There are plenty of safe home remedies for a baby cold that really work which are safe for small babies / infants (under 12 months) and don’t require the use of medication. If you’re looking for home remedies for a baby cold, then you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we will discuss some of the most effective home remedies for a baby cold or flu. We will also provide tips on how to keep your baby healthy during cold and flu season.
There are many home remedies that can help a baby cold, but it’s important to remember that every baby is different. Some home remedies may work for one baby and not another. Unlike multitude of natural cold remedies for toddlers, infants are more sensitive and a more careful approach is needed. If you’re unsure about whether or not a home remedy is right for your baby, talk to your pediatrician.
Choosing Natural Home Remedies For Baby Cold Or Flu
Having a sick baby can be incredibly scary for first time parents, because infants are so small and sensitive. In the firs few months a baby’s immune system is still developing, so they are more prone to cold and flu viruses. In fact, almost half of all babies will get a cold in their first year of life.
The good news is that an infant immune system is stronger than you think and beats adults at fighting off the germs since it’s designed to respond to lots of new pathogens.
Treatment & Home Remedies For a Baby Cold (Under 12 Months)
Baby colds and flus don’t need to be treated. Since these are viral infections, they usually go away on their own after a few days. Cold and flu aren’t caused by bacterial infections and can’t be treated with antibiotics either. The best thing you can do is help your baby feel comfortable while fighting the illness.
The good thing is now more and more parents are turning to natural baby cold remedies for treating their symptoms. Although they may not shorten much the illness (which usually takes about 7 -10 days to run its course), but they help their tiny bodies fight the viruses gentler.
Here are a few of the best natural remedies for cold and flu in babies under 12 months:
1. Breast-feeding Helps Baby’s Cold
If you’re looking for home remedies for a baby cold, look no further than your own body. Breast-milk is perhaps the best natural remedy for your baby’s cold. It is rich in antibodies specific to baby’s environment, and this is why breastfed infants have fewer infections and are at an immunological advantage than formula fed babies.
A recent discovery states that once your breastfed infant does get sick, the saliva actually influences the content of your breast milk. He will transfer this organism through his saliva to the breast, then developed antibodies are sent back to the baby through the milk to help him fight the disease.
It is also essential the baby to be hydrated. You may need to nurse more often than usual, because the baby may not get as much at each feeding as the nose is congested and it’s difficult for them to breathe while nursing.
Water or tea for babies younger than 6 months is not considered necessary. So, if you’re looking for a natural home remedy for your baby’s cold, breast-milk is the way to go!
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2. Relief Your Baby’s Nasal Congestion
Another home remedy that is commonly used for a baby cold is saline nose drops. Saline nose drops can help to loosen mucus and make it easier for your baby to breathe. They can also help with lowering the risk of developing complications.
It is important to use sterile saline solution when giving your baby nose drops, as this will help to prevent infection.
First you gently clear their nasal passages using a nasal suction aspirator (that does not go inside the nostril as it can hurt the delicate linings of your baby’s nose). I’ve used the NoseFrida many times and is extremely gentle on the baby’s nose and easy to disinfect.
Then you can squirt some saline drops or breast milk into baby’s nose to help loosen up the mucus before sucking it out.
Over the counter nasal decongestant are not suitable for babies or children under six years.
3. Humidity Helps Your Baby’s Stuffy Nose
If your baby is having trouble breathing, one of the best ways to relieve nasal congestion in babies is to increase the humidity in the baby’s room. You can to that by using a humidifier or by a running shower to create steam. Sit in the steamy room with your baby for abut 20 minutes. The steam works to clean their nose by thinning out the mucus thus easing congestion.
If you are using a humidifier, choose an ultrasonic humidifier with cool mist, they are quieter, easier to operate and clean. Since mold and bacteria can accumulate inside it, you have to clean and dry it every day.
4. Change Your Diet
If you’re breastfeeding it’s important that you increase your intake of antioxidants and vitamins. Eliminate your intake of grains, dairy and sugars, especially fructose. Usually these elevate your insulin and leptin levels mainly through causing the body to be resistant to them, resulting in increased inflammation in the body.
Since everything most of the time ends up in the breast milk this change will help in speeding up the healing process of your baby.
5. Managing Your Baby’s Fever And Hydration
If your baby has a fever, there are a few home remedies you can try to help your baby feel more comfortable. First, make sure he’s staying hydrated because fever can make your baby more dehydrated. Breastmilk or infant formula is best for babies under 12 months old. For babies 6 months and older – clear soups like homemade chicken soup, herbal teas and water are good options.
Another home remedy for a baby cold is linden, either as a hot or warm infusion (as tea) – in traditional medicine it is believed to reduce fevers, chills while encouraging cooling perspiration. The demulcent aspects of the tea are also soothing to the upper respiratory tract. Mucous membranes are moistened to reduce dry coughs.
Other beneficial herbal teas for babies with cold (older than 6 months) are: chamomile, ginger, plantain and thyme tea – diluted (1:1). And of course make sure it is a high quality (organic) uncontaminated tea. Plantain and thyme teas are also great for cough and phlegm within the lungs and for lowering fevers.
A risen temperature it’s the body’s natural way of fighting, it is trying to get rid of the pathogen becoming an unsuitable environment for some viruses/bacteria to stick around.
Many babies can have a fever and aren’t bothered by it. In that case, I wouldn’t bother trying to reduce it. Since the body is already fighting on it’s own, it would be more effective to harmonize this process with some natural alternatives that have no harsh interference or side effects like synthetic fever reducers have.
