Seeing your baby sick is surely one of the worst parts about being a parent. But colds and other such illnesses are somewhat inevitable while our little ones develop strong immune systems. Worse than a cold, though, is croup. Croup, for those who have been lucky enough to avoid it, is an upper respiratory infection that causes your baby to develop a cough that sounds akin to a baby seal barking. It’s pretty upsetting to hear, which is why it’s incredibly helpful and important that your grown-ass partner helps when your baby has croup.
My son has, unfortunately, experienced croup quite a number of times throughout his three years of life. We’re not entirely sure why, exactly, though it might be related to the fact he was born with persistent pulmonary hypertension, which the Cleveland Clinic describes as "a serious breathing problem in newborns" that "usually happens in full-term babies or babies who were born at 34 weeks or more. These babies often have other types of breathing conditions."
Regardless of the reason why, it’s heartbreaking every time a regular cold turns out to be something more severe. My son has trouble breathing, trouble sleeping, and trouble soothing himself or being soothed. In the absence of comfort, my son cries more, and the consistent crying makes the cough worse and, well, you see where this is going. I’ve had to deal with caring for my son alone as well as with my husband by my side, and it’s always a bit easier when I have help and support. So if you’re dealing with a croupy baby, here’s what you (or your partner) should be doing to get through the long nights. Together.
He Gives His Baby The Medications They Need
Some babies (and toddlers, and kids, and even some adults) have trouble taking medicine. But when fevers are high and croup is present, it’s important to be proactive by establishing go-to treatment plans. Of course, some medications are harder to give than others (if you’ve ever been prescribed dexamethasone, you know how foul it tastes), so giving the baby their medications is an important duty.
He Keeps A Record Of When & What Medications Are Being Used
If mom is the one bouncing baby around and rocking baby and generally attached to said baby, the least a partner can do is keep tabs of which meds are being given and when. The risk of accidentally giving your baby too much of something is dangerous, so you want to be on top of medication schedules and doses. And don’t wait too long to write it down, either. Odds are you’re so sleep deprived you might forget if you don't make a note immediately.
He Goes On Pharmacy Runs When Necessary
Sometimes, we plan ahead. Other times, we forget. A supportive partner is going to volunteer to go to the nearest 24-hour pharmacy and obtain what’s necessary without even being asked.
He Stays Up All Night With His Baby If He Has To
A croupy baby will often have trouble sleeping. So it’s up to us, as parents, to stay up and be there for whatever they need, even if it’s just 12 straight hours of cuddles. And a grown-ass man will do just that, especially if and when mom needs a momentary break.
He Remembers To Buy A Cold-Mist Humidifier
While there are both warm and cold-mist humidifiers out there, it’s the cold-mist ones that are best for soothing croupy babies. If you already have one, surely the grown-ass dude in your life can simply connect it. But if you don’t have one, he’ll do the research and legwork and bring one home so your baby can feel better faster.
He Runs The Hot Shower & Sits In The Bathroom With His Baby
If for some reason a humidifier is out of the question, the next best thing is a steamy bathroom. Your partner (or you, if you happen to be said grown-ass man) will take your little one into the room and sit there while the shower runs hot. This will help calm your baby’s coughing fits.
He Does Whatever Silly Thing He Can To Make His Baby Happy
A grown-ass man isn’t afraid to be all kinds of silly for the sake of his child. Dancing, making funny faces, doing impressions, wearing goofy get-ups, putting on puppet shows? Yeah, it's all fair game. Whatever your child enjoys, that’s what he’ll do.
He Calls The Pediatrician
My husband isn’t great about calling the pediatrician, but he has done it from time to time and especially when our kiddo has been real sick. A grown-ass partner will pick up the phone without being asked, to make sure your baby doesn’t need to be checked out. Unfortunately when it comes to croup, a trip to the pediatrician is almost always necessary.
He Takes His Baby To The Doctor
Speaking of which, at least one parent will need to take the baby to the doctor or hospital when a case of croup gets particularly bad. So, why not the father? He will volunteer to go alone (or go along) to ensure his baby gets the right care they need.
He Doesn’t Complain About How Exhausted He Is
Nothing is worse than when your partner complains about how they feel when you’re having to care for a sick baby. As though their suffering is worse than whatever their baby is experiencing (here’s a tip: it never is). A grown-ass man isn’t the sort to act like they’ve got the “man flu” at a time like this. They suck it up and make sure to be their for their family.
He Makes Sure His Partner Is Fed & Gets The Support They Need
And finally, a grown-ass man needs to not only support baby, but also support the mom. Very often, it’s mom who is first line of defense in helping baby combat an illness. She might be breastfeeding, she might still be recovering from postpartum issues, she’s probably exhausted, and yet she soldiers on. Yes, focus on the baby, but also make sure mom has some support. Bring her some food. Let her rest a bit. Take charge and I guarantee your family life will go way smoother overall.
Watch Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:
Check out the entire Romper's Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.