How to Treat a Baby’s Cold

How can a parent help a baby with cold feel better?  A baby’s first cold is a milestone that most parents would prefer to miss.  But that is unlikely because infants, whose immune systems haven’t had a chance to build them selves up, are particularly vulnerable to the almost 200 different cold viruses.  You can’t cure your baby’s cold, but you can offer relief for its symptoms.

To help reduce your baby’s congestion, keep the air in your baby’s room moist with a cool-mist humidifier, and bathe your baby in warm water before sleeping. If the baby is bottle-fed, give him about half an ounce of water between feedings.  (This isn’t necessary if you’re breastfeeding or for a baby who isn’t sick.)

To soften the mucus that has accumulated in your baby’s nose, try using saline drops which you can buy at a drug store, or make your own by dissolving a quarter teaspoon of salt in an eight-ounce glass of warm water.  Use a clean medicine dropper to put a few drops of the solution inside one nostril, then use a suction bulb to clear the nostril; repeat with the other side.

You should also check in with your pediatrician, who will want to know the details of your son’s condition.  Colds themselves are not dangerous to babies, but they can sometimes develop into a more serious illness, such as an ear infection or bronchitis. If your baby’s temperature rises above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or if he refuses to eat, call your pediatrician immediately.

Here’s a tip on giving medications.  When giving a baby the liquid medicine or vitamins, to make sure the full dosage is swallowed, gently lean your baby’s head backward.  Insert the dropper into his mouth so that it is pressed against the cheek and aimed toward the back of the throat.  Squeeze out the contents.  Your baby should swallow the entire dose quickly.