cough, cough, cough
That’s your infant.
And, it’s their first time catching a cold.
I remember Plum’s first time well – she was 4 months old. And this first-time mama had no clue what to do.
I’m going to let you in on a little something: there isn’t much you can give an infant with a cold. No expectorants or cough suppressants, only a fever reducer/pain reliever, if they need it.
The main thing you want to do is to keep them comfortable by managing their symptoms, as their little immune systems learn what to do.
So how can you help relieve your little one when they have a cold?
Note: When in doubt, please consult your Pediatrician for medical advice.
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7 Items to Have On Hand For Baby’s First Cold
These are the items I have in, what I fondly refer to as, Plum’s “Sick Kit”:
1. Zarbee’s Baby Soothing Chest Rub (2+ months)
What It Does: It helps relieve a stuffy nose, and helps baby breathe easier.
How To Use It: Rub some on baby’s back, neck, chest, or the bottom of their feet.
Tips For Use: You can use this during any time of the day but, per the label – no more than 3x within 24 hours (unless directed by your pediatrician).
I save all of my applications for nighttime so she can breath better as she sleeps. Because if she doesn’t breathe well, neither one of us gets any sleep.
2. American Red Cross Nasal Aspirator
Of the 3 manual aspirators I’ve had, this one is my favorite.
It has a little notch that prevents you from inserting the tip too far up baby’s nose, and I really appreciate that.
What It Does: Suctions the mucus out of baby’s nose, since they haven’t yet learned how to blow it.
How To Use: Squeeze and hold the bulb-end to release the air inside, insert the tip into baby’s nostril, then release the bulb-end to suck out the boogies. Repeat with the other nostril.
Tips For Use: For small babies, aspirating no more than 3x per day is recommended. Aspirating more often can lead to discomfort, since they don’t have cartilage in their noses yet.
The electric aspirators have recently caught my eye, and I’m keen to try one.
3. Little Remedies Saline Spray and Drops (Non-Medicated, 0+ months)
What It Does: Loosens the mucus in baby’s nose, making it easier to aspirate. It also provides relief for stuffy, dry and crusty, or runny noses, and keeps baby’s nose clear and moisturized.
How to Use: While baby is laying down, drip a few drops into each nostril, then aspirate.
Tips for Use: I only use this 3x per day (and only when I aspirate) because I don’t want her nasal passages to become irritated or swell. I’ll apply the drops and aspirate right before bedtime, at nighttime feedings, and in the morning, once she’s up for the day.
RELATED: Snot Sucker Kit
4. Digital Thermometer
We use a regular ‘ol digital thermometer, ours came in the American Red Cross Baby Kit.
What It Does: Reads baby’s body temperature (so you can determine if they have a fever).
How To Use: Although there are a couple of ways you can take baby’s temperature, I am most comfortable taking it from her armpit.
Press the button on the thermometer to turn it on, place it securely in baby’s armpit, and hold baby’s arm in place so the armpit maintains good contact with the thermometer.
When you hear the beep, remove the thermometer, and read the temperature displayed in the window.
Tips For Use: Make sure the thermometer makes good contact with baby’s armpit at all times, for the most accurate temperature reading. Or, use an ear, or forehead, thermometer.
5. Vicks Waterless Vaporizer (10+ pounds)
I chose this vaporizer instead of a humidifier because the air where we live is already plenty humid. Over-humidifying the air only serves to keep baby sick longer, because they’re breathing in air that has too much moisture (i.e. is too wet).
I also have a thermometer that displays relative humidity, in addition to the temperature, so it tells me if the air in the room where it’s housed is too dry, comfortable, or too wet.
What It Does: Helps relieve cough and congestion.
How To Use: Place a scent pad inside the vaporizer, and plug it into an electrical outlet. The scent pad heats up and releases menthol vapors into the air for baby to breath in.
Tips For Use: This can get overpowering in a small room, so leave the door open, and use in short bursts. The bright green light doesn’t shut off, so baby may wake up if she sees it, or may have trouble falling asleep.
Per the label, this product is not recommended for infants that weigh less than 10 pounds. Do not use more than 2 pads within a 24 hour period for babies weighing 10-22 lbs.
Another option: If you aren’t keen on the VapoPads that have menthol as an active ingredient, two more options are to use Vick’s Rosemary, Lavender, and Eucalyptus Pads, or a cool-mist humidifier if the air in your home is dry.
Cool-mist humidifiers are recommended over warm-mist humidifiers (also known as a vaporizer, but one that utilizes water) in homes that have pets and children, because it won’t burn baby or pets if they come in contact with it.
6. Boogie Wipes
What It Does: Helps dissolve snot and boogers, prevents skin irritation from frequent nose-wiping, and moisturizes baby’s skin.
How to Use: Just like Kleenex, wipe baby’s runny nose with these.
Tips for Use: Use as often as desired.
7. Infant’s Liquid Tylenol
I give Infants Liquid Tylenol to help with fever and general discomfort.
What It Does: Helps reduce fever and minor aches & pains related to flu, headache, the common cold, and teething.
How To Use: Consult your pediatrician for proper use and dosage.
BONUS: Steam Shower
What It Does: Loosens mucus and relieves nasal congestion.
How To Do: In a small bathroom, close the door, and run the shower on warm to hot for 5 minutes, allowing it to fill with steam.
Get your saline wipes and a drying towel, then take baby into the bathroom for a few minutes. I prefer to leave the shower running. Be sure to stay standing, since steam rises. You will get the best result that way.
Tips: When you’re finished, if baby is sweating, wipe them off before you leave the bathroom, especially if the air in the home is cool. You don’t want to take a wet baby into cool air.
Now You’re Ready For Baby’s First Cold
In a nutshell, Plum’s Sick Kit includes: chest rub, nasal aspirator, saline nose drops, digital thermometer, Vick’s Waterless Vaporizer, saline nose wipes, and Infant’s Liquid Tylenol.
It’s good to have these items on hand, so they’re ready to go when you need them.
Here’s wishing your baby a speedy recovery and lots of sweet rest.
All The Best,