I speak with experience as my three month old suffered with her first cold for two weeks earlier this month. When they’re very small it feels as though there is little you can do and, of course, they can’t tell you how they’re feeling. But there are some ways you can help. Below are some things you can do to provide relief to babies when they’re going through a cold.
A vaporiser in the room where your baby sleeps can really help clear her airways so breathing is easier. Check the pack as some are age restricted. For example, I used a Boots electronic vaporiser as it was suitable from three months. Alternatively you can buy vaporiser liquid that you can drop into warm water or onto a cloth that you drape over a radiator.
Clear Baby’s Nose
Saline drops can be used to help soften any blockages in baby’s nose and you can also use a nasal aspirator. It’s important to keep baby’s nose as clear as possible as it can affect her eating if it’s blocked (see below).
When baby’s nose is blocked she may struggle to feed, getting frustrated or even crying at the breast or bottle. This is because babies breathe through their noses while they eat. If this happens the best thing to do is try to clear her nose, soothe her with cuddles and feed her when she’s a little calmer. You may find she prefers to feed little and often at this time, so just follow your baby’s cues. Another tip is to keep your baby as upright as possible during feeds as this can help her airways stay clearer. If you’re breastfeeding, your milk is really important while your baby is sick because it contains a wealth of antibodies that will help her fight off the infection so feed as much as you can. If you’re the one who’s sick and your baby’s fine you should still nurse your baby as often as possible to pass antibodies onto her, but of course ensure you wash your hands and catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue.
Your baby may be more tired than normal with a cold, and this is no reason to be concerned. Let her sleep if she needs to, and just try to feed her when you can. Just like us, babies often need to rest more to help them recover from an illness.
Check your baby’s temperature and, if it’s raised, you can give your baby a paracetamol medicine such as Calpol, as long as she is old enough to take it. If your baby is too young to take medicine and has a fever, or the fever worsens, contact your doctor.
It’s best if you can try and stay as calm as possible as babies pick up on how we’re feeling and if you’re calm it will help your baby to relax more. If you’re concerned, or the cold doesn’t seem to be getting better, it’s a good idea to see a doctor who can check your baby’s ears, listen to her breathing, check for dehydration and reassure you if you’re worried. It’s best not to take your baby to places where she could pass the cold onto anyone else while she’s showing signs of illness, and it’s best not to overstimulate her as this can stop her resting well, so just take it easy, give your baby plenty of cuddles and feed her as often as you’re able to.