It is basic common sense and a natural instinct to want to keep everything clean, including yourself, and anyone who comes into contact with your lovely new baby. When you’re a super anxious mum however, you can take this to the extreme.
I was absolutely obsessed with germs, and I had no problem whatsoever telling family & friends to wash their hands before they picked Molly up.
I sterilised everything, and, as she was quite a sicky baby, the washing machine was constantly on. The amount of rows John and I had (and still have actually) over me reminding (he calls it nagging) him to wash his hands when he came in from work were ridiculous.
We had 6 glorious illness-free months, but then I started taking her to the local ‘stay and play’ groups & nursery, and it all went to shit.
On the day she caught her first cold, which inevitably caused her first high temperature, I was beside myself with worry. I was actually too scared to even give her the bloody calpol just in case she choked on it, or might be allergic!
Luckily I was staying with my sister at the time so she took over. I was supposed to go out with my best mate that night for a drink but I had to cancel just in case something happened. My sister laughed at me, telling me to go, but I just couldn’t leave her.
I went out and bought every bit of crap I could find (I am a marketer’s dream)…a dummy with vapouriser, baby olbas oil, and a nasal aspirator which is meant to suck the snot out of their nose (vom). Nothing works by the way, apart from time.
My first real initiation into the terrifying world of illness however occurred when we booked a weekend away to Centerparcs.
We ended up stuck in a cabin in the middle of Sherwood Forest with a baby who was projectile vomiting, had a high temperature, no medicine as I stupidly didn’t pack any, and no idea where the nearest hospital was.
Thanks to the lovely staff there who managed to find us a bottle of calpol, and the NHS helpline, we made it through the night. Turns out she had caught a lovely virus called ‘hand, foot & mouth’!
We left the next morning after absolutely no sleep, and a bag full of puke-covered clothes. To this day we can’t say the word ‘Centerparcs’ without shuddering.
Viral rashes…who knew??!
Until this happened, I honestly thought that any rash a baby had was meningitis. Turns out that they get rashes all the time.
I’ve educated myself on the different ones, and always do the ‘glass test’ when one appears, so i feel pretty confident now. I was so clueless in the early days though, and took her to the doctors all the time, just to be sure. The real fun began when she started nursery though…
Nurseries…Disneyland for germs
We found a fantastic nursery for Molly when I went back to work part time, and she went for one day a week when she turned 1.
She was there for 8 months before we made the decision to take her out and for me to give up my job.
Sorry to scare anyone who is about to put their child into nursery, but she was constantly ill for the entire time she was there, including: 15 ear infections, croup, urticaria (an allergic reaction to something which caused her to break out in hives…we spent the night in hospital for that one), conjunctivitis, a constant cold, and covered in a viral rash every other week.
Weirdly she never caught chicken pox even though it was going round. We’ve got that to come…yippee!
There was a bottle of amoxicillin in our fridge for months, none of us slept, and we spent that much time in the local walk in centre we were on first name terms with the staff.
Luckily apart from the odd cold, she’s been absolutely fine since leaving nursery in November. It wasn’t their fault, they were thoroughly clean, but kids are just walking germ factories who like to lick things (and eachother)!
Kids get sick. A lot.
But they also get better. Keep in mind that each virus/bug they contract is making them stronger. They need to be exposed to it to build their immune system up.
A doctor told me that the first 3 winters are the worst, and it does all eventually calm down. Thankfully serious illness is still quite rare, and you will just know if there is something really wrong with your baby…trust your instincts.
So here’s a few things that I still do religiously to try and keep us all healthy:
- Wash our hands…especially when we’ve just come home from being outside
- Wipe her hands with an antibacterial wipe when we’re out, especially before she eats anything
- DIET – this is such a major factor for me, and luckily I’m winning at it, we eat loads of fruit and veg every day. Her favourite meal is fresh salmon with sweet potato, broccoli and sweetcorn! Blueberries are still a firm favourite too
- Probiotic supplement…there’s a lot of evidence now to suggest that a healthy gut means a healthy immune system, especially after a course of antibiotics. I use Optibac probiotics for children
- Clean, but not too much! I love an antibac wipe and use them on our mobile phones, remote controls and door handles, because they are breeding grounds for germs. She does, however, eat stuff off the floor if she’s dropped it! I caught her licking the soles of her shoes the other day while I was driving, I pretty much just shrugged and carried on.
It’s not easy being an anxious mum, but honestly unless it is something serious it’s not worth worrying over…just keep your medicine cabinet stocked up!