December was rough. In addition to the everyday stress of our business during the holiday rush, Bruno, who is just two months old, got bronchiolitis. This respiratory tract infection caused by a virus can be especially dangerous in infants as swelling in their tiny airways and bronchioles can make breathing difficult. When they were little, both Costa and Paolo had RSV, a form of bronchiolitis, but they were a few months older than Bruno when they got it, and theirs never lasted as long as his.
It’s so hard when our littles get sick, especially in those first few months. The inability to blow their nose, cough to get mucus out of their throat, and communicate how they feel makes it that much harder. Bruno was sick for almost two weeks; we took him to the doctor twice and had several tele-visits with our pediatrician, as he wasn’t improving until a couple of days ago. We tried A LOT of things to help him get better and be as comfortable as possible. Here is what seemed to work and give him the most relief.
1) Steam shower. This, by far, is what helped Bruno the most, especially on those super congested days. I would close the bathroom door, turn the shower on super hot, and pace back and forth with him in the bathroom as it filled with hot steam. Adding peppermint or eucalyptus oil to the bottom of the bathtub also helped provide some relief for him. There were several bad nights when he had coughing fits when I would do a steam shower every two hours and then put him back down, often doing 3-4 steams for him throughout the night.
2) Humidifier. I am absolutely in love with our Canopy Humidifier. As part of a collaboration they did with Lalo, we also got two essential oil blends that you can use with the humidifier. An added plus! These blends were helpful on those tough nights when Bruno was fussy and uncomfortable. Unlike so many other brands, the Canopy humidifier is super easy to clean, resistant to mold, and offers an easy and effective way to help alleviate cough and nasal congestion in kids. I also love that this one is small and aesthetically pleasing. Highly recommend!
3) Zarbees Baby Soothing Chest Rub. This gentle, baby-friendly chest rub is made of eucalyptus, lavender, and beeswax. I put it on the bottom of Bruno’s feet and chest every time I changed him to help him with his breathing and congestion. Even now, after his cough has finally gone away, I am still using it nightly to help move the congestion that he is experiencing in his head.
4) Nose Frieda or Bulb Syringe. I used both to remove boogers and buildup from his nose. I still have my bulb syringe from the hospital, and we also got a Nose Frieda when he got sick. On Bruno, the bulb syringe was often harder to use as he fought it, but I think it just depends on your child. Both are useful to have on hand.
5) Saline Drops. The pharmacist at CVS said their brand was entirely safe for use on a baby, as they were sold out of everything marketed explicitly for babies. The Nose Frida Drops were also recommended to us, but we couldn’t find them in stock anywhere. Two to three times a day, I would put a few drops in each nostril (Bruno REALLY didn’t like this one), give it a minute, and then suck out everything with the Nose Frida. I would do this as needed depending on his level of congestion but always before bed at night to try and give him (and me) the best chance of getting a good stretch of sleep.
6) Matys Simply Breathe Nasal Ointment. In addition to the Soothing Chest Rub, I also got this natural ointment that I put around his nostrils and just under his nose to help with his breathing.
7) Warm baths. To try and offer relaxation and comfort to Bruno during this very uncomfortable time, I gave him a warm bath an hour before bedtime each night. If he was fussing a lot, the tub would usually calm him down and quiet him. I think the stimulation of the bath also tired him out, giving him deeper sleep at night and during naps.
8) Baby Oil. Another soothing technique, which I have continued with Bruno, is a gentle night time massage with baby oil. After changing his diaper and before his pajamas are on, I add a little Chelsey Wang Night Night Baby Oil to the palm of my hand and gently massage his belly in a circular motion and then continue down his legs and his arms. The massage relaxes his body and has become a part of our overall night time routine.