I'm almost five years into this parenting gig and although most of the time it feels like I have no idea what I'm doing, there is one area that makes me feel like a total boss...
Taking care of sick kids.
I can clear a congested nose with the speed of a ninja, administer medicine to a baby with the precision of a surgeon, and tell you my son's temperature with a light touch to the forehead.
But there's no way I could make it through cold & flu season without these bad boys.
8 Must-Haves for Surviving Cold & Flu Season with Babies & Toddlers
Ok. If you have not yet been introduced to this stomach-turning device, before you keep scrolling, know this- it. is. a. life. saver.
Do you know how ear infections come about in babies and toddlers? All the stuff that's clogging their nose and sinus' slowly starts to trickle into their ear canals and then do you know what happens? An ear infection. Sounds like a simple fix, right? Wrong.
Have you ever tried giving a 6 month old baby antibiotics? You have to pin their head against your body as your partner holds down their arms and legs. Then you take a syringe and squirt (possibly) diarrhea-inducing antibiotics into them, hoping that they don't gag and throw it up. All of this while the baby is screaming and crying. You will repeat this twice a day for 10 days. Save yourself the 10-day hell that is an ear infection and by a NoseFrida.
Why I Love It: The whole thing comes apart for cleaning and is dishwasher safe. You change the filter every time you use it to prevent spreading colds and it's one of the few gadgets out there that thoroughly clears little noses.
The trusty companion to any nose suctioning device. There are a ton of different versions of this that you can buy and they all pretty much do the trick. Whichever one you decide on, you will need a lot of it to loosen up the congestion in their noses. We keep them stocked. Use this before any type of suctioning for a more efficient clean.
Why I Love It: I like using saline sprays because I think they're a little more gentle on babies vs. pouring a stream of salt water into their nose but both are efficient. Just a personal preference.
3. Humidifiers & Essential Oils
Once you've worked on clearing their noses, you make sure the air they're breathing is moist and oil-infused. I'm a fan of this BreatheFrida humidifier. It's a 3-IN-1 humidifier, diffuser and night light and fills a room up to 250 ft. You don't need to buy this version if you're an essential oil lover but it is nice to have the soft night light. You can drop your oils right into any humidifier water tank but warning- you'll have to use a lot of oil because of the water volume. We also have a Vicks Vapor humidifier that is better for larger spaces and we use the "vapor pads" sometimes instead of oils. It helps us all sleep better.
Why I Love It: It has a slim profile for easy storage and an attractive design. The water tank doesn't leak and it's light weight so you can easily move it from room to room. Best for smaller spaces.
Days of wiping their little noses with dry tissues will start to make them peel and turn red so I carry these around to help with all sorts of messes.
Why I Love It: They're lightly infused with fun scents and the saline powerfully dissolves dry and stuck-on...eh...build-up.
5. Zarbees Natural Baby Products
The first time your baby gets sick, you quickly learn that you can't give them much, in the way of "medicine" to help them. Options are pretty limited with babies and toddlers so Zarbees line of natural supplements are life savers.
Why I Love It: Actually tastes like honey and they have a night time version of this syrup to naturally help with sleep. Clean ingredients help with cold symptoms.
6. Natural Chest Rub
You can make your own with some coconut oil if you're an essential oil enthusiast or you can buy a baby-friendly chest rub, pretty much anywhere. You'll want to rub this on their chest, back, forehead and I like to dab a little under their nose. It's especially helpful to rub on the soles of their feet and then cover with socks.
Why I Love It: A natural way to help break up the congestion and help them sleep better.
Probiotics don't typically come to mind when you think of products to help you through this season but there's some incredible research that shows the powerful connection between your gut bacteria and immune system. Here's a good read (The Gut: Where Bacteria and Immune System Meet).
My personal favorite line of probiotics is by Klaire Labs. We had a holisitic pediatrician recommend this infant powder to us after our son endured a heavy round of antibiotics as a newborn. We've used them ever since. There are several brands and kinds of probiotics you can get for kids. Do your research and make them a part of your daily wellness regimen.
Why I Love It: Klaire labs is a premium quality probiotic. You can mix this powder with baby food or with a warm (not hot) bottle. They also sell a chewable version for older children that we like to pop into smoothies for Jules. I also use their daily women's probiotic to help with my gut issues.
8. Elderberry Syrup
Did you really think I was going to get through this list without mentioning Elderberry? :)
You guys already know how I feel about this immunity potion. It is a staple in our "medicine" cabinet and ever since discovering it, I haven't stopped stocking it. To learn more about it's incredible medicinal properties, read up here.
I give my preschooler a teaspoon before school during flu season and I start giving it every 2-3 hours at the first sign of a cold. I have to say I'm religious about the timing. I will set my alarm for every two hours to make sure I don't miss a dose and the results are mind blowing.
What are your tips and parenting hacks for surviving cold & flu season? Share them in the comments below!