The Newborn Diaries: Baby's First Cold

28/03/2011 09:15 | Updated 22 May 2015

ColdI'm pretty happy the month of January is finally over.

Here's how it played out: I would get ill, feel revolting, pass the cold/flu/general hideousness to baby Diana (who would be coughing and sputtering and miserable), and then she would give it back to me, and pass it to her father, before we both gave it back to her. And repeat.

As if being ill isn't miserable enough in general - rotting in your own filth, feeling achy, using a box of tissues a minute - it's about a million times worse when you have an infant.

First of all, being a whinging, self-pitying, sobbing mess gets you nowhere when you're home alone with a screaming baby and barking dog. And not only is no one rushing to take care of you, but you still need to take care of your dependents.

When you're dreaming of getting some rest and curling up in bed, breast-feeding while trying to happily sing along to the Winnie the Pooh mobile with a pounding headache/fever/runny nose/all of the above just isn't that pleasant an alternative.

Of course, the worst part of being ill is that your poor baby ends up with whatever hideous contagion you have. So there you are: repulsive, unwashed and feeling sorry for yourself, attemping to parent an (also unwashed) infant who is completely stuffed up, breathing heavily and feverish. And it's your fault. So not only are you ill, you're having a mental breakdown as a result.

Diana also developed a horrendous hacking cough which was remarkably intense for such a small person. I was so freaked out I called the doctor and then brought her in – apparently babies sound even more terrible when they have a cold (even if they are OK) than adults do.

The doctor told me why, and all of the warning signs to watch for in case the baby's illness is serious (something about not feeding and the baby's breathing dipping beneath their ribs), but unfortunately I was too busy sneezing to take notes.

In addition to threatening to spit up a lung with every splutter, not to mention a completely blocked up nose and general discomfort, Baby D couldn't breastfeed because she was so congested, which made her grumpy and miserable, which meant she didn't sleep. So of course I didn't sleep, and then I didn't get better and then baby D couldn't either. And repeat.

I bought VapoRub to rub on her tiny chest and the doctor gave me a prescription for these magical nose drops: about 10 minutes after squirting them in, the contents of both of baby D's nostrils would be dripping out (they had been rock hard boulders previously, refusing to yield to fingers or even sucking from my own mouth). Revolting? Perhaps.

But yet another joy of parenting is that nothing is too disgusting these days. If you think you've stooped low in the past (I sure thought I had), you'll be impressed at how much farther down you can go. At least now it's for a more noble cause than alcohol: Sleep.

After three weeks of this, I'm happy to say we seem to be on a temporary hiatus from runny noses and watery eyes. Which means we can finally leave the house, I guess.

Wait - I spoke too soon. This morning I woke up with a sore throat and dizzy spells. Looks like February will be a pleasure.

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