Your baby can’t tell you what the problem is and as a parent, there’s nothing more worrying than when your baby is sick or in pain. While it can be a worrying moment, very often the issue is nothing too serious but instead something that can be addressed with some tried and tested remedies.
In this blog, we’re taking a look at some everyday aches, pains, and issues that your little one may well face as they head towards becoming a toddler. We also suggest some reliable solutions, from over the counter preparations to some of the solutions your granny would have found affective and that have stood the test of time.
Take our look at our guide to common baby illnesses and how to turn your grumpy baby back into a happy baby again.
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If your young baby catches chickenpox, then you should absolutely take them to the doctors if you have any concerns. While the majority of cases do clear up without the need for intervention from your healthcare provider, you should always listen to your instincts, particularly with very young children.
To help ease your baby’s itching symptoms, you should consider using a calamine solution that can be dabbed over the affected areas for cooling relief. It can be hard for babies not to scratch so consider putting a pair of socks on their hands to avoid making spots bleed and causing infection and scarring.
Your child may also experience a mild fever and while a paracetamol medication is fine, ibuprofen-based medicine should be completely avoided as it can lead to a serious skin infection.
If you are able to get your baby into the bath, then a bath solution made with porridge oats strained through a pair of tights or a muslin contains active ingredients that can help soothe the itching.
Ear infections and pain can be extremely distressing for small babies and their parents. There can be several reasons for the problem, including teething, a cold or infection following a swim. It might also just be a virus. If your baby is showing signs of teething then the two often go hand in hand. There are several answers for teething (see below) but if your baby has an infection, then a short course of antibiotics should do the trick.
A virus will have to run its course but over-the-counter paracetamol or ibuprofen should ease the worst of the symptoms.
Probably the issue that comes up most throughout those first few weeks and months in a baby’s life. There are literally hundreds of traditional solutions when it comes to easing teething pain from the oil of cloves to frozen carrot sticks, perfect for a baby to chomp on.
You can take your pick from the natural options and frozen food is one of the most effective, providing your baby is good at grasping. Frozen teething rings also have the same effect. When it comes to over the counter medicine, painkilling medicine is effective and combined with a topical treatment such as a numbing teething gel, like Bonjela, can provide the most relief.
The good news for parents is that, very often, once the first few teeth are few the baby often becomes used to the process and seems to suffer less.
A word of caution involving dummies or pacifiers, your chomping baby may find themselves gnawing hard on the rubber throughout the night so check the pacifier regularly to ensure that it is not damaged.
In the warm weather, your baby will sweat and the folds of their skin may become irritated and lead to a heat rash. This is uncomfortable for a baby and can cause them to scratch and become irritable.
Bathing them regularly will help to remove sweat and dirt, though make sure to dry them off. You can also use over the counter solutions to ease some of the red irritation.
Not to be confused with Bronchitis, this coughing and wheezing complaint are very common among children during the cold and flu season. Like a virus, it can’t be treated with antibiotics, instead treatment focuses on making your baby as comfortable as possible.
They’ll need to stay hydrated with plenty of milk and water. If sleeping at night is difficult and lying flat leads to more coughing, you could consider elevating the cot with a couple of large books that might feel less restrictive than lying flat.
Getting the sniffles is a right of passage for most babies and somewhere between six months and 18 months, it might feel like your child has cold after cold. This is their natural defenses building up and is perfectly normal.
As with a cough, there aren’t any antibiotics that will help shift a common cold but you can ease some of the symptoms. Fever can be brought down with a combination of ibuprofen and paracetamol – ask your pharmacist if you have any questions about using either of these medications. This pain relief will also help ease any sore throat or headaches that your baby is experiencing.
A stuffy nose can be a real problem at night and you might find some relief from something like Olbas Oil sprinkled on baby clothes to help cut through the blocked nose. Raising a bed is also helpful here too and will help with breathing.
Your baby may also want to nurse more frequently, which will be as much about comfort as food so be prepared to spend some quality time with your sofa!
Baby vomit is also part and parcel of the early years’ experience and very often a little bit of throw-up is absolutely nothing to worry about. They may have gobbled down their milk too quickly which can be addressed by slowing them down on the breast or bottle a little bit. They may be getting used to a different brand of milk, in which case you might switch to a sensitive stomach version.
The issue becomes a problem when your baby can’t seem to keep anything down after any feed and is still vomiting when there is nothing left in their stomachs. If your baby is not keeping down water then it’s time to take them to the doctor. They may receive some anti-nausea medication and you will be able to reintroduce water, possibly combined with an electrolyte, back into their diet. The electrolyte solution will replace any salts that have been lost through extended vomiting.
Another common and sometimes distressing condition for babies and their parents. The best way to treat nappy rash is to try and prevent it from happening in the first place. Change nappies regularly and as soon as possible when the baby wakes up. Use the best quality nappies that you can afford to prevent leaks that let urine sit next to the baby’s skin for prolonged periods of time.
Make sure to give the baby a proper clean with water or wipes and to dry the area off to avoid chafing. You can then use something like a barrier cream to stop liquid on baby’s skin and to treat any redness that’s already there. There are some big names on the market but a simple zinc oxide mixture will do the job.
This is usually the domain of older children but if your baby has an older sibling then there are some symptoms to watch out for. The most obvious is painful, ulcer-like sores in the mouth and throat. These may be accompanied by sores on the hands and on the soles of the feet.
While the sores are painful the biggest issue can be with persuading your baby to take fluids, particularly if their throat is sore. Let them drink sips of iced water to help with the pain, while older children might like ice pops.
You can treat some of the achy, fever-like symptoms with paracetamol or ibuprofen medication. The illness should start to ease between seven and ten days but it is contagious so try and avoid contact with other children if possible.
Having a sick baby can be a worrying time. When the smallest members of your family can’t articulate how they’re feeling or what it is that’s causing them pain, figuring it out can be a process of elimination.
Very often the most common complaints are to blame and for the most part they are easily treatable. Teething has a host of other symptoms that accompany it from continuous drooling to explosive nappies. Experiment with what works for your baby and find a solution that gives you at least a little bit of rest at night.
Parenthood can be hard work but you’re everything you need for your baby so follow your instincts and be there with plenty of cuddles, lots of milk and all the tips and tricks we’ve laid out in this blog on the most common childhood complaints.