4 Steps to Take BEFORE Middle of the Night Illnesses Strike!

The other night, I used couch cushions as a makeshift bed so I could sleep next to my son’s crib. While I find him incredibly cute, this wasn’t because I had an overwhelming desire to be in his presence all night or because he invited me for a sleepover. It was because we went through another round of croup for poor little guy. During croup, this biggest thing you have to be aware of is how they are breathing. So, you know … the most ideal scenario for a parent going to sleep. You want to sleep, but on the other hand you want to make sure your child is still breathing okay. It was a night full of trips to the bathroom for breathing shower steam, awful coughing, crying, hand holding, and soothing. At one point, I think I put myself to sleep while singing with him on the bathroom floor.

It’s not fun when an illness strikes. When an illness strikes and it’s the middle of the night, it’s not only not fun, but scary. A million things are running through your mind, and it’s you and maybe a spouse left in the darkness of night to make the best decision for your child.

So don’t be like me – do yourself a favor and plan ahead for taking care of sick kids in the middle of the night. You’ll thank yourself when you don’t have to frantically search Google at 2 am.

Identify Your Emergency Go-To Facilities

It’s bad enough to be in a position where you are deciding if an illness calls for an emergency room visit, but add in not knowing where to go, and you’re going to feel a teeny-tiny bit more overwhelmed. I’m also going to bet that you would prefer to take your child somewhere that is reputable and hasn’t been a nightmare experience for others. So before you find yourself needing to go somewhere, do yourself a favor and identify your go-to facilities ::

  • Pediatrician After-Hours Care – Give your pediatrician a call to see what kind of after-hours care they offer. Is there a nurse on-call 24 hours for you to reach, if needed? Our pediatrician has an after-hours and weekend facility for patients, but it is not open 24 hours. Which is why you then need to identify your next best stop… 
  • Urgent Care or Emergency Room – Poll other moms, read internet reviews, or post on a neighborhood app. The point is to find the exact facility you will go to in the event of an illness that can’t wait until the pediatrician opens. You’ll also want to ensure the place will take your insurance.

Prep Your Medicine Stash

While you were pregnant, odds are you were gifted with 56 bottles of baby Mortrin, 17 bottles of baby Tylenol, and 5 NoseFridas. However, it does you no good if you don’t have all your important medicines and thermometer in one spot – a spot that you can easily and QUIETLY access in the middle of the night. You also get bonus points if you can navigate said medicine stash in the dark.

It is also hindering to not know the dosage of medicine to give your child. Fun fact, for certain ages the dosage directions advise you to contact your doctor – not helpful in the middle of the night. Again, all these things can be addressed with being proactive and calling your doctor ahead of time for dosage amounts. Do yourself a favor and make sure you have the basics {Ibuprofen & Acetaminophen}, their corresponding syringes, and the dosages for your child’s age on hand at all times!

You Need A Humidifier {Even in Texas}

I get it, we live in Texas. All you need to do is open a window to get that humidifier effect, so do you really need one? Yes. You. Do. In fact, I learned this the hard way after I returned the one we were gifted because I felt it wasn’t necessary. “Oh, you little naive, pregnant dummy,” I said to myself in the middle of the night after the first time my son got sick. Regardless of what kind of tropical rainforest weather you live in, you need a humidifier. The moment I catch on to a frequent cough at home, that humidifier bad-boy is automatically set up in my son’s room. So do yourself a favor and make sure you have a humidifier. Take it a step further and set up the humidifier if during bedtime you feel one of your kids is sounding a bit … off. Your proactiveness will pay off when in the middle of the night all you have to do is click it on. Don’t be like me and try to set up a humidifier in the dark; regardless of your ninja skills, you will end up wet, stubbing your toe on furniture, and potentially waking up a sleeping child – which in our house is the ultimate crime to humanity.

Treat Yo Self – Stash a Pillow & Blanket

Remember when I said I slept on couch cushions? Yea, well that’s because it sounded like the best idea at the time because we had not, you guessed it, planned ahead. Do yourself a favor, and put a pillow and blanket in an accessible spot for those middle of the night illnesses. Try to get your on-the-floor bed essentials all together so you can have a .05% chance of a better night sleep. A little hint? Sleeping on the floor was only comfortable when you were 9 and at a sleepover. But hey, you’ll do anything for your child, and if it means I hold his hand to keep him calm {and breathing}, then gimme all the pillows and blankets for that floor “bed.”

At the end of the day, my hope for you is health and happiness for you and your family. But unfortunately, that’s not realistic when we all dwell with little germ magnets. So, do yourself a favor and do the prep work. The middle of the night illness is scary enough – why pile on simple items you can address beforehand?

So, help a sister out, what are some of the favors you’ve done yourself to plan ahead for middle of the night sickies?

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Jaclyn was born a Jersey Girl, but became a Texan after moving here at age 5. After a degree from Texas A&M, she began her career in the oil/gas industry within talent acquisition. Simultaneously, she realized she had a crush on a boy named Andy who became her best friend, #1 supporter, and eventually her husband 5 years ago. After many years of Inner Loop living, they welcomed their son Mason {May 2015} and made the ‘burb life’ jump to The Woodlands {hello, nature and commute}. When she isn’t working fulltime in the office, she is putting in the Starbucks fueled hours at home hoping to be a great ‘employee’ for her spirited, sweet, non-stop energy, at-home boss - son Mason. {Side Note :: Being a boy mom should have a manual included at the hospital. Amen?} While off the clock for both jobs, Jaclyn is getting connected in her church, trying the newest workout fads {jogging doesn’t cut it}, making to-do lists, crossing off said to-do lists, Mexican food, wine, wine, wine and trying to convince her husband that New Girl IS a funny show.



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