Treating Your Baby’s Cold

August 8th, 2014 / by / in: Health / No responses

Watching your little baby struggle through their first cold is hard for any mom. If your baby goes to daycare then they may be even more susceptible to frequent viruses, although all babies are likely to catch a cold at least once during their first year. Breastfeeding can help provide your baby with a good first line of defense against these nasty viruses, but some treatment may be needed if the sniffles do set in.

What Medicines Can My Baby Take?

Unfortunately, many of the medicines that you may take to treat cold and flu as an adult won’t be suitable for your infant. Most cough, cold and flu medications available over the counter are not suitable for any children under the age of six, and will be particularly damaging to babies. What’s more, many of these drugs do very little to treat the actual virus, they just ease up the symptoms until your body wins the fight. They are unlikely to actually shorten the duration of the illness itself.

If your baby has a fever that accompanies his cold and seems very uncomfortable, you can talk to your doctor about giving him infant-appropriate acetaminophin or ibuprofen. You should never give your baby aspirin, as this can cause a dangerous condition known as Reyes Syndrome.

If you do decide to give your baby a pain relieving medication like acetaminophin to treat their fever, be very cautious and follow the recommended dosage, as these medications can be very dangerous in overdose.

How Can I Ease The Symptoms?

  • The best way to treat a cold is with plenty of fluids and rest. If your baby is breastfeeding, nurse them frequently to keep them hydrated and well nourished. Some babies go on a nursing strike when they have a cold because their stuffy nose is making breastfeeding difficult. If this happens, express regularly to keep your supply up and watch your baby for signs of dehydration. Nursing little and often should keep them hydrated until the virus passes.
  • If you’re formula feeding, offer a bottle frequently. If your baby is over the age of six months then you can also offer supplementary water and juice.
  • A saline solution can help loosen up your baby’s congestion. You can buy saline water over the counter- just squeeze the solution into their nostrils and then suction out the mucous with an aspirator or rubber bulb syringe. Doing a saline suction before feeding your baby may also encourage them to drink more.
  • Dab a little Vaseline or aqueous cream around your baby’s nostrils to prevent the area from becoming dry and irritated.
  • Moisten the air in your baby’s room with a vaporizer or humidifier. You can also give your baby a warm bath to allow the steam to help clear out their nose and chest.

Do I Need A Doctor?

If your baby is under three months old, you should always go to the doctor at any sign of illness. After three months, take your baby to the doctor if their fever goes over 101 degrees.

There are certain symptoms that always warrant a doctor’s visit. If your baby has had a fever that goes on for more than two days, has a severe cough or trouble breathing, seems to have discomfort in his ear that suggests an infection or has a major change in sleeping or feeding habits, then head straight to your doctor to get them checked over.