What Do I Do? If My Baby Has A Cold.
Little noses get a lot of colds. Babies can catch eight or more during their first year alone. Though these sniffles and sneezes in babies are rarely serious, they’re tough on parents, too — and one of the biggest reasons for pediatrician visits. Luckily, most of the colds your baby gets will help increase their immunity. Even so, their very first cold can be scary for parents. When you know how to help your child feel better and when to call the doctor, you can feel more confident until the cold is over.
Babies get so many colds because it takes time for their brand-new immune systems to fully mature. They aren’t yet ready to fight off the 200 or so viruses that cause these infections.
Breastfed babies have more immunity than babies exclusively fed formula. This is because breastfeeding supplies antibodies, white blood cells, and enzymes to your baby. These agents safeguard them from infection. Breastfed babies have all, or part, of their mother’s immunity to the illnesses she has had or been exposed to. This doesn’t, however, mean breastfed babies are completely immune from colds.
The cold virus spreads through the air when someone who’s sick coughs or sneezes. It also lands on surfaces such as toys and tables. When babies touch these surfaces and then put their hands in their mouths — which they do a lot — they give the cold virus an easy entry route. Babies often pick up colds at day care. Or they can catch it from older brothers and sisters who bring the virus home from school — or from grown-ups who shook hands with someone who should have stayed home from work.
- – Stuffy nose
– Runny nose, which should be clear at first but may turn yellow or green
– Reduced appetite
– Trouble sleeping
– Vomiting, diarrhea
Colds don’t need to be treated. They usually go away on their own after a few days. Antibiotics won’t work because they kill bacteria, and in this case, viruses are to blame.
Soothe and comfort baby with natural cold remedies to get her on the road to recovery.
You’ll naturally want to calm your baby’s symptoms. But don’t give over-the-counter cough and cold medicines to infants and toddlers. These products don’t work well in kids under 6 years, and they can cause dangerous side effects in young children. The FDA advises against using them at all in children younger than 4.
Never give a child any medicine that contains aspirin. It can raise the risk for a rare but serious disease called Reye’s syndrome. Vapor rubs, even those formulated for babies, can be irritating to airways. Don’t use these either on the skin or in a vaporizer.
To help your little one feel better, let her get lots of rest and try one of these home remedies:
Encourage your little one to nurse or take a bottle as often as possible. If your baby won’t drink milk, consult with your doctor and ask if it’s okay to offer an electrolyte solution, such as Pedialyte AdvancedCare. In babies over 6 months, you can also give water and 100% fruit juice. The added fluid will prevent dehydration and keep your child’s nose and mouth moist.
Feeding your baby in an upright position can also help ease congestion and prevent mucus from running down her throat while she’s trying to drink.
Spray saline and suck out mucus.
If your baby has trouble breathing through a stuffed nose, spray a few drops of a saline (saltwater) solution into each nostril to loosen the mucus. Then use a bulb syringe to remove the mucus. Squeeze the bulb and then place the tip into your child’s nostril. Release the bulb to gently suction out the mucus. Wash the tip of the syringe with soap and water after each use. If you make your own saline solution, use distilled water or boiled tap water.
Turn on a humidifier.
A cool-mist humidifier during nap time and at night will add moisture to the air and keep your baby’s nose from drying out. Wash out the machine after each use to prevent bacteria and mold buildup. Also, be sure not to have the heat turned up too high, which can worsen Baby’s congestion. Instead, she says to keep your home at a comfortable 70-72 degrees in the winter months.
Your baby needs more sleep when sick, but all those annoying symptoms can make a decent snooze difficult. A comforting bedtime routine—such as playing music or taking a bath together—can go a long way toward encouraging her to nod off too.
Help them cough it out.
Babies don’t have the muscle strength to cough effectively, so it can be tough for them to clear phlegm. One way to help: Take your baby into the bathroom and turn on the shower to make the air hot and steamy— it will get their nose running, loosen the mucus in the throat, and make their coughs more productive. Try doing it before bed, since mucus tends to drain into the throat and chest while lying down.
Elevate your baby’s head.
This will help ease breathing. You can do this with a sleep positioner or a firm pillow placed snugly under a fitted sheet. Don’t use anything soft or cushy. Don’t let your baby sleep on their stomach.
When To Call The Doctor
You don’t need to call a doctor for a cold if your baby is over 3 months old. In younger infants, make the call when symptoms start—especially if your baby has a fever. Fever is one way your baby’s body works to fight off colds. Even so, a fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher in a baby who’s under 2 or 3 months old definitely warrants a call to the doctor. Cold-like symptoms might actually signal a more serious illness, such as pneumonia or an ear infection. This will help safeguard against a more serious condition, and will also put your mind at ease.
No matter what your child’s age, call the doctor if you notice any of these more serious symptoms. Also, call if your baby doesn’t get better after a week or so, or if the symptoms get worse.
- – Fever of 102 F or higher
- – Trouble breathing
- – Not wanting to eat or drink
- – Signs of dehydration, such as no tears or fewer wet diapers than usual
- – Unusual sleepiness
Unfortunately, you can’t prevent every cold, especially during the winter months when these viruses often circulate. But you can lower your baby’s risk of getting sick with these tips:
- 1. Ask anyone who’s sick to stay away from your home.
- 2. Keep your baby away from crowded places where there are lots of germs.
- 3. Wash your hands often during the day. Ask anyone who holds your baby to also wash their hands.
- 4. Clean your baby’s toys often with soap and water.
- 5. Don’t let anyone use your baby’s cup, utensils, or towels.
- 6. Tell older children to cough or sneeze into a tissue or their elbow, instead of into the air.
- 7. Don’t let anyone smoke near your child. Cigarette smoke can make your baby more likely to get sick.
It is impossible to avoid every germ in a baby’s growing environment, and getting sick is normal for them as it is for everyone. The best thing a parent or caregiver can do is to help them feel comfortable while their body fights off the cold.