Over the last week Reindeer has been developing a cough. I’ve tried not to overreact but on Thursday took him to the GP as he woke up with a wheeze and making some very odd sounds.
Our local GPs are generally lovely and encourage you to bring baby in if you have any concerns. The GP thought it might just be phlegm in the throat as his chest sounded fine, but to come back if anything changed. He offered an inhaler for nighttime use but we discussed it further and decided he didn’t need one yet. Also that it wasn’t a great idea to label Reindeer too soon as we didn’t want people to think ‘asthma’ when there are no other indicators.
On Saturday Reindeer was really clingy on a visit to relatives and ended up having a meltdown on the way home. He was off his food and breastfeeds and generally not himself. The coughing was getting worse and he ended up having a very disturbed night. He woke up sobbing at one point so we tried to give him Calpol, but he went from mid-cry to fully asleep in about 20 seconds as I cradled him so we didn’t need to in the end.
He woke Sunday morning very coughy, slightly wheezy and breathing hard. But otherwise chirpy. When he refused breakfast it seemed like a good idea to take him to the walk-in clinic for a check.
After a short wait he saw a lovely doctor who confirmed that he has a crackle and chest infection. On the plus side she was very impressed with him for being really alert (he stole her stethoscope), really cute (he gave her his best smiling and cuddling routine) and for doing a great job at fighting off the infection. She felt his immune system was doing very well on its own and although we should take a prescription for antibiotics we would only need to use it if he worsened and developed at temperature. She also gave us an inhaler-mask combination if his wheezing worsened.
It was a relief to know that, although he wasn’t well, he was doing well. This was the big benefit we were hoping for with breastfeeding, that he would get some extra help to fight off bugs. It seems to be working as he’s improving a bit today.
On the odd occasion he’s been poorly, a friend who chose to bottle feed makes comments about breastfeeding not making any difference, but I can see today that it does. Breastfeeding isn’t a magic spell. It doesn’t stop babies getting poorly; they need to catch bugs after all. But what it does do is give them extra resources to fight them off with. My friend’s baby has been on multiple courses of antibiotics for different bugs over the months, Reindeer’s only needed them once. I know each child is different but it does feel as though there is a benefit for us.
Not one to miss his opportunity, and an example of how even when poorly Reindeer is a happy chap, he smiled, cuddled and chattered his way through the clinic visit:
1. He received smiles or comments from five people in the waiting room
2. The doctor spent several minutes trying to get him to wave as we left
3. A nurse saw us and asked if we’d go to their office so the other nurses could see him as ‘we love a cute baby and he’d cheer us up’
4. The pharmacist and four other patients all commented, smiled and tried to get him to wave
He spent most of the visit doing his best ‘I’m shy, look at me smile’ routine. As we left I heard a woman from the pharmacy queue tell her companion ‘that’s the cute baby, look at his hair!’. I’m so relieved people respond well to him as I’m hoping it will encourage him to be kind and smiley as it makes others kind and smiley too.