6. Diffuse Essential Oils
Sinus tissue inflammation and bacteria are often the culprits of sinus congestion, the best way to use essential oils to relieve a stuffy nose is through inhalation.
This can be done by using an essential oil diffuser. The diffused oils will end up in the air this way killing the airborne viruses, bacteria, fungus and mold which makes a really great preventive remedy.
Each essential oil is different and you should choose the essential oils carefully, only tested 100% pure (organic) essential oils should be used for the little ones.
Some of the best and safe essential oils that I’m using for babies with cold and flu, are: cedarwood, eucalyptus and lemon, frankincense, fir needle, peppermint and clary sage. To use, simply add a few drops of each oil (maximum 2 or 3 oils) to your diffuser and run it for 30 minutes to an hour. You can do that several times a day until your baby’s breathing improves.
Eucalyptus has properties that help open up the airways, while peppermint has a cooling effect that can help soothe a sore throat. Together, they make a great home remedy for a baby cold!
This method helped me to prevent my baby getting sick (at 4 months) when my husband came home with a nasty flu. Eventually I got the flu too, even though I was nursing the whole time, my baby didn’t show any signs of illness.
7. Chest And Feet Rub With Essential Oils
Caution: neonatal skin does not mature until three months of age, it is more sensitive and more permeable to essential oils. Use only for babies 3 months and older. The recommended dilution ratio for this age group is 0.25% (1 drop per 4 teaspoons carrier oil).
8. Sleep, Nurse And Carry Your Baby Upright
Another home remedy that can be used for a baby cold is elevation. When your baby is lying down, mucus can pool in their nose and throat, making it difficult for them to breathe.
Elevating your baby’s head during sleep can help to reduce these symptoms. Hold or wear your baby, or let her nap in her car seat or a swing.
You can also try elevating their head when they sleep by placing a pillow under their mattress or using a boppy nursing pillow.
9. Herbal Tea For The Nursing Mother
A nursing mother can also hydrate her baby by consuming extra fluids (to keep up the milk production) in the form of anti-inflammatory herbal tea. By doing so, she can help her baby fight off the cold or flu.
There are a few different herbal teas that nursing mothers can drink to help soothe their baby’s cold or flu symptoms. Among them: chamomile, ginger, plantain, rosehip and thyme tea.
Related: Flu Bomb Drink – Best For Cold & Flu
10. Probiotics as Home Remedy For Baby Cold
Probiotics are known to be beneficial for gut health, but did you know that they can also help your little one fight off a cold? Probiotics are thought to help establish and maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut, which is important for overall health. They may also help support your baby’s immune system and reduce the severity and duration of colds.
There are many different types of probiotics, and it’s important to choose the right one for your baby. Some probiotics are made specifically for infants, while others are meant for adults.
Probiotics also come in different forms, such as powders, liquids or capsules. Having 5 billion to 10 billion CFUs of powdered probiotics, is most effective. For example his probiotic is specifically designed for infants, it doesn’t contain any milk, corn, soy, wheat, gluten, shellfish, eggs or fish which is great when you don’t know if your baby has any allergies yet. That’s what I used for my baby.
Keep Your Baby Healthy
The best way to avoid getting your baby sick is to take some preventative steps. Here are a few tips to help keep your little one healthy and cold-free:
- Keep your baby away from crowds, especially during cold and flu season;
- Wash your hands often, especially before you feed or handle your baby;
- Change hand towels every day;
- Give your bathrooms a quick cleaning after each use;
- Change bedding sheets;
- Wipe down all door handles and light switches with a sanitizing wipe regularly, this way you will prevent spreading the flu to other family members.
Baby Cold FAQs
The flu typically comes with higher fevers, over 102 degrees F and your baby can also have other symptoms besides congestion and cough, like vomiting or diarrhea. You can generally handle a baby cold with natural home remedies, but sometimes he’ll need medical attention. Trouble breathing or violent coughing is some of the signs to look for.
As a general rule, you shouldn’t give your baby over-the-counter (OTC) cold medicine unless your pediatrician says it’s OK. The reason is that many of these medicines haven’t been tested in young children and may do more harm than good. The younger a baby is, the less developed its organs and the elimination pathways are. This can create havoc with the health of their little body with unknown consequences later in life. Over the last 20-30 years, conventional cold and cough medicine can easily be found in grocery stores. With all that, more and more studies are warning about the danger of using medications in infants and babies under 4 years old. One of the most popular – acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol – is responsible for nearly half of all acute liver failure cases in the US . Cold and cough OTC medications won’t prevent a cold or shorten its duration, they just mask the symptoms and most have side effects.
The answer, fortunately, is no. However, that doesn’t mean that a stuffy nose isn’t dangerous for your baby. A baby’s nose is much smaller than an adult’s, which means that it gets blocked much more easily. This can make it difficult for your baby to breathe, which can in turn lead to other problems such as dehydration. However, for most babies a stuffy nose is just a minor annoyance. So don’t worry, your baby will be just fine.
If your baby’s congestion is accompanied by other symptoms like coughing, vomiting, or difficulty breathing, you should call the doctor. Generally speaking, you shouldn’t worry too much about your baby’s congestion as long as they’re still eating and sleeping well.
Finally, one of the best home remedies for a baby cold is simply time. Most colds will resolve on their own within a week or two.
In the end, remember that home remedies are great, but if your baby’s cold symptoms don’t seem to be improving after a few days, it’s always best to call the doctor.
This information is not intended to substitute medical advice. Readers are advised to do their own research and make decisions by consulting with their health care providers. If you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition or are taking any medication, please consult your physician.