When little ones are under the weather, parents feel miserable, too. It’s especially frustrating when a preverbal baby can’t vocalize what’s wrong. Likely recognizable, though, are telltale signs of a cold: coughing, sneezing and a runny nose.
Doctors advise against administering cold medication for children under the age of two. Pharmaceuticals not prescribed or recommended by your pediatrician shouldn’t be administered either. So what can parents do? Some natural remedies can help alleviate symptoms and stop the sniffles from becoming full-blown colds.
When it comes to babies versus cold viruses, the wide variety of germs out there has a major advantage. There are steps that can even the score and boosting your baby’s immunity, making it less likely that he or she will come down with a cold in the first place.
Natural Cold Remedies for Infants
Despite your best efforts, sooner or later your baby will come down with a cold. Fortunately, there are things you can do to ease the suffering and help him or her recover more quickly.
One of the most natural “remedies” out there that boosts immunity — breastfeeding. Breast milk contains disease-fighting chemicals called antibodies that protect your baby from infection. In addition, being held during breastfeeding provides prolonged periods of touch, which promote immune health by keeping your baby’s level of the stress hormone cortisol low.
2. Encourage Sleep
While it’s harder for your baby to sleep when he or she has a cold, getting plenty of rest helps recovery efforts. Use what you know about your baby ‘s sleep habits and replicate sleep-promoting conditions. That could mean taking more naps during the day or going for rides in the car.
3. Use a Humidifier or Vaporizer
The air tends to get drier in the winter, a normal atmospheric condition exacerbated by the use of central heating. Nasal mucus tends to thicken and build up when the air is dry. Alleviate these conditions by using either a cool air humidifier or warm air vaporizer to restore moisture in the air to help relieve your baby’s stuffiness. Be aware, a warm air vaporizer can pose a burn hazard, so keep it out of baby’s reach.
4. Elevate the Head of the Bed
Raising the head of your baby’s bed on an incline — the mattress can be raised through a rolled-up towel or stack of books — can help drain mucus by the force of gravity, allowing your little one to breathe more easily. Don’t use pillows to prop up your baby’s head, as this can increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), but certain crib wedges are possible considerations.
5. Use Suction and Saline
Your baby won’t be able to blow his or her nose, even with your help, until at least age two. To clear their nose another way, use a nasal aspirator to suck out mucus. You can also loosen up mucus with saline drops or mist.
If you have questions or concerns about your baby’s symptoms, consult your pediatrician or doctor.