With the change of weather, the common cold blows in. These annoying viruses are mostly due to crowding of people inside during winter. In other words, colds are spread person to person.
Cold symptoms include a clear runny nose, mild fussiness, and pokey eating. A cough may be present, and is typically not severe. Cold care for babies consists of making the baby feel comfortable, and watching for any complications.
If your baby has cold symptoms, the most important tip is to have him checked by your health care provider or doctor. Has your baby been diagnosed with a cold? Would you like to learn more about colds in babies? Here are some guidelines on cold care for infants to help you treat his symptoms and prevent reoccurrences.
Good hand washing. Known as the best defense to prevent the spread of viruses, hand washing is a redundant yet effective task. If a family member who lives in the house has a cold, ensure they wash their hands before handling the baby. Oh, and a gentle reminder–don’t kiss her on the face!
Breast or bottle feed more frequently. Babies with colds need more frequent feeding because nasal congestion may slow eating patterns. Feeding frequently also ensures your baby does not become dehydrated. As long as you are not prescribed any medicines that may harm the baby while breastfeeding, continue breastfeeding while you have a cold. You will pass along immune benefits to your little loved one.
Stay away from crowds during the first two months of life. Newborn babies are vulnerable to illness. Their immune systems are underdeveloped. Of course, take your baby out for fresh air, but don’t expose him to crowds in the first couple of months. Keep your baby away from sick children and adults, as much as possible.
Keep your baby on her back. Your sweetie gets better ventilation and airflow through her nasal passages while lying on her back. Back positioning ensures she is more comfortable and is shown to help prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
Humidity soothes mucous. A cool mist humidifier helps thin out nasal secretions. Small air passages are not yet ready for any type of menthol or scented products, so hold off on the Vick’s or aromatherapy for now.
Elevate the head of the bed. Imagine lying flat with a stuffy nose. The goal for your baby’s head elevation is 30 to 45 degrees. This is just about the angle of your baby’s car seat. If your baby is in a bassinet or co-sleeper, you may use the adjustable incline. A book also works under a flat baby mattress to elevate the head of the bed. Your baby’s head should rest comfortably and not slump forward.
Give your baby a warm bath. Soothing for fussiness and a baby’s aching body, a warm bath may help loosen the secretions in the nose. After the bath is complete, gently remove any excess mucus from the nose with a warm washcloth.
Saline drops loosen secretions. With your doctor’s consent you may use saline nose drops to help ease the mucous burden. These drops will help loosen the congestion in the nose. Put two drops in each nasal passage and use every 4 hours as needed for congestion.
Suction your baby’s nose. A bulb syringe to suction any mucus from your baby’s nose is a good asset when your baby has a cold. Only suction the mucus in the parts of the nose you can see. Do not blindly try to suction the nose or suction excessively, since either may cause irritation in the nasal passages.
Infants with colds may run a fever. Any fever over 100.4° in a baby younger than two months of age is a signal for you to seek urgent evaluation and care. Other indications to seek treatment immediately include breathing difficulty, lethargy, poor feeding, not urinating as often, and extreme fussiness.