Standing in your child’s room in the small hours of the morning, trying to change a cot sheet one handed as you feel the warm stream of vomit running down your back from the toddler on your shoulder, simultaneously wondering what on Earth the smell could possibly be that’s radiating from the same toddlers behind.. It’s a high point in your parenting journey, and one that every parent will experience (probably) more than once.
It’s no secret that we’ve had a pretty rough time with the Norovirus lately — thankfully, we seem to have all recovered now and I’m going to share how we
managed survived. It goes without saying to keep on top of hand washing– so I won’t bore you with that one!
1. Take a deep breath
As soon as your toddler vomits that first time, presume you’re in for the long haul and don’t fight it. You’ll be arm deep in sick, poo, and you probably won’t get any sleep. But it will get better, and you’ll survive this. Go make yourself a coffee and don’t bother changing out of your pyjamas — you aren’t going anywhere. If you’re really lucky like I was, you’ll get the same bug!
2. Hydrate hydrate hydrate!
Make sure you and your little one stay hydrated. As someone who still breastfeeds regularly, I had to keep sipping water even though it was the last thing I wanted to do. Keep in mind that your little one might not want to drink either, but it’s worth always having a water bottle at hand so they can help themselves.
I still breastfeed BB, so a lot of the time he drank my milk and sucked out of comfort — I was pretty ‘touched out’ at the end of the day but had to keep reminding myself how poorly I felt and how poor BB was probably feeling. Nipple cream is a must at this point, and I turned to Lanisoh* as it doesn’t need washing off if BB decides to boob after application.
3. Eat little and often
Neither of us ate very much, but I still (begrudgingly) prepared little meals so that the normal routine was continued. I didn’t want to get into the habit of skipping a meal, or getting BB into that habit even if we didn’t feel like eating. I found that BB grazed during the day, often returning to his plate for hours afterward so ‘picnic’ food that could stay out worked really well. Crackers, raisins and cereals without milk were a godsend.
For the days BB wasn’t eating, Mike took a trip to our local chemist and picked up some Dioralyte* which the pharmacist recommended. It helps replenish minerals and vitamins lost during a bout of sickness and diarrhoea!
4. Cuddles and comfort
Due to the nature of tummy bugs, keeping your toddler close is pretty much standard. Not just for clean up or comfort, but when a little one is sick through the night it’s best to be on-hand to deal with the situation. This is where those who co-sleep excel — instead, as BB slept in his room I stared at the baby monitor all night scared he would be sick in his sleep and choke on it.
Through the day, we cuddled on the sofa and watched The Gruffalo* on repeat — the soothing music at the end during the credits scene is a favourite of BB’s, and he’ll sit and watch the whole story enraptured.
5. Preparation is key..
Now, we have a drawer in the bedroom in close proximity to the cot with emergency bedding in. Before, we had two sets I’d cycle through, what a mistake that was!
As I’ve said before, BB has never been a sick baby. This tummy bug was actually the first time he’s ever been sick, so I was grossly under prepared. Now however, I have multiple cot sheets* and plenty of blankets should the worst happen. As a helpful tip, if you do find yourself in a sticky situation like us: use a duvet cover from your own bed, and tuck it tightly under the mattress. Mike came up with the genius idea and it kept us afloat until morning!
Another great investment if you don’t have one, is a cot mattress protector*. This stops any fluids soaking through into the mattress itself, and it won’t just see you through tummy bugs — it’ll see you right through potty training too!
6. Keep on top of the washing!
Oh yes — it’s just not worth it, leaving anything festering in he laundry basket. If your little one is sick through the night, wrap the sheet up and stick it on top but first thing in the morning you’ll want to rinse the chunky bits off before throwing it straight into the wash on a hot wash. I actually put a cap full of disinfectant* (not a concentrated disinfectant!) in with the wash too, to make sure any lingering nasties would be taken care of.
7. Change nappies regularly
With sickness, comes diarrhoea. With diarrhoea comes the risk of nappy rash.
Make sure you keep on top of nappy changes so the little one is comfortable, and use a barrier cream such as Sudocrem* to help fend off any soreness.
So there you have it — a small survival pack for tummy bugs. All the products are on my Amazon Storefront in a handy list* if you prefer, although I do earn money if you click through to products via this post or my list. Remember: tummy bugs are a horrible experience, but they don’t last forever. There is an end! I promise!