Middle-of-the-night stomach bug. My word, is there anything worse? Ok, yes: car stomach bug . . . but, I digress. Back to the middle of the night. Nothing can jolt you from a dead sleep like a threat of vomit from a small child. You know what I’m talking about. It’s about 2:00 a.m. and a weary moan echoes down the hall followed by a muffled gag as your little one races to tell you, “My tummy huuuurrrttts.”
If you are lucky, you are married to a police officer who can spring into action in two seconds flat, ushering little Sally to the bathroom, hand clamped tightly over her mouth. YES! The floor is spared! For the not-so-lucky ones, that tummy ache soils your carpet, sheets, and anything else in its path. Still delirious and disoriented, you are left to tend to the ill child, clean up the mess, and ensure future messes are contained.
We can all agree a tummy virus is pretty bad on a good day, but when it strikes in the middle of the night, it’s just plain awful. While nothing can take away the discomfort of your child, perhaps having a nighttime sickness protocol in place will get you through and ease the stress of the situation. I’m here to offer a few tips I’ve learned the hard (and messy) way that can help make a bad situation slightly . . . well, not as bad.
Nighttime Sickness Protocol
- Clean-up on aisle one! Yes, your child is feeling rotten and that’s super sad. If you are like me, however, there’s no time like the present to GET VOMIT GONE! Now, I’ve yet to find a tried-and-true method to actually get this lovely substance up, but my main tip here is to keep a proper cleaner on hand and know where it is. Shuffling through endless cleaners under the kitchen sink in a sleepy stupor will not help this situation. Consider keeping a spare bottle of carpet cleaner in a bedroom-adjacent (kid-proof) bathroom cabinet for quick action! I’ve had success with cleaners formulated for pets to combat the unpleasant lingering odors.
- Tip two is all about proximity. If possible, relocate your child’s sleeping area closer to a bathroom. You and I both know the nature of a stomach virus: recurrence. It’s highly likely your child will vomit off and on through the night. Keeping them close to the bathroom will give them a better chance of “making it” when it happens again. We’ve had luck setting up a pallet in the hallway right outside of a bathroom. Adding a large bowl or bucket next to their pillow is just icing on the cake of precaution.
- Much like the first tip, my third suggestion is all about having the proper supplies and knowing where they are. Next time you fold and put away linens, squirrel away the old, ratty sheets and towels to a designated corner on a shelf. You could even label the shelf “sick” so you can find it easily. Remember, it’s still the wee hours of the morning when this is happening! Being able to whip out clean linens and settle your little one down quickly will take the sting out of such a rude awakening.
Well, hasn’t this been just delightful? Resist the urge to Lysol the device you’ve read this on! Listen, if you find yourself confronted with the cursed stomach bug in the middle of the night, take heart because we’ve all been there and lived to tell about it! If this is a typical stomach virus, it will likely be over fairly quickly. Hopefully you’ve been armed with some helpful tips that will take the edge off what can be a gross and stressful situation.
What about you other midnight warriors? Share those war stories or tips you’ve learned the hard way, too!