Friday, January 10, 2014

"Posh Mama, Zen Baby": Baby's First Fever!

by Sarah

Noah turned 4 months old this past Tuesday ( I can hardly believe how big he is getting!) and with that came his second round of vaccines at his check-up. He breezed through the first set of vaccines at 2 months, but as the doctor warned us, with the second round, he became very fussy and had a fever that kept him up all night last night.  Our pediatrician informed us that since the baby has already had Round 1 of these shots, the second time around, his body will recognize the vaccines and want to fight them off more. Hence, a fussier baby and a fever. 

As a new parent, everything is scary, fun, and exciting. I remember being pregnant (and overly emotional) thinking about how safe my baby was inside my belly.  I knew that once he came out, he would be subject to things like colds, getting his feelings hurt, feeling pain, etc.  I know that all of it is part of the human experience and that babies are pretty tough, but as a mother, you take on all of your child’s pain while still dealing with all of your own pain.  So, anytime your baby feels sick, it can be very stressful.

It is SO important to trust your intuition as a parent, but also be willing to be accept that you are not in control.  There is so much advice and so many people who are eager to give you their input that you need to drown all of it out and just listen to your baby sometimes.  
There have been very few times that Noah has stayed up all night crying (the only other times were when he first came home from the hospital) and refused to nurse (no matter what is going on, he’s always up for some breast milk).  It was his very first fever and his little body was so warm. He is normally such a relaxed, happy, and curious little boy that seeing him so miserable put me into stress-mode.

I knew I had to wake Dan up and have him soothe Noah as best he could while I called the doctor's office. I called at 3am and after answering a thousand questions, the nurse on duty at Children's Hospital told me to bring him to the ER, with no other advice.  Noah had just fallen back asleep in his Dad’s arms and I knew in my gut that dragging him out of bed, strapping him into the carseat, and waiting around in a brightly lit, germ infested ER was NOT what my baby needed (in this situation-- if I thought it was necessary, I would absolutely, 100% be there.)  So, we decided to give him some children’s tylenol and let him sleep.  

This was what my baby needed.  Within a few hours, his body cooled down and he woke up to nurse, which was a very good sign.  When he woke up in the morning, he needed another dose of tylenol and some extra time on the boobs, but he was back to his cooing, smiling self.  

Moral of the story: listen to your baby and trust your motherly "gut" feelings.  I also have to say that I am so blessed to have a partner in parenting because while I feel like I can soothe Noah most of the time, sometimes he needs his Dad.  Last night, I was so overwhelmed and worried about Noah that I needed someone to step in.  Dan woke up and gave him Tylenol and then rocked him to sleep on his chest.  It’s just nice to know that when one of us is overwhelmed, the other can step in.

Men can come in handy sometimes...

TIPS: Always have baby Tylenol on hand.

Always have a thermometer on hand & don't be scared to use it rectally. I took an infant care class while pregnant at Shining Light Prenatal Education and Deena told us that taking a baby's temperature rectally may be uncomfortable for you (it is a little strange at first), but the baby doesn't even realize what's happening!

Never be scared to call your doctor, no matter what time of day it is.
Trust your motherly (or parent) intuition. You (and your partner) have a bond with your baby that no one else does. Trust it.

While I am not a doctor, what worked for my baby after his 4-month shots was: baby Tylenol, plenty of fluids (or extra time nursing), and quiet time to nap as much as he needed.

Give it a little time. As I mentioned, I called in the middle of the night and I was told to go to the ER. I waited until morning, however, and called my regular pediatrician's office and they told me to just administer the Tylenol and monitor him for a day.

Try not to worry! I keep reminding myself about how many times I was sick as a child and it helps.

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