Colds may be common but can be very scary for first-time parents.
Colds are viral infections that affect the throat and nose. Babies are more susceptible to colds because they are usually around other children, and their immune systems have not developed to those of adults .
If children are below two years of age, do not medicate them with a decongestant or antihistamine. “Serious and possibly life-threatening side effects could occur .” Even medications marketed to children are for ages three and older.
It may break your heart to see your baby suffer, but there are ways to help relieve the pain and discomfort.
#7 – Focus on Mucus
Children fret over their sinuses because they have not yet learned how to blow their noses. Clear out the mucus by using a bulb syringe.
The blue bulb syringe used to clear mucus may be too large for your newborn. In this case, use the green syringe marketed as an ear syringe. It can pump out the mucus afterwards.
Lay your baby on a flat surface. Tilt the head slightly. Carefully insert the green bulb syringe inside a nostril. Insert it as far as you can go while keeping the syringe perpendicular to your baby’s face. Tilt the head down a bit to garner a little help from gravity.
To ease pumping out the mucus, you can use a nasal spray for babies or a saline solution to thin the viscosity.
Saline solutions are available over-the-counter, or you can make your own:
- Dilute 1/4 tsp of salt in 8 oz of water
- Boil for 10 minutes
- Allow time to cool
#6 – Prevent Dehydration
Keep your baby well-hydrated. This does not require anything fancy. Water, breast milk or formula are the only liquids a child needs to be well-hydrated.
Do not give fruit juices to children under the age of two .
#5 – Nourish A Cold
Like adults, babies can lose their appetite when they are sick. It is important to encourage infants to nurse or feed.
If the baby is unable to consume an entire bottle, wait a while before encouraging them to finish feeding.
Holding the child’s head high and body upright while nursing is also beneficial. This helps to decongest the sinuses, make feeding more comfortable and prevent mucus from running down the throat.
#4 – Rest is Best
It will be difficult when a child is sick and uncomfortable, but follow the usual bedtime routine even if it is not yet time for bed.
Soothe, settle, sing a lullaby or tell a story.
If you usually give your child a warm bath, then do so.
#3 – Sit and Steam
You can help soothe your baby’s cold symptoms by adding moisture the air with a bit of steam.
Run the hot water in the shower. Next, sit nearby as steam fills the bathroom. Do this for 10 minutes or so. The heat of the steam will help decongest your baby’s nose and chest.
#2 – Humidifiers Help
Cool mist moistens the air and eases sinus discomfort especially when it is hot and dry.
Turn on the humidifier during naps and at night. Be sure to change the water every day to prevent mold from forming.
#1 – Wash Hands
A cold is a viral infection, so remember to wash your hands whenever you are handling your child or anything that you will use.
Be sure to keep your baby’s hands clean with wipes.
Keep the face clean especially if mucus is running amok. Wipe it off gently using warm water if necessary.
Watch Out for Other Symptoms
When infants are sick, we get anxious. It is completely normal. Infancy until two years of age is a vulnerable time for children.
Pay attention to other symptoms that may manifest when your baby is sick.
Do not hesitate to consult a doctor or bring your baby to the hospital if these symptoms are present:
- Runny mucus changes color and becomes more viscous
- Fever is higher than 101℉ (38℃)
- Wheezing sounds while breathing
- Breathing ceases to improve despite the humidifier or a jaunt into the steamy bathroom
- Your baby is not feeding
- Your baby is not or hardly wetting their diapers
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Skin around the ribs and throat retracts during breathing
Rest assured – you will get the hang of it.
We want to protect our children from all the travails and pain in the world. You will probably end up having sleepless nights worrying, but your instinct to protect and nurture is an asset.
The common cold can be unnerving, but you have the techniques to keep it under control.
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 Mayo Clinic; Common cold in babies, Mayo Clinic Staff, August 04, 2017.
 United States Department of Health and Human Services; Use Caution When Giving Cough and Cold Products to Kids, February 08, 2018.
 American Academy of Pediatrics; Starting Solid Foods, January 2017.