Baby’s first cold/flu is probably every parent’s worst nightmare. As a parent, I myself dread being sick. Now, seeing my little baby struggle through the symptoms of a cold is just heartbreaking! It seems that there isn’t much that I could do to help. For the most part, that is true, getting through the cold/flu is more about your baby just getting enough fluids and rest. However, the little part you do play in your baby’s recovery makes a huge impact on your baby’s overall comfort as they go through the various stages of their sickness. Find out what you could do to help make things a little more bearable for your baby.
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What You’ll Need
You will need a thermometer to read your baby’s temperature. There are different definitions of a fever depending on the area from which the temperature was taken. A fever is a temperature above 100.4 F when taken rectally or from the ear, a temperature above 100 F when taken orally, or a temperature above 99 F when taken from the armpit (1).
I received these drops as part of a baby essentials medical kit from my baby shower. Seriously the best and one of my most used gifts!
Nose Frida (or suction bulb)
This package includes a saline dropper. However, you could purchase just the nasal aspirator from other vendors. I purchased mine at Target.
I know some parents use a bulb syringe, instead. I had a couple bulb syringes and ended up still purchasing the Nose Frida. I would personally recommend investing in a Nose Frida, it definitely gets a lot more out, in my experience.
This is the cool-mist humidifier I use, but any will do the job just fine!
This rub is both effective and organic (whether you’re one of those moms or not). The best part, it’s safe to use on babies. You could even use it!
OPTIONAL: Air Purifier
The coolest part about this air purifier is that is doesn’t only help purify and circulate the air in your baby’s room, but it also projects lights onto the ceiling! I thought it was the neatest thing ever! Oh, and you can also use it as a white noise machine!
Relieving the Symptoms
Now let’s get to what you could do to help your baby. Congestion, whether it be nasal or chest, will be your baby’s greatest ailments. This is where you could be a huge help! Here are some ways you can relieve your baby’s congestion.
1. Saline Drops and Nose Frida to Clear Nasal Congestion
Try to regularly clean out your baby’s nose with the saline drops and a nasal aspirator. A stuffy nose causes a great deal of discomfort and breathing difficulties for most of us, especially babies. They aren’t able to blow their own noses so you will have to be their hands until the cold/flu clears up.
2. Cool-Mist Humidifier to Moisten Air
You could also use a humidifier to help relieve your baby’s congestion. A cool-mist humidifier adds moisture to the air and can help relieve dry coughs and mucus buildup (2). Plus, it’s perfectly safe for babies, just make sure to use it according to the factory instructions and clean it out thoroughly and regularly!
3. Steam Therapy
This is very similar to the use of a warm-mist humidifier. As a side note, one must always take caution when exposing a child, let alone a baby, to hot steam. A safer alternative to using hot steam is to have your baby stay in a steamed up bathroom for a little bit. I like to walk into the bathroom with my little girl, while my husband is taking his evening shower, and just let my baby breath in some of the warm mist. The steam is not hot enough to burn and it does the job in alleviating some of my baby’s congestion. It’s also helpful with releasing any mucus build-up so I could suction her nose right after we’re out!
4. Use an Essential Oil Rub
As with any home remedy, be sure to talk with your doctor about it first. There are a lot of essential oils that can help relieve congestion. I, conveniently, purchased a natural, baby-safe essential oil rub before my baby was born, so it was on-hand when my baby got sick.
As per instructions, you just gently massage the rub onto your baby’s chest, neck and back, preferably before bed. You could also massage it onto your baby’s foot and then cover it with a sock. The strong scent in the rub helps to make breathing easier.
5. Tilt Baby’s Head Upwards.
Lifting your baby’s head slightly helps with mucus draining and thus makes it much easier for your baby to breath through the night (3). This is a must when you’re battling congestion and trying to get your baby to sleep!
To do this you could either add support under the legs of one end of the crib or add some blankets under the mattress.
6. Swaddle Up!
This tip was given to me by another momma. She had noticed that her baby would get a stuffy nose more when cold. So, she decided to swaddle him up and get him warm. Once he was warmed up, he would breathe much better. I tried this myself and found that it worked and helped my little girl! So, keep your baby warm to avoid uncomfortable congestion!
As a side note, she said that it was easier to suction her baby’s nose once he was swaddled and warm and that everything would come out! Her baby would sleep great afterward!
7. OPTIONAL: Use An Air Purifier, or Use Your Vaccum (if it has an Air Purification Setting).
I left this step as optional as it is not necessarily required, however, it does help. I leave our Rainbow Vacuum on the air purification setting throughout the night to help with both air purification and circulation, in conjunction with the cool-mist humidifier (something that is highly recommended when using a humidifier).
For a cheaper alternative, you could just turn on the air in your home (our’s just leaves our home extremely cold, making our baby’s cold much worse). Or, you could just buy a cheaper air purification/circulation system. Better yet, just leave the doors to your baby’s room open or crack open a window! Do what works for your family!
Treating a Fever
Your pediatrician might recommend that you use Motrin or Tylenol if your baby’s fever gets high enough. With that being said, it is extremely important to first consult with your pediatrician before giving your baby any of these over the counter medications. They have very specific dosage criteria that take into account your baby’s age, weight, and circumstance. Any deviations can possibly be deleterious!
When it is Time to Call Your Pediatrician!
Although home remedies might help, in certain situations, seeking an expert is the best option. If you see any of these signs, it is time for you to contact your baby’s doctor (4)!
- If your baby refuses to eat or has a change in appetite.
- If your baby is very limp, seems weak, sleepy, slow or is inconsolable.
- If your baby is under 3 months and has a fever (temperature above 100.4 F)
- If your baby is over 3 months and has a fever over 102 F, especially if it lasts longer than 24 hours.
- If your baby has diarrhea or loose stools, especially if it is tinged in blood.
- If your baby is forcefully vomiting and can’t keep liquids down, especially if it is tinged in blood or bile.
- If your baby appears dehydrated (doesn’t cry tears, has a dry mouth, has less wet diapers, or has a sunken fontanelle, “soft spot”).
- If your baby is constipated.
- If your baby has trouble breathing.
- If your baby has a stuffy nose that lasts longer than 10 days or a cough that lasts longer than a week.
- If your baby appears to have ear pain.
- If your baby has an unexplained rash, accompanying the fever.
- Or, if your baby has a notable amount of eye discharge.
Any notable change should be alarming! You know your baby! If something seems off, it probably is. So, call your pediatrician!
As a parent, you can definitely take some steps to help relieve your baby’s discomfort when they’re sick. By alleviating any congestion through the remedies provided, you can assure that they have a swifter recovery.
Nonetheless, it is also very important to monitor your baby’s condition in the case that the underlying illness is more serious. Know what to look for so that you can call for help if need be.
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Thank you for your support!
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