We just experienced our first family stomach bug. This is not one of the milestones that comes to mind when you have your first baby but it sure was a memorable learning experience (obviously by memorable, I mean terrible). After much Googling, Facebook group posting, calling the doctor’s office, tapping into my own personal mama tribe who have been through it, and surviving our first family stomach bug, here are a few tips to help you manage when you encounter your first stomach bug.
Stock Up on Supplies
If you know the bug may be coming for you, which I did (thanks, Ben!), stock up on all the things you might need, especially drinks. Staying hydrated is key so make sure you have something for everyone - sports drinks, coconut water, Pedialyte, Happy Tummy Tea, or whatever it is that you think your family will drink. Have food you think your kids will be able to eat. We also used disposable dipes during this fun time because the thought of extra laundry from our cloth diapers was too much (this was a double edged sword though as we had way more leaks with disposables than we have ever had in 18 months of cloth diapering but that's a topic for another day).
Call On Your Tribe
Whether it’s your own mom or a good friend, call or text them for advice and support. My first reaction to my husband being sick was to call my mom about logisitics - "what do I do!?" - I dragged the kids to my parents' house in hopes of avoiding the bug but it didn't work. While in the midst of the bug, I texted a wise mama friend from the bathroom floor who assured me I would feel normal again (she was right!) and listened to me complain about how terrible I felt.
Layer on the Blankets
Luckily, the babies were both only sick at night so we only had to worry about covering the bed/crib and not how to cover up other furniture. We dragged an extra mattress into our room and layered it with towels and blankets so one layer could be peeled back if and when someone got sick.
Take it Easy
It's okay to lay down and do as little as possible. I was in rough shape for a few days but thankfully Ben worked from home to hold down the fort. The babies were both acting like themselves pretty quickly which was great because they didn't feel terrible but it also meant they were ready for full days of play. I relaxed a lot of my normal rules and routines in favor of taking it easy. We watched movies, ate a lot of snacks, and I basically let them do whatever they wanted as long as it was safe. Here's Baby B eating pretzels, watching Zootopia, holding the remote, and sitting in a pile of stuff on the floor next to me (while we disinfected, we did not pick up and it legit took me a full week to get back on top of the mess!)
Keep it Clean
We used Clorox wipes on EVERYTHING during and after the stomach bug came through. Usually, I'm all about natural cleaners around the house and for the most part let the kids share all the germs but we used the hard stuff for this. I cleaned like crazy during and after the bug.
Getting Tummies Back on Track
It took a long time to be able to eat normal again. We went with the BRAT diet of bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast (minus the bananas) for a few days and stayed away from things that were spicy or gassy. Toast, matzo ball soup, pasta, bagels and plain pancakes were staples the first week. Even after a week, the babies stomachs were not 100% back to normal so we have been trying probiotic drops and eating yogurt, as suggested by our doctor's office.
Fingers crossed you won't encounter the stomach bug any time soon but if you do, know you will feel normal again and hopefully soon forget it ever happened!