake, so you can put on a timer for fifteen minutes and do as much as you can during one of the few naps.
Between 8-12 months baby is typically on the move and sleeping a little less. My son will do the chase game with me …I set the timer to do a project and do as much as I can while he is in the play pen…or I will try and sweep a room while he crawls after me (but be sure no choking hazards are present and baby is in a safe space 🙂
After baby hits one year you really need to be picking up more because they are faster than we are and see these little things on the floor (moms x2+ you understand with the legos, right?). So, in all honesty I love to sweep up or vacuum super quickly and sort legos/toys to their homes – but if older children don’t put everything away, sometimes a lego brick goes into the garbage (safety first!).
I have to admit that I’ve used FLYlady.net’s system since my oldest was born and I highly recommend it, if you need a system to help. In any case, please try these simple practices out this season. Wishing you and yours a healthy illness-free holiday!
Do you have any practices to prevent illness?