Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Caring for a sick toddler.

There’s been a nasty stomach bug going around our daycare the past few weeks and it finally made its way into our house a few days ago. I just hate having a sick little boy. I’m lucky enough to have a job that allows me the flexibility to work from home when Slade is sick so we spent the day at home together. Here are my tips for caring for a little one with a stomach bug based on my experiences with Slade:
Fluids. A stomach bug puts these little guys at such a risk for dehydration so ensuring that he is getting enough fluids is very important. At our house, we only drink milk and water and limit juice for special treats. So when he has a stomach bug he usually gets to drink strawberry pedialyte and/or juice. And because it’s something he doesn’t get on a daily basis, I usually have no problem getting him to drink it. But if I do, I will try to make it fun by putting his drink in a “special” cup.
TLC. I knew something was wrong when he walked into my room the other morning after he woke up and rather than running and climbing up onto my bed he said “mommy, hold me.” My boy only wants to be held when he’s sick, wants to see what I’m cooking in the kitchen or if he’s being bashful. It’s funny how he instantly turns into a super clingy boy when he doesn’t feel good- to the point of having to constantly sit in my lap or even lay on top of me. When he’s sick, I take advantage of his desire to be right next to me and give him all the snuggles, hugs and kisses that I can. We curl up on the couch and read books together or climb into my bed and watch Sesame Street. It’s hard to give non-stop attention, especially when I’m supposed to be working from home, but I try to make it a priority. I remind myself that chances are in a few short years, he won’t want to snuggle up with me when he doesn’t feel well so I should cherish the opportunity now. I can always do my work while he naps or after he’s in bed.
Food. I always struggle with what to feed my little man when he has a stomach bug. He usually has little desire to eat when he’s sick. While it’s important that he eat, it’s also important to take it slow with solids while his tummy is recuperating. I try to stick with bland foods until I know the bug is gone. Slade usually enjoys crackers, pancakes, oatmeal and applesauce when he doesn’t feel well. I will offer food and snacks at the times he would normally have meals and snacks but I never force it on him. If he’s hungry and feels like eating, he will. Sometimes he will find one thing that he likes and will stick with it. This time around he was stuck on applesauce. Luckily I had just stocked up on it because he ate every bit we had in the house!
Rest. Getting enough sleep is so important for little guys and can make or break a day. When they are sick, being well rested is even more important. When Slade’s sick, he will take longer than normal naps and will sleep later in the mornings. I also try to get him into bed a little bit earlier when he doesn’t feel well to ensure that he will get enough sleep at night.
Play. Let the toddler be the guide for what they feel like doing. Slade is always on the go but when he doesn’t feel well, he can be surprisingly still. Normally, we limit the amount of television he gets to watch to usually just 30 minutes on Saturday and Sunday and none during the week. But when he’s sick and doesn’t feel like playing, we will have extra special television time together. We also read lots of books. I don’t worry about all this down time because I know that it’s important that he gets plenty of rest. Plus, as soon as he starts to feel better, he will right be back up and playing.
If your toddler isn’t better after a few days, you should consult your pediatrician.  

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