In the week leading up to Easter, my partner had been sick with a common cold. It didn’t turn out to be anything serious, but our one-year-old son also caught a cold, which I blame on the dramatic change in weather.

We had left Levi at grandma’s house for a couple of hours while my partner and I ran some errands. By the time we got back home from picking up Levi, I remember saying to my partner, “Oh no, David, Levi sounds congested.” 

Bad night

That night, when I tried putting Levi to bed, I noticed that he was having a hard time breathing. Also, he was turning and tossing and couldn’t get comfortable. Normally, my son is a good sleeper, so I knew right away that it was going to be one of those long, sleepless nights for Levi and me. At one point, his dad took over duty watching over Levi so I could sneak out to the closest Walgreens. I grabbed whatever medicines might help. I left with an $85 bill, telling myself that the expense was worth it as long as all the things I bought would make my 16-month-old son feel better.

As soon as I got home, I went through my medicinal booty: I had purchased Hyland’s Baby Mucus + Cold Relief for daytime and nighttime and one of my favorite go-to’s, the NoseFrida Snot sucker made by Fridababy. You can find it at your nearest Target, Rite-Aid or CVS store for $17.99. It’s great for alleviating your little one’s stuffy nose. This last one is also one of my favorites. It’s my secret weapon, the one my own mom used on me when I was little, as do so many other Latino mothers and grandmothers: the famous Vick’s VapoRub. 

But if you’re like me, you know that the Vicks Pediatric Vapor Plug is the new product that I highly recommend and it’s available at Walgreens, Target, Rite-Aid, and most pharmacies and grocery stores as well for $12.99. It’s a mini plug-in vaporizer with an adjustable nightlight that releases non-medicated rosemary and lavender vapors to help break up a baby’s chest congestion and make breathing and resting much easier.

My own research taught me that the common cold is nearly impossible to avoid. Normally, it’s caused by the rhinovirus and comes with mild symptoms, such as a runny nose, a slight cough and sometimes a fever, according to Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles

baby´s cold
I tried putting Levi to sleep and we both ended up napping.

Can’t hide from colds

Levi’s symptoms included congestion, a runny nose and a fever. From experience and conversations with our pediatrician, we learned that it’s OK to give our toddler Tylenol and Children’s Motrin when a fever is present. Fever and congestion can make their little head hurt.

Another thing I did to make him feel better was feed him a lot of protein. Thankfully, Levi did not lose his normal appetite and ate lots of chicken soup to help his immune system. I stopped giving him milk for the first few days, as lactose can worsen his congestion and gave him Pedialyte or water instead. I also made sure not to turn on any fans or the air conditioner. Lastly, I made sure to give him extra attention by playing with him with his toys, reading books and sometimes giving him screen time.

I have to admit that the first night that I noticed he was sick was definitely a rough night. Levi did not sleep in his own little bed. He ended up sleeping in my bed while his dad slept on the couch. I totally felt bad for my partner, but these are some things that, as a parent, we have to do. My partner totally volunteered to do that but he was upset because the couch is not comfortable and he had work the next day early in the morning.

Crazy sleeper

Even though I slept in my bed with Levi, it was a rough night for me, too. Levi is a crazy sleeper and moves a lot.  It turns out, he’s even worse when sick; if he wasn’t constantly kicking off his blankets, he was kicking me with his tiny feet in the knee or my tummy. He woke up a lot, too, and I knew that slowed his immune reaction.

But by the third day, his fever disappeared and he was clearly getting better. He played with his toys and giggled during bath time. However, his runny nose stuck around for about a week. Those long, warm bubble baths that we took turns giving him seemed to help get rid of his congestion. Unfortunately, rookie parents like me quickly learn that there is not much more we can do to fight the common cold. We simply have to make our babies as comfortable as possible and wait out the process. I am lucky that I am able to work from home. It must be much harder on parents who have to commute for a job and leave their children in the care of someone else or skip work and lose pay. 

In addition, it is important for moms and dads to be cautious since their babies can spread the flu due to family members in their households. Even though I was very cautious about cleaning and disinfecting the house, I also got sick. A mild sore throat, congestion and a headache were the thanks I got for my mommy doctoring. But I don’t mind, it comes with the territory.

If parents are lucky, they won't get sick while taking care of a child with a cold.
Levi by the third day was feeling much better.

Parents get sick, too

Thankfully, it was just a sore throat, congestion and a headache for me. But it is scary when one parent gets sick because then you end up relying on your partner to help out with home chores, work, and helping your toddler eat, shower, sleep and much more. Infected people can spread it by coughing or sneezing close to you. It can also be contracted by touching a surface that has germs on it. 

This was the first time Levi’s common cold was treated without a doctor’s visit or an ER visit, and I’m not going to lie, we felt good about it as parents. Because we acted immediately and did whatever we could to make Levi feel better.

A couple of months ago we did have to take Levi to the ER because of a high fever. We were there really early and we had to buy snacks from the vending machine but it wasn’t enough because we were still starving. We were there for almost seven hours, just for the doctor to tell us that all he needs is plenty of fluids and Tylenol. As a parent, some of these situations we go through can be frustrating but these are the things we have to do no matter what.

The main takeaway is that we should all be doing our best to look after our children, our families and each other. Whether that’s washing our hands, maintaining physical distance, or wearing our masks, there are tangible measures we can take to protect children in our community.

If there is anything I can help young mothers and fathers with, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at

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Amairani Hernandez is a native of Los Angeles and a graduate of the California State University of Los Angeles with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. She is a staff multimedia journalist, who focuses on...