Try to imagine, if you can, what it must feel like to feel unwell for the very first time. You and I will have been unwell many times with varying levels of severity, and because of this we know that eventually the sniffles and shivers will pass, and we’ll feel better.
But your baby doesn’t know this comfort, not the first time. For them life is good, they’re happily going along eating, sleeping, pooping and repeating all of these in no particular order and then out of nowhere, bam!!!… a sore throat, runny nose, aches and pains, or in Quinn’s case a chesty cough.
It must be horrendous for them, but it’s also horrible for you and it’s natural to worry (so I keep telling myself).
Coughs are usually a symptom of infection, normally the common cold. How do I know this? Well as a new dad much of my time is spent on google getting answers to all the things I think I should probably know, but really have no idea about. Some of my actual google searches include…
How far can my baby see? Why is my baby grunting at night? Why can’t babies have cow’s milk? Why is my baby losing her hair? How to get rid of babies hiccups? What’s the ideal temperature for baby bath? Do babies dream? The list goes on. With a baby depending on you for everything, there are more and more times I feel like I’m faking this adult and parent test by using google to cheat and get the answers.
Coughing has both voluntary and involuntary actions (google again) and although it comes naturally to us, it most certainly doesn’t to Quinn yet. Over the past few days Quinn has had a bad cough including three or four ‘coughing fits’ a day that have mostly coincided with feeding either from Sian or the bottle. Her coughs are very chesty and it sounds like she’s trying to clear phlegm from her little lungs. But she doesn’t know how to cough. She knows she needs to do something and you can she her trying to figure out what it is, but after she tries and tries with no real success it’s the little noise she makes afterwards, a soft defeated groan, that really gets me.
If I’m honest, I didn’t cope with it very well. I was holding her during one of her worst episodes at the weekend and just didn’t know what to do. I swear she held her breath for 30 seconds although it probably felt longer than it was, and she turned so red I started to convince myself she was choking. She was doing everything she could to cough properly and I felt completely useless as she stared up at me pleading at me through her teary eyes to help her. Running through my head is, when do I take her to the doctor, what do i do if she stops breathing? I’m desperately hoping for a better adult to step in and help, and luckily Sian is there to put Quinn and me at ease.
Maybe you get used to it with time, but it’s heart-breaking watching your little one struggle, and being able to do little more to help than sit her up and sooth her. Then there’s the guilt of wondering if I’d given the cold to her. Both Sian and I have had a cold recently, maybe I should have been more careful around Quinn? This probably sounds dramatic considering it’s nothing more serious than a cough and cold, but I don’t think I’d be alone in admitting that as a new dad I sometimes treat relatively small issues with the same anxiety and worry as I do the serious ones. Basically when it comes to Quinn I can be overly dramatic but I think this comes from the primal instinct to keep her safe.
The silver lining is that we know it’s not serious, it’s called the common cold for a reason, so Quinn should start to feel better within a week or two. And in between coughing she’s her normal happy smiley self, brightening up my day.
Less comforting is that babies can suffer from up to eight colds in their first year, so I’m off to wrap Quinn in bubble wrap and quarantine her to her bedroom.