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As your baby’s immune system slowly develops, your tiny one is more prone to catching a cold and cough. Some of the symptoms are sneezing, nasal congestion, breathing difficulties, persistent coughing, crankiness etc. For a first-time parent, it can be pretty scary to see your tiny little one in such discomfort. While you must consult your pediatrician for proper treatment, there are many home remedies that you can follow to ease their discomfort and make them feel better. Keeping your baby’s age in mind, here are some home remedies that are greatly helpful in soothing a cold and cough.
Home remedies For Infants (Babies below 1 year of age):
Make sure your baby gets up to 18 hours of sleep a day. When your child rests, it is actually healing.
To prevent them from getting dehydrated, you need to make sure they’re getting enough fluids. For babies below 6 months of age, breastmilk or formula is sufficient and contains all the nutrients they require to heal. After 6 months, you can start giving them other fluids too. Warm water, chicken soup (in paste-form), warm apple sauce can be nourishing and soothing.
As infants cannot clear their nose on their own, nasal congestion can be particularly uncomfortable for them. For newborns, you can use a Nasal Suction Bulb to suck out the mucus if it is obstructing your baby’s nasal passage. You can also relieve congestion by using Nasal Saline Drops prescribed by your pediatrician. The drops have a saline solution that dilutes the thick mucus. You can then use the nasal suction bulb after the mucus has diluted, to remove it.
Another great way to help your baby decongest is with a steam shower mist. Simply turn on the hot shower, close the bathroom door, hold your baby to your chest and let them inhale the steam from a safe distance. Do this only for short periods of time and make sure you don’t take your baby too close to the shower.
Putting a cool-mist humidifier in your baby’s room will keep the air moist and ensure that the baby’s already dry nasal passages don’t get too dried out. It will also help them sleep better.
Sanitize your baby’s hands and personal care items well. Babies are always putting their hands and other items in their mouth and this can cause recurring infections. You can use Softsens extra- soft cloth baby wipes to keep their hands clean at all times. It’s also important to sanitize their toys, bedding and other personal care items well.
Watch for signs of ear infection as this usually accompanies a cold and can be extremely painful and dangerous for your baby. You will be able to tell if your baby is extra cranky, has trouble sleeping and keeps tugging at the ears. Consult your pediatrician immediately for this.
For Babies that have crossed the 1 year mark:
In addition to the above mentioned remedies, here are some additional remedies that are safe once your baby has crossed the 1 year mark.
To help your baby sleep better, you can elevate their head a little by placing a pillow or folded towel under their mattress and not above. This is for safety reasons. Do not put a pillow or blanket in the crib until your baby is at least 2-3 years old.
Honey is a common remedy for a cold and cough among adults. But honey can be dangerous for little ones with a developing digestive system. In fact, you can only give your baby honey in small doses after they are 1 year old. If your baby is over 1 year old, you can give them 1 tsp of honey per day, mixed with lemon juice or warm water to ease their cough and cold symptoms. (If, after consuming honey, your baby shows any signs of constipation or muscle weakness, do consult a doctor)
If you grew up in India, chances are you’ve been given good old ‘haldi doodh’ or ‘turmeric milk’ as a child. Turmeric is filled with antibacterial and antioxidant properties that help naturally fight infections. Mix half a tsp of turmeric powder with a little warm milk and give it to your baby once a day. You can also add a little powdered jaggery to give it a sweet taste.
Massage your baby’s chest and back with a doctor-recommended vapor rub to relieve congestion. Do not put the vapor rub on their face, near their nose or eyes.
Here’s another remedy from Grandma’s archives! Roast Ajwain or carom seeds on a low flame. Wrap them well in a muslin cloth and place it near your baby to let them inhale the fumes. Do not put it within arm’s reach of your baby or they might try to touch it or put it in their mouth.
*If your baby has any pre-existing condition or allergy, do check with your doctor before using any of the above mentioned ingredients. If you are introducing something new to their diet, give it to them in small doses and keep an eye to see if they react negatively to it.
Above all, the best remedy is lots of tender love & care! Share your own experiences and tips on treating your baby’s cold and cough.