Babies and Colds
Most babies will have at least one cold before their first birthday. While colds aren’t usually serious, they can certainly be annoying and worrisome for parents.
Over the counter medications are no longer available for young children and that means that you have to find natural cold remedies to treat your baby’s cold.
It’s hard to watch your little one suffer through the fever, coughs, sneezes, and sniffles of a cold.
Feeling helpless when your baby isn’t feeling well can leave you feeling frustrated and uncertain about what you can do to help.
Following are some natural remedies that you can use to ease the symptoms of your baby’s cold.
A good way to reduce some of your baby’s congestion is by turning your bathroom into a steam shower. Turn your shower on so that it’s warm to hot.
Take off your baby’s clothes and sit in the bathroom with him for about 10 to 15 minutes. Make sure that you have the door closed to keep the steam inside the room.
The steam will help to loosen some of the congestion in your baby’s chest. Before you’re done you might need to wipe his nose or use a bulb syringe to very gently suction some of the secretions from his nose.
Another good way to ease congestion is to use a cool mist humidifier in your baby’s room when he’s sleeping.
This will help to keep the air moist and prevent the secretions in his nose from drying out. Make sure that you only use filtered or distilled water in the humidifier.
While commercial vapor rubs contain petrolatum and are not recommended for children under the age of two, there are natural vapor balms available as well.
These products are usually made from herbs, beeswax, oils, aloe, and essential oils. You can also find recipes online to make your own.
Vapor balms will help your baby to sleep better during the night. They also provide a bit of a cooling feeling when your baby is breathing through his nose.
Apply the balm onto your baby’s neck, chest, and back. Make sure not to apply it on sensitive skin or around his nose, mouth, and eyes, or anywhere at all on the face.
Plenty of Fluids
Drinking plenty of fluids will help to thin your baby’s nasal secretions and prevent dehydration.
If your baby is younger than six months you’ll need to stick to breast milk or formula since younger babies shouldn’t be given any water.
Just encourage your baby to drink a bit more milk than he normally does. Babies over six months can be given water or diluted apple juice.
Honey for a Cough
Honey can be given to babies over the age of twelve months to help soothe and tame a cough. For babies under the age of twelve months honey poses the risk of infant botulism.
You can warm the honey a bit to make it easier for your baby to take. Give him about ½ to 1 teaspoon of honey right before bedtime.
You can also use honey during the day if your baby’s cough is particularly bothersome. Remember that honey is sweet and so it’s important for you to brush his teeth after taking the honey, especially at bedtime.
Prevention of Colds
There are some things that you can do to reduce the risk of your baby getting a cold. The first of these is to breastfeed your baby if you can.
Your breast milk will provide your baby with important antibodies that will help to strengthen his or her immune system.
You’ll also want to make sure that everyone in your household washes their hands frequently. If you have other small children you’ll have to help them wash with soap and water.
You want to avoid the spreading of germs as much as you can. Try to avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Most people will be very understanding if you ask them before you visit if there is anyone in their household who is sick.
When to Call the Doctor
While most colds that babies get are quite mild, there are some things to watch out for that mean it’s time to see your doctor. This includes the following:
- Your baby is having difficulty breathing;
- There is drainage from one or both ears;
- Your baby is tugging at one or both ears;
- Coughing is severe or lasts for more than 9 days;
- Fever is accompanied by vomiting and a rash; and
- Your baby seems to be a lot of pain, particularly in the tummy area.
Always be sure to monitor your baby’s cold so that you can notice immediately if the cold symptoms are starting to get worse.
Although natural remedies can help to ease your baby’s cold there are still some cold symptoms that will need the attention of a doctor.