Cold season is here. I type those words with dread, and while I hate all the bugs that go around, I absolutely love autumn. My husband and I got married at the beginning of September. My two girls are autumn babies – one born at the end of September and one at the end of November. There are some of the best holidays of the year to celebrate if you like – Diwali, Halloween, Bonfire night, and Thanksgiving. And the landscape looks pretty stunning with all the beautifully coloured leaves dancing around.
Unfortunately, for the last three years my favourite season has been plagued by at least one of my babies suffering from a hacking cough, broken sleep, and a very snotty nose. This year, I refuse to be victim to the constant barrage of viruses. And while I know they will still get sick, I figure if I save us from even ONE cold, that’s a win. So here we go – operation Healthy Babies:
First, layers. The folks over in Norway say ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing’ and maybe it’s time I listened. In the past, I’ve been a bit lax on making sure the girls were dressed appropriately. I assumed a warm coat, hat and good knitwear would be enough, but totally forgot about how cold it can get during the day when you’re inside. Not. This. Year. I’ve ordered thermal layers, including socks, for the entire family. After shopping around, I ended up buying Uniqlo Heat Tech. It is super light-weight, affordable, washes easily, and fits underneath most things or is cute enough to wear alone. Luckily it’s also super-soft so my oldest daughter is actually asking to put it on. And let’s be honest, getting a three year old asking to wear something sensible is the holy grail.
Second, probiotics. I know there is no proof to support their effectiveness, but they seem to be working for us. Last year, after a round of antibiotics to treat an infection, my oldest daughter came down with the worst cold I’ve ever seen. The coughing was waking her every hour, and we went through about six boxes of tissue in a week. We started her on probiotics, and the cold cleared a few days later. Since then, anytime we’ve stopped giving them to her, she seems to come down with something. If you’re up for trying this, have a chat with your local pharmacist about what’s appropriate for your kids. A friend recommended the ones we use, and after a bit of scepticism, we haven’t looked back.
Third, homemade stock. Again, an old wives tale that is hard to prove, but I figure is worth a try. And what’s better than a warm bowl of soup on a very cold night? Up until this year, making broth from scratch was something I simply didn’t make time for. This year I’ve simply forced myself into the habit of cooking both beef and chicken stock one weekend a month. I keep some of it in the fridge to use in my cooking, and then freeze the rest in muffin tins and decant into a sealed container. I love the fact that there’s less salt in my cooking as a result, and also am throwing all sorts of vitamin-rich veggies and immunity-boosting ingredients like garlic and ginger into the pot. There are recipes all over the internet for inspiration, like this one on goodfood.com. Even if it doesn’t work, at least it will taste nice.
Finally, I’ve just accepted that there will be sick days, and so have stocked the medicine cabinet so that I’m not caught out when one of the babies does fall ill. Dioralyte, Calpol, Nurofen, Vics Vaporub, a small forest-worth of tissues, and nasal drops. I’d love to know if there are any other ‘must-buys’ that you would recommend!
So that’s it – our attempt to stay healthy-ish in the run up to Christmas. What do you and your family do? Any tips or tricks we’ve missed? Drop your suggestions in the comments below!