Winter is coming and as parents we know this means snot, snot and more snot. Did you know that it is normal for babies and younger children to have 6+ colds each year? While it isn't nice to see our little ones unwell it is unfortunately normal. There are things we can do to try and prevent as many colds and to ease discomfort during periods of illness. Here are my tips:
Encourage enough sleep:
Getting the right amount of sleep day to day is essential for our overall health and the main way to boost immunity. There are many benefits to sleep and I won't go through all of them but sleep helps to strengthen our immune system and supports the body to make repairs. It's always good to check in with how much sleep your little one needs for their age and compare that with how much sleep they are getting. During periods of illness your little one may need more sleep than usual.
Air quality in bedrooms can actually be quite poor. The cleanliness of the air and the humidity levels (if not ideal) can impact breathing and subsequently the quality of sleep. During the winter months with snotty noses and congestion, easy breathing can be even more challenging. Using an ultrasonic sleep vaporiser can support good sleep and relieve some of the symptoms caused by virus, stuffy noses/congestion and cough. My go to product is the Aroma Snooze Ultrasonic Vaporiser 6 in 1 by Snotty Noses. This product has a cool mist vaporiser, air purifier/ionizer, built in sound therapy (white noise), aromatherapy function and more. This is a great way to help improve air quality/breathing and reduce sinus/allergy and cold/flu type symptoms.
Visit the Snotty Noses site: https://snottynoses.com.au/aroma-snooze-ultimate-sleep-kit/
The sleep environment:
Having the sleep environment set up right = more sleep. Babies and children generally don't sleep well if the room is too hot or cold. A comfortable room temperature is between 19-22 degrees. I love the use of sleeping bags for as long as you can use them (my almost 3 year old is still in one). Until a toddler is old enough for a bed and can keep their blankets on, sleeping bags are a win. Following the TOG guides, they are a great way to ensure you have dressed your little one appropriately for the room temp/season. Using an oil column heater is a great and safe way to warm the room to a comfortable temperature. I recommend having heaters a safe distance away from cots and beds.
Keep the room DARK for sleep.
Use white noise. White noise isn't just for babies. White noise is soothing and it also filters out any noise disturbances (creaky floorboards, morning work alarms, dogs barking, traffic etc.). White noise fills the quiet, which can sometimes seem scarier for a toddler or younger child that has night fears or bedtime worries. I recommend using it at safe volumes of no louder than 50Db and positioned at least 2 meters away from your child's sleep space. You can download an app called “db meter” to test the Db level.
Comfort through sickness:
Offer comfort because your little one needs you. Don't feel like you have to completely change things up though. I've done it myself where my baby has been so sick that I've tried to bring them into bed and help them to fall asleep, only to have them stare at me in confusion as to what the heck I was doing. Keeping things normal can actually be quite comforting for your child. If your child needs you, be with them. Give them the comfort that they need. Being sick can impact sleep BUT sleep also restores the body, so we want to provide comfort but try and get our little ones back to sleep as quickly as possible, they need it. If your child is having difficulty sleeping without your support then you may need to stay in their room with them until you get them to sleep. I have slept on my children's floor many times when they've been unwell. I recommend keeping your little one in their sleep space and staying with them, rather than bringing them out of their room as often this can lead to longer periods of wakefulness and a more unsettled night.
I hope this helps and fingers crossed for an easier winter.