Last week was pretty tough. Not only did we have to deal with all that comes with teething, my son also picked up a cold. Thanks to his two top teeth cutting through at once, he was fussy, feverish, and, of course, in pain. Adding congestion and a mucus-filled cough into the mix just made him even more miserable. He wanted to be in my arms 24/7, which I was totally fine with, until I wanted to get anything done around the house. But, unfortunately, when your baby has a cold, there’s not really much you can do to stop it; you just have to be there to let it run its course.
Since it’s not recommended by the FDA that children under 12 years of age be given cold medicine, here’s what I’ve been doing the last few days to help my son shake a cold. If your baby has a cold, these tips will definitely come in handy.
What to Do If Your Baby Has a Cold
Keep your baby hydrated. This is often the first piece of advice offered, even for adults. This is the best way to help your little one fight off a cold. Drinking lots of fluids helps the body break up congestion, stay hydrated, and keep the throat moist. Along with nursing my son, I also offered him water and apple juice throughout the day. It was sad but adorable how he developed a little system to take breaths from his mouth between sips.
Clear out the mucus. Before, just hearing the word “mucus” was cringe-worthy. But there’s something about becoming a mom that gives you the superpower to deal with all the grossness, especially if it means soothing your baby. We tried the old-school aspirator but he’d rather snatch it out of my hand and use it to poke me in the eye. So instead, we used the Fridababy NoseFrida, also known as the “SnotSucker.” It worked wonders! And if you’re concerned about the snot reaching your mouth, don’t worry, there’s a little filter to prevent that. Plus, you’d have to suck pretty darn hard for the snot to travel that far up the tube—and I wouldn’t advise that.
Moisten the air. Warm, moist air helps your baby to breathe by reducing mucus build-up and opening their respiratory passages. Placing a humidifier near your baby’s crib when they’re asleep at night helps. If you don’t have one at the time, try turning on a hot shower, closing the door, and standing in the steamy bathroom with your baby for about 15 minutes. The steam works the same as the humidifier, loosening mucus and relieving some of the discomfort caused by congestion. Never leave your baby in the bathroom alone, though.
Monitor your baby’s temperature. Keep an eye on your baby’s temperature. My son was already dealing with a mild fever from teething so I wanted to pay extra attention to make sure it didn’t rise due to him having a cold. Depending on your baby’s age, you may want to contact their pediatrician at the slightest sign of fever, just to be safe.
Sanitize toys and bedding. Keeping toys and bedding clean helps get rid of germs that may be lingering around. As your baby gets better each day, you wouldn’t want them picking up toys or sleeping on sheets that were covered in germs from the previous days.
Offer extra comfort. This was my favorite thing to do. These days, cuddling with a mobile baby seems almost impossible because he’s always off getting into something around the house. But when he was sick, he wanted to cuddle more than ever and I was all for it. There’s definitely no harm in prescribing an extra dose of TLC for your baby.
Encourage your baby to rest. “Sleeping it off” seems to help us adults, it wouldn’t hurt to encourage your baby to sleep more during a cold, either. A well-rested body has the energy to fight off a cold. Thankfully, the extra cuddles helped my little one nap more, even it was just a cat-nap on my chest.