Saturday, March 13, 2010

We just do things a little differently, that's all!

Time for another "We do things differently" post :) This time, I want to talk about our outstanding parenting skills...JUST kidding (any advice on how to deal with a rebellious almost 3-yr-old is welcome!) No really, a few friends have asked me recently what we do when our babies/kids have snotty noses, coughs, and the common cold.

First, what we don't do :

Give them decongestants or any other cough/cold medicines (although I'll mention one homeopathic favorite of mine in the list of what we DO do)

Take them to the doctor (their immune systems are already down, so they're more likely to catch something else PLUS there is no need for a prescription for a common cold...just like my post on fevers, we like the symptoms and try to embrace them as our bodies taking care of business)

Keep them inside all day.

Worry. If I am sure it is a cold (yellow/green snot, yucky eyes, etc. etc.) there is nothing I worry about. I believe in how we treat our kids' colds, and I know they are going to probably not get any worse or develop other sicknesses from them. I believe their bodies were wondrously made to fight off most sicknesses without much intervention.

We do :

Focus on "diagnosing" them with a cold, rather than allergies, right up front. If it's a cold, I know what to do. If it's allergies, there are things that need to be examined, things done differently, and each child treated individually. Honestly, I would prefer a cold over allergies for them!

Wipe their noses, suction them out with a snot sucker (aka, bulb syringe), and change their clothes and sheets often.

Get them outside to play in the sun. (I mean, if it's freezing outside, then no we don't do this...but if it's even close to warm and the sun is out? Outside time does wonders for our bodies and our spirits.) Thankfully, we have a very large backyard where this is possible without exposing other kids.

Limit dairy. Our kids drink almond milk and don't eat much cheese, so the only dairy they really get is from yogurt. If they have a cold, they don't get yogurt, ice cream, or foods with cheese. I don't go crazy, but I do cut out the obvious dairy foods. (and to be kind to each other, this usually means everyone forgoes dairy that week.)

Give that child a steam bath. *Warning: this one is very un-green :) (but we only do it when that child really can't breath through their nose or when the snot sucker just isn't very productive.) We turn on the shower as hot as it will go and close the bathroom door. After about 5 minutes, we go in and give the child their regular bath (keeping the door closed and usually putting a towel at the bottom of the door to keep in as much steam as possible.) We bathe them, clean their faces with a hot wash cloth, focusing on the eyes and nose, and then get them out and dress them. By this time, their noses are usually flooding, so we pull out the snot sucker and go to town. We usually try to do this right before bedtime. Ahhh, such relief!!!!!!!! This one is one of my favorite if the cold is really bad.

Give them Hyland's cold tablets. This is the homeopathic "medicine" I mentioned before. Fortunately, you can use these pretty liberally, and in my experience, it works pretty well (nothing miraculous or anything, though.) UNfortunately, the only time our kids' will agree to taking these tablets is when they are in the baby/toddler stage. We also use Hyland's teething tablets for teething pain, so they're used to getting something of that consistency and taste. Once they're past it, though, I rely on Vit. C crushed into fruit loaded smoothies.

If I'm still nursing the child with the cold, I will take Fenugreek (unless I'm pregnant as well.) If the child can't get it from me for some reason, I either add it as well to their smoothie, or I dump out a tablet into the palm of my hand, add some water, and make a paste which they suck off my finger. (yuck, but for some reason, I never have to fight them.)

I think this goes without even mentioning, but of course, Derek adjusts them :) When we know their heads are very stuffy or if we notice any ear discomfort, he gives them a quick adjustment on each ear to help avoid an infection. (It's worked so far!!!)

We do some of the more common things (humidifier in the child's room, elevate the child's head while they're sleeping if still an infant, etc.) Honestly (and a little bit embarassingly!), the thing I have learned that works the best is to keep their "environment" clean and free of snot. I used to not wipe their noses very much, for fear of irritating it and making them mad, and I rarely changed their sheets, since I figured they were just going to get snotty all over again. Once I changed my thinking on those things, I really think they started getting over their colds faster. We bathe them more often, change their sheets often, and keep clean shirts on them.

Hope this helps some of you dealing with the change of weather and snotty noses in your kids! :)


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