We affectionately call my two-year-old son “The Boy of a Thousand Co-Pays” because in his short two years of life, he’s seen the inside of our pediatrician’s office a little too often for my taste. He may have gotten my blonde hair, but he definitely got his dad’s (weak) immune system. He’s had the flu, croup, bronchitis, pinkeye, even! And, while parenting is a job made up of a million different choices and viewpoints, I think almost all parents would agree that a sick baby is the worst.

But if I had to find a silver lining in all those sleepless nights, it would be that an often-sick baby eventually leads to a much more chilled-out mom. Now, I wouldn’t wish a sick kid on anyone, of course not, but it’s a safe bet that at some point all new moms will have to face a high fever or stomach virus or some other ailment that’s just plain not fun (but, also, just plain common). And when you do have a house full of germs, here are some important things to keep in mind:

· Hydrate! We tend not to worry about Kyle eating much of anything at all when he’s got a fever or isn’t feeling well. All that matters is that he has enough liquid – water, Pedialyte, a little juice. Anything that produces wet diapers is fine by us.

· Watch the behavior more than the thermometer. Kyle has consistently high fevers, and I used to worry a lot about them. But he usually acts fairly fine. Sure, he gets a little more tired and clingy, but he’s basically himself, just under the weather. My pediatrician told me early on to be concerned when his behavior changes, not his temperature. That was very good advice, and it’s helped me immeasurably.

· Go with your gut. We’ve taken Kyle to urgent care and the ER a couple of times because my gut told me it couldn’t wait till morning, and while we’ve been lucky—he’s never had something that serious or untreatable—I’m always glad I listened to my gut. It gave me peace of mind and a few answers.

Now, when Kyle gets sick, I tend to roll with the punches much better than I ever did before, and I think I worry less, too. I know he needs me to be calm and together, and I know he’ll be okay with a little water, a little rest, and a lot of love. Sick kids just happen, unfortunately, so when it’s your turn, try not to worry. Watch, hydrate, and trust your instincts. And, remember ice cream is good for both moms and kids when the germs descend.

You can follow Jennie Canzoneri on her personal blog, She Likes Purple. Have a question or a comment? She’d love to hear from you!

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