Has your little one been plagued with winter illnesses? During the chillier months, there usually is a spike in colds and other respiratory viruses. How do you help your little one recover from a cold and cough?
It is important to keep in mind that there is no quick cure for the common cold. Symptoms can be alleviated, though. Common signs of the common cold include stuffy nose, runny nose, cough, fever, and lack of appetite. Since babies are too young for cold medicine, it is important for parents to learn remedies to help their little one feel better at home!
1. Keep the air humid.
Humidity can help loosen the mucus in your baby’s nose. Run a cool mist or warm mist humidifier in your baby’s room during naps and nighttime. If your baby is playing in other areas of the house where you don’t have a humidifier, you can also boil a pot of water on the stove to add moisture in the air. Thankfully, a wide array of humidifiers are readily available and affordable at many pharmacies and stores.
Another way you can loosen your baby’s mucus is through a steam shower. All you need to do is run a very hot shower, and sit in the bathroom with your baby (outside of the shower) while the room steams up. Doing this for 15-20 minutes at a time can help drain your baby’s nose easier.
2. Keep your baby’s nose clear.
Nasal congestion is the most frustrating part of a cold for babies. The stuffiness can make it difficult for your infant to get a good night’s rest. Since babies are too young to understand how to blow their nose, you will have to assist them in clearing mucus out. Some pediatricians will recommend an over the counter saline spray that loosens the mucus in the nose, and then using a nasal aspirator to remove the mucus. You can use a traditional bulb syringe, but many babies don’t like those. There are other alternatives available, such as the Baby Nasal Aspirator by NoseFrida. These types of nasal aspirators are a lot softer and gentler on your baby’s nose and can make removing mucus a lot less troublesome for both mom and baby!
How to use a bulb syringe:
Squeeze the bulb and place the syringe about a quarter inch into your baby’s nostril. Slowly let go of the syringe to create suction. Remove the syringe, squeeze the mucus onto a paper towel, and repeat the process on the other nostril. Always wash the bulb syringe with soap and warm water between uses.
How to use a nasal aspirator:
Place the tube against the child’s nostril to create a seal. Use the mouthpiece to gently “suck” the mucus out of your child’s nose, moving the tube around the inside of the nostril. Repeat on both sides. Be gentle in your suction and use saline spray to loosen up any dried mucus beforehand.
It may also be helpful to elevate your child’s mattress to allow for mucus drainage. Simply place a small towel or pillow under the mattress on one side (nothing should ever go in the crib while your child is sleeping).
3. Keep your baby hydrated.
The common cold might hinder your baby’s appetite, but even if she eats less than usual, try to push fluids. Dehydration is very detrimental to babies, so try to encourage your baby to drink plenty of breastmilk, formula, or water (for older babies). Breastmilk is special because it can help fight the cold virus. For older babies and toddlers, you can make a smoothie with fresh fruit, and this might encourage your little one to take in enough calories. If your baby is old enough for solids, she can also have soup. If she is newer to solid foods, trying pureeing the soup so it is easier to swallow, or consider just using broth (watch for sodium content though).
4. Keep your baby home until symptoms subside.
Do not take your baby out while he is sick. He will expose other children to whatever he has, and with a weakened immune system, is more susceptible to catching other illnesses. It is ok to say no to activities while your little one is recovering - extra rest will help him get better faster! Encourage your little one to sleep more than usual, and try to encourage calm activities that don’t involve strenuous physical activity.
Follow these tips to help your little one recover from the common cold! Babies are likely to get several colds during their first few years of life, so it’s important to be prepared!