As a mom of four children, you would think puke doesn’t bother me, but the truth is, it gets me every time. EVERY SINGLE TIME.
If you are a parent, you know what I’m talking about: the look of the vomit, the smell of the vomit, the thought of having to clean up the vomit and the hope that no one else in the family starts to vomit. This is real.
Two days before Easter, my 14 month old woke up at 5am. My husband thought he “spit up” but we all know it’s not spit up once they start eating solid foods. This was now vomit. We get out of bed, take the soiled sheets off, bathe baby and put new sheets on, only to have him vomit again an hour later. We repeat the process, crossing fingers that this was the end of it. But two hours later…
I washed sheets four times that day. He threw up hourly across a span of 6 hours, and was done. I was spent. He’s lucky he’s cute.
Today, just 5 days after that incident, and just as I was closing my eyes to sleep, I hear my 7 year old running bath water. I ask him what he’s up to, when he says “I threw up.”
If you’ve never jumped out of bed after hearing a child has thrown up, I’ll save you the curiosity and tell you there are 5000 things that run through your head in those twenty seconds it takes to get to the sick child. “Did he pick up something at school? Or was it something at the park? Was it something he ate? Did I eat after him in the last day?” the list goes on.
Brace Yourself For What You’re About To Hear
I walk into the bathroom to see my son, and ask where he threw up at. He tells me “in my bed” and I’m almost thankful it wasn’t on the carpet. I see a few small spots of vomit, and think myself he just had a little reflux because it’s not much. I go back to the bathroom to make sure my son is okay, then tell him I’m going to put the sheets to wash. There are no perfect words for what happened next.
I started to lift the sheets off my son’s bed when I saw it. This was THE vomit he was speaking of, not the four little spots, or should I say splatters, I had noticed five minutes prior. Y’all, this was more vomit than I thought any 50 pound boy could ever have. And I stood there for a nice long second, while thinking about what to do.
I took the sheets and comforter off the bed, soaking up as much as I could. But what I did next is what made the situation wrong on so many levels.
I put the sheets and comforter straight in the washing machine, added a nice cup of detergent and turned the machine on HOT to kill the germs.
Thinking I’d get those sheets in the dryer within 45 minutes, I heard the washing machine end and opened the lid. And again, I stood there for a nice long second, while thinking about what to do…
There were still “chunks” on the comforter and sheet. Like, my washing machine took every opportunity to use this instance to fail me. So I put it on again.
Another 45 minutes later (now 2:45 am) I hear the washing machine end, and though things looked better, I could still see what I didn’t want to see.
Apparently, I should have done a few things different, but I’ll get to those tips in a second. Surely you want to know how this plays out…
I pulled out the comforter and sheets and accessed the washing machine tub. Knowing this wasn’t a washing machine with a food disposal system like my dishwasher, I should have known better. I decided to shake off the bedding outside, vacuum out the washing machine tub and start over. And I’m glad I did. It’s 4:45AM and I just heard the washer go off for the umteenth time. But the bedding is clean and we are ready for another episode, should the sleeping boy decide to go that route.
What to do after your child pukes on the bed:
- Hose off the comforter and sheets before putting them in the washing machine.
- Put the soiled sheets in the bath tub to contain the germs and mess. You can always sanitize the tub later.
- Wash the comforter and sheets separately. You want room for the comforter to swish around in the water. Wash on HOT with an extra rinse.
- Make sure you wipe down the mattress as soon as you can. Trust me when I say you don’t want to be left with a smell.
- Don’t give your child anything to eat or drink for one hour, to see what their next plan is. We like to start with small sips of water after an hour, then move to a cracker and sips of juice. You definitely don’t want your child to get dehydrated, but you don’t want to have to start at step 1 again, either.