Nothing distresses a parent more than a sick baby. To see your poor little one sneeze, cough, and wail is absolutely heartbreaking!
However, coughs and colds are some of the most common illnesses that babies have to deal with. Infants have weaker immune systems than adults and are thus susceptible to falling sick due to changes in the weather, new environments, and contact with infected persons.
More often than not, these coughs and colds are mild, albeit annoying and stressful.
The good news is that there are many home remedies for cough and cold that you can easily make with ingredients and items found in your kitchen. These home remedies are not only safe for your little one, but they are also gentle and effective in providing relief.
So, let's take a look at some of the most popular home remedies for cough and cold in babies.
How to Treat Cough and Cold in Babies at Home
When your baby has a cough or a cold, it’s important to address the symptoms quickly. Luckily, there are many at-home remedies you can use to relieve coughing fits, nasal congestion, and sore throats.
However, consult your doctor before trying out any home remedies.
Additionally, always patch test ingredients (be it natural or manufactured) that you have not used on your baby before and be aware of any potential food allergies as well.
Moreover, if your baby is too sick, please rush them to the hospital.
Most coughs and colds are mild and can be easily dealt with at home.
Read on to learn more about these home remedies for babies, including what ingredients you need to prepare them and how they work. These methods will aid your baby's body in its fight to get rid of the pesky cough and cold!
1. Use Honey
One of the most commonly used home remedies for cough and cold in babies is honey.
A medicinal staple around the world, honey has natural antibacterial and antiseptic properties that help soothe a sore throat, break down or loosen mucus, and provide relief from coughing.
Moreover, honey has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that can help boost the immune system.
To use honey as a natural cough remedy for your baby, add one teaspoon of honey to a cup of warm water. You can also add a few drops of lemon juice to this concoction. Let your baby drink it slowly and make sure that they don't choke on it.
You can also add honey to smoothies or plain yoghurt.
However, DO NOT give honey to babies under one year of age as it can cause infant botulism!
2. Try Steam Inhalation or A Warm Compress
Another effective home remedy for dry or wet cough, common cold, and sinus congestion in babies is steam inhalation.
When the air passages come in contact with hot steam, the dried mucus that lines them becomes looser and easier to expel. Subsequently, steam will also help your sick baby breathe better as it clears up a blocked nose.
To use this method and create a steam room at home, fill a bathtub or bucket with hot water. You can use towels to close the gap between the door and the floor and stop the steam from escaping. Once the room is warm and full of steam, hold your infant and let them breathe in the steamy air for around 20 minutes.
This is the best method to give your little one the benefits of steaming —apparatuses meant specifically for steam inhalation can be dangerous for babies, who are known for their sudden movements.
However, make sure that your baby doesn't come in direct contact with the hot or boiled water in the bathroom. Sit on the floor if you can, so that your baby doesn't slip out of your grip due to the steam!
For very small babies, a warm compress can also help in soothing chest congestion and clearing out a stuffy nose.
3. Keep Your Baby Hydrated
If you are still breastfeeding your baby, continue doing so. A sick baby needs hydration and antibodies, which your breast milk provides.
In fact, research shows that breast milk is immunomodulatory i.e. that it changes to adapt to your baby's sickness. Fascinating, isn't it?
Sick infants might get fussy about latching onto the breast, so you can try feeding them using a syringe or a small cup. Cuddle your baby and feed them well, and they'll say goodbye to their bothersome cough and cold soon enough.
If you aren't breastfeeding, make sure that your baby is consuming formula properly.
For babies older than six months, water can be given in small quantities at regular intervals along with breastmilk or formula. It's important for your baby to have proper fluid intake in order to fight off the cough and cold.
4. Try Saline Drops
If your baby has a runny nose, wet cough, and is finding it difficult to breathe, you can use saline drops to thin out the mucus in their nasal passages.
To make saline nose drops at home, mix 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized salt or table salt with eight ounces of distilled or boiled water that has been cooled down.
Use this saline solution to gently get rid of any stubborn mucus in your baby's nose.
Hold your baby in a reclined position and pour 3 drops into one nostril using a sterilised dropper or bulb syringe. A few seconds later, use the dropper to suction out the mucus from the nose. Repeat this process in the other nostril as well.
Make sure that you don't push the saline drops too hard into your baby's nostrils, as it could cause discomfort and pain.
5. Give Your Baby Some Garlic
One more effective home remedy for a cough and cold in babies is garlic.
With its antiviral, antibacterial, and expectorant properties, garlic can help in the treatment of mild to moderate infections of the respiratory system.
To give your baby a few drops of garlic juice, crush two or three cloves properly with a pinch of salt. Give this mixture to your baby by mixing it in their food or drink. You can also give them garlic soup or porridge or add some raw garlic to yoghurt.
However, please note that if your baby is under six months old, DO NOT give them any garlic as it may be too strong for their immature digestive system. Babies under the age of six months don't need solid food or anything apart from breastmilk/formula. Also, please ensure that your baby isn't allergic to garlic!
Hopefully, the remedies mentioned above will provide relief to your sick baby.
Coughs and colds are quite common and these natural tips will help your baby's immune system fight off the infection.
However, please know that if your baby is extremely uncomfortable, coughing incessantly, refusing to eat, crying a lot, covered in rashes, or has a fever that isn't reducing, you need to take them to the doctor.
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