We’re barely three months into 2017, and my daughter has already had four ear infections and pink eye. Friends, colleagues and family members try to comfort me by saying it’s normal, especially because it’s winter and she’s in daycare. Each conversation is concluded with the same six words I’m sick (no pun intended) of hearing, “It will strengthen her immune system.”
While I know these are well-meaning words, and no individual advice giver knows how often I’ve been hearing them, it takes all of me to hold back a massive eyeroll. Why you ask? Here are six reasons:
1. Middle of the Night Wake Ups. It wasn’t that long ago my daughter began sleeping through the night, but that luxury was short-lived as she wakes up several times when she’s sick. The only thing a sleep deprived parent of a sick baby wants to hear is the sound of her congested baby snoring, not how strong her immune system is going to be.
2. Administering Antibiotics. When you pick up the antibiotics at the drug store, the pharmacist hands you what is usually a form of penicillin and a syringe to administer it. Seems simple enough, right? Well, sick babies are pretty fussy, and the turning away from the syringe can get pretty aggressive. Medicine gets everywhere and you end up wondering if she even got the full dose. I will not be taking comfort in hearing about a strong immune system when I’m preoccupied with the thought of my baby not getting her required dosage of medication.
3. Explosive Diapers. Many antibiotics are very strong and irritate babies’ bellies, which results in explosive diapers. Parents feel bad enough that their little ones aren’t feeling well, but when the antibiotics are causing them to feel worse, so do we. My daughter is also at that age where she is easily distracted, and changing her diaper has become an Olympic event. I’d rather have someone offer to change her diaper than offer me the advice of her soon-to-be strong immune system.
4. Giving Eye Drops. The hardest thing I have done as a mom thus far, besides birthing my daughter, was administering eye drops for her pink eye…Five times a day for 10 days! This is something that is nearly impossible to do alone, and still super-difficult to do with a counterpart. It’s hard to find comfort in the strength of your daughter’s future immune system when you’re attempting not to blind her five times a day.
5. Using The NoseFrida. When we first got the NoseFrida we thought it was the best invention. But as my daughter got sick more frequently, the novelty of it wore off for everyone. Instead of her thinking it was funny, she screams at the top of her lungs, and I hold her head while my husband sucks out the boogies. Your words of compassion don’t mean much when my husband is yelling to hold her head tighter while attempting to get her boogies out.
6. We All Get Sick. I learned quickly that becoming a family means passing around the same germs between the three of us, over, and over, and over. What’s worse than having a sick baby? Having a sick baby and being sick yourself! But on the plus side, it will strengthen my immune system, right?