Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Safety First! Tackling A Cold While Nursing

You know what's never fun? A cold. You know whats even less fun than that? A cold while nursing. 

Sans the lovely drugs that helped me through labor, I try to keep it as minimal as possible when it comes to ingesting anything medicinal. I even turned down my narcotic prescription after birth and stuck to the occasional Ibuprofen (not that I wanted to... trust me, but I felt it was the better choice). So, now having my first bout of illness postpartum, I found myself wondering what on earth I could do for this silly, yet utterly annoying cold without affecting my little man or my milk supply. I read online somewhere that if it dries up mucus, it can dry up your milk and I literally slapped my Macbook shut in terror.  I don't know if that's the truth, but that statement, combined with the possibility of side effects my usual go-to remedies "could" cause my child, was enough to worry the pee out of me and make the decision to try the good ole home remedy route. 

Now, I'm not saying these work fast, but they seem to be providing relief.

- I'm loading up on Vitamin C by continuing my prenatals, an added gummy and orange juice.  As well as Echinacea and Zinc. 
- Replace your morning coffee with Green Tea, you still get your kick with plenty of antioxidants.
- For head congestion I use either my trusty netty-pot, or if on-the-go, Arm & Hammer has a great Simply Saline solution.
- If you're baby isn't sick too, I'm sure they won't mind if you borrow their humidifier to run at night.
- Sleep at an incline. My husband laughs because I basically sleep on a pillow the thickness of a tissue, but since Nyquil is out of the question here, sleeping elevated prompts gravity to take care of all that nasty drainage. And while highly unattractive, Breathe Right Strips work wonders.
- It's hard when you're tending to a little one, but rest when they do, and find time for a hot bath - or two. It's amazing how hot water can make you feel so much better, as well as being clean.
- LOTS O' WATER, and though it's not on the healthy scale, a little Gatorade G2 Lime is like a treat when I'm sick. Keeping your electrolytes up help hydration levels.
- Feeling extra dehydrated? Mix together 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda, 8 tsp sugar, 8 oz of orange juice and dilute it into 1 L of water - homemade Pedialyte.
- Steam treatment (bonus pore opener for your face) - boil a pot of water, add some essential oil and drape a towel over your head and breathe deeply for 5 minutes. You can do this 2-3x a day if you like.
* Choose an oil like eucalyptus, sage or balsam for head congestion, or 2-3 tsp of anise for chest congestion - be very careful with peppermint, menthol or camphor, as it's been noted to cause severe breathing difficulties or liver problems if accidentally in contact with babies' skin. You can also do a steam treatment with apple cider vinegar, but I'm not brave enough to try this one - I hate the smell.
- Burn that mother lovin' cold out with Cayenne Pepper! I put a generous amount in vegetable broth and heat it up for a spicy cup of soup, you can also add it to any hot tea or your hot water with lemon and honey - which are great for sore throats.
- Bad sore throat? Gargle 1 tbsp of salt in 8 oz of water, or if you can stand mix 1-6 tsp of apple cider vinegar in 8 oz of water - several times per day. I've heard you can also mix half a packet of gelatin in hot water, let it cool and thicken a bit and drink it. Coats your throat like none other. If it were me, I'd just grab a pack of Jell-o, it's bound to taste better. Hey, desperation knows no bounds.  

I'm sure I haven't unearthed any new revelations in cold treatment, but they are the safe route when nursing your child.  And on that note, continue to nurse your child no matter how sick you are.  It provides them valuable antibodies to fight what you have, and if they already have it, it will keep them hydrated better than anything else.

Feel better Mamas! And Daddies. And well, everyone! :)

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