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Our son is nearly 11 months old and has picked up a few bugs in that time, and also passed them on to us. But I've always been able to shrug things off in a day or two without serious hassle, at a bad time maybe taking a weekend to recover. This year, however, I've been sick much more often and it's taken much more out of me than usual.

One GP told me that young babies were perfect disease vectors, they pick up and spread everything (last week, the little man was wiping his nose on me and this week I have the flu!), and also that having a small child means that you don't get as much sleep (or at least, as much unbroken sleep) as you used to and that can reduce your immune system's efficiency. So add the two together, and you get sick a lot more.

Is this something other people find, and at what age does your child stop infecting you?

asked 02 Nov '09, 14:44

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edited 26 Nov '09, 18:37

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Why would a Dad not get sick as often as a Mom? I'd think it would be equal.

(02 Nov '09, 16:19) Michelle
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Just wanted to cover all bases, in case some dads didn't guess it applied to them ("having a child" might mean... well, the actual push-push-aaaaaggggh stuff!)

(03 Nov '09, 10:17) pete the pagan-gerbil

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After becoming parents, yes we found that we were somehow catching bugs and feeling under the weather much more frequently and easier than before. We didn't face any problems when our little one was a baby, but we immediately felt the difference once she started Nursery / Kindergarten at the age of 2, she would go in perfectly healthy, and when I collected her she would be sniveling, the next morning I would also be sniveling with aches and pains!

I am also believer that a sufficient amount of good quality sleep is really important, and may help maintain a stronger immune system Lack of sleep and as parents, I think our sleeping patterns change overnight, just like going from no children to having children. I think it takes a lot of discipline to be able to go to bed early, as an adult/parent. my husband and I don't have that discipline I'm afraid, but there are times when we both feel so exhausted that we go to bed early, even though we both know that we shouldn't let ourselves get to that level of tiredness.

My husband reckons that while she is going to school, we will be prone to catch whatever she catches from school and brings home. It is hard to keep distant from her.

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answered 02 Nov '09, 16:14

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Well, we always go to bed early but my wife likes to have a monitor on all night long - and louder in our room than if we were sitting next to him! I might try again to get it turned down or off...

(03 Nov '09, 10:16) pete the pagan-gerbil
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That sounds like a good idea :) each age or stage brings different reasons for being woken up!

(03 Nov '09, 17:33) Emi

We have not personally encountered this but every one of my friends who have kids noticed a drastic increase in household sickness when the kid(s) went into daycare.

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answered 03 Nov '09, 00:03

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The times I got sick with the most frequency were (1) when I was younger and dating a swim instructor for a children's class and (2) when me and my spouse first started dating I got to find out all the illnesses a Sunday school nursery director gets exposed to. As far as I can tell, children are cute little petri dishes.

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answered 02 Nov '09, 14:50

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edited 02 Nov '09, 17:50

Oh yes. Definitely more sickness in the house after kids. Kids don't manufacture diseases, they are just good disease vectors, but the bugs have to come from somewhere. So the big jump in infections happens when they start to be in contact with lots of other kids (preschool, daycare, etc.). And as Emi says, it's all probably exacerbated by the fact that when you start to get a cold without a kid in the house, you just sleep it off. With kid, you HAVE to take care of them, so you notice your misery more and the lack of sleep makes it even more difficult to fight off your own bugs.

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answered 02 Nov '09, 23:46

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Before I gave birth I taught at a language school. My students used to come in sick all the time and it never really affected me, at most I had a bit of a runny nose which passed in a few days. Now that I'm a stay-at-home mom, I find that I get sick more often, catch bugs that are more serious and more difficult to shake off. Strangely enough, my 14 month old daughter has never been sick. The only thing that I can attribute this to is a serious lack of sleep. When my baby falls asleep, my husband comes home and keeps me awake till around two in the morning. It is very hard to be disciplined about going to bed as we see each other very little. The irony is that he never gets sick and he works with clients who sometimes sneeze in his face. Maybe he's immune? Then again, when we go to sleep (in separate rooms) he doesn't have to get up to a crying baby several times a night. It seems like a stay-at-home mom has an easy life but so far this has proven to be the most difficult job I've ever had. I can count on my fingers the number of days that I slept well in the past year. I'm sure this has taken a toll on my immune system.

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answered 13 Dec '11, 04:33

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Only someone who has never had kids or know any better would say a stay at home mom has an easy life.

(13 Dec '11, 13:25) Tammy ♦♦

I have a 3 yr old boy and a 1 yr old boy and I am a stay at home mom. I am sick almost constantly with either a cold or a sinus infection. Before I had kids, I was NEVER sick. NEVER. I can't believe the difference in my immune system. I'm sure it has to do with lack of sleep, stress, being stuck in the house all day and sometimes not getting much fresh air. I get a cold/sinus infection at least once a month/once every other month. It is ridiculous!

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answered 03 Jan '12, 10:49

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There's certainly more stress. When my daughter turned 1, I was surprised to discover that I was 20lbs heavier than when she was born, and that certainly could not have been good for my health (I've since put forth some effort to lose most of that weight).

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answered 04 Nov '09, 01:04

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I agree that stress and sleep play a big role. We are very lucky in that we have a child that sleeps amazingly well, and are as a result well rested. Some other contributing factors for not getting sick could be:

-we eat very well. Balanced diet with lots of veggies and fruit. As new parents it can be easy to let this one slip

-we exercise daily. I'm by no means an enthusiast, but our daily walk helps to reduce stress, keep open communication between my husband and I, and I believe it contributes to the positive sleeping habits of my child

-We don't freak out over germs. In my opinion, keeping petri dishes in a bubble only makes their immunity suffer, which also makes them better vectors. I've worked in a hospital for over 12 years, and this is my opinion based on lots of observation.

-when one of us starts to feel sick, I put my life on hold a bit. I don't try to get all the grocery shopping done, I cancel those potential social plans, I take a nap while my son does, I don't paint the bathroom :). Just give everyone a good chance to get a bit more rest so that we won't be laid out later.

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answered 24 Nov '09, 23:52

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We have definitely found that we got sick more often once our baby was able to grab for things and put them in his mouth. We go out a lot to cafes and restaurants and our little guy is not shy to lick the highchair or table top before we have a chance to stop him. Then, when we pick him up, he often sticks his fingers in our eyes or mouth and passes the germs along! Our baby is almost 7 months old and my husband and I have already had several colds and the H1N1 flu. The 'best' infection my little one passed along was pink eye. He decided to grab my lower eye lid and two days later I had pink eye!

Fortunately (and somewhat ironically), the baby has not become sick once. He just picks up the germs and passes them to us. I'm also nursing, which helps him fight off any infections he's passes along.

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answered 01 Dec '09, 18:49

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I have been sick more often since becoming a mother, but I chalk it up to sleep deprivation and too much stress taking a toll on my immune system. Plus, breastfeeding, I feel like baby sucks all the energy/nutrients/etc. out of me. haha. She's healthier than I am, that's for sure.

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answered 08 Feb '10, 06:58

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Asked: 02 Nov '09, 14:44

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Last updated: 19 Feb '12, 16:13