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Sniffles. Runny nose. Sad little barking cough. Stuffed up tiny noses with congestion. When your baby or child has a cold, your heart will break for them. As a parent, all you want to do is take pain and discomfort away from your little ones, but with a cold, you cannot simply give your child medicine and make them feel better.
Do not give your baby or toddler cough or cold medicine; it has not been proven effective in treating the symptoms of the common cold, and in fact, can be fatal.
How to Help a Baby With a Cold
However, there are things you can do at home to ease your baby’s cold symptoms. Unfortunately for me (but fortunately for you), my poor 8-month-old baby has a cold, not to mention my 2.5-year-old niece and 5-month-old nephew, so we have tried these home remedies first-hand.
Maty’s All Natural Baby Chest Rub: this #1 selling all natural baby chest rub is a calming, soothing lifesaver that’s good for the whole family. Not only is it completely chemical-free, but it’s also made in the USA, which I LOVE. This is a great alternative to Vick’s Vapor Rub, especially for the little ones, because the scent and sensation on the skin is milder yet highly effective. Rub the ointment on the bottom of your child’s feet, chest, back, or put a dab under the nose to alleviate coughs and congestion quickly and safely. While I’m not a stickler for natural products, I feel much better about using Maty’s products on my daughter because I know they’re safe for her, feel good on her skin, and really work.
Hydration is key: what did your mom always say when you were sick? Rest and have plenty of fluids. Same for babies! Whether you’re nursing or formula feeding your baby, keep that up – your baby may want to nurse or have a bottle more for hydration and comfort when they’re not feeling well. After 4-months, babies can have a few ounces of water, which can help thin the mucous and congestion.
Create a steam room: close your bathroom door and run your shower on hot, letting the room steam up. Sit in there with your baby for about 15 minutes; the warm vapors will help loosen mucous in the nose and chest.
Use a humidifier: keep a humidifier running in your child’s room, especially during nap times and at night. Use caution with a warm mist humidifier though; keep your child away from it to avoid an accident.
Use breastmilk: the magic uses for breastmilk are endless; put a couple drops of breastmilk in your child’s nose – for my daughters, this is a life saver. You can put it in a medicine dropper or use a slow-drip nipple.
Clear the nose: use a few drops of saline before clearing the nose with a ‘nose hose’ or bulb, especially before feedings if your child cannot breathe comfortably. Even if your kiddo seems to absolutely hate this, still do it! Imagine how bad it would feel not to be able to blow your nose when you need it. Caution: do not use a bulb on a newborn; this will irritate and inflame their nasal passage, making it more difficult to breathe.
Use oils: essential oils can be a great, safe way to calm and soothe your baby (3 months or older). I like diffusing lavender or diluting and rubbing on the belly for a calming sensation.
Moisturize the nose: if you’re constantly wiping your child’s nose, chances are it is getting sore and raw from irritation. Create a protective barrier with an ointment like Maty’s All Natural Baby Ointment. My family loves this natural alternative to Vaseline; not only has it helped protect our daughter’s nose during this nasty cold, but it cleared up her diaper rash overnight. I also love to slather it on my feet at night and cover with socks for the softest feet ever – it’s truly a necessary treat. I feel good about Maty’s philosophy of “if you wouldn’t put it in your mouth, why would you put it on your skin?”
Elevate head: in babies over 6 months, you can elevate their head while sleeping to help drain the congestion at night and for naps.
Remember to always practice good hand washing as a family and keep items clean in your house – I can’t be the only one whose baby sucks on remote controls, books, toys, phones…oh, and don’t forget lots of extra snuggles and love – we might call it the “common cold,” but there is nothing common about how miserable and lousy you feel when you’re sick with it.