Inside: Want to find out how to care for your sick baby with a cold? Read on to find out my best tips below!
There’s nothing worse than your baby waking up with an awful cough, puffy red eyes, and a bogey faucet.
The first time my daughter got sick, I was panicking and pacing up and down my hallway thinking — “OMG what do I do?”
The best part is, if you know how to care for your baby properly then you’re little one will be able to recover quickly!
While we can’t miraculously heal our baby, there are things we can do to alleviate their symptoms, calm them, and comfort them. Learning how to care for your sick baby can help baby feel better and also help you stress-less
How do you care for your sick baby? Our goal is to help combat their uncomfortable symptoms while always make them feel comforted and loved.
First things first…how do you even know your baby has a cold?
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and do not claim to be a doctor, physician or nurse in any way. All advice is based on my own experience and pediatrician references.
Does your baby have one or more of these symptoms?
- A cough
- Mucus/runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Wheezy when breaths (due to congestion in the nose not wheezing in the chest)
- Cries when lays flat
- Tired but refuses to lay down
(These symptoms are of just a regular cold while some may be signs of the flu or other serious illness. In this post we are going to review how to care for your baby with the common cold.)
How To Care For Your Sick Baby
Tips to Help Baby With A Common Cold:
1. Use baby saline nose spray.
Spray each nostril with the saline spray and let the mucus drain naturally. Refrain from using a nose syringe after the spray unless you feel it’s necessary. (I use NoseFrida Baby Saline Spray with all-natural sea salt and water formula.)
2. Incline the baby’s mattress.
Put a small pillow or folded towels under the baby’s mattress to slightly incline the head. Instead of raising the mattress alone, another pediatrician recommended I put a book under the legs of the crib where the baby’s head is so the whole crib is inclined on one side.
The mucus will drain out of the nostrils and not down the baby’s throat while sleeping. (I have read that some parents do not do this due to safety but my pediatrician recommended I do. While I appreciate other parents’ suggestions and cautions, it’s important to always listen to your pediatrician.)
3. Sit in a steamed bathroom for 20-30 minutes.
Strip baby down to a diaper and sit with your baby in a steamed bathroom for a minimum of 15 minutes and a maximum of 30 minutes. The steam will naturally decongest the baby’s chest and open the air passages for mucus to drain.
To do this, turn on your shower to the hottest setting, close the shower curtain/door and let the steam fill the room with the bathroom door closed. (BABY DOES NOT EVER TOUCH THE HOT WATER.)
This has personally been a miracle for me. The first day I notice Baby L showing signs of a cold I always sit with her in a steamed bathroom and do it every day until she is feeling 100% back to normal. On really sick days I even do it twice!
Read more about the awesome benefits and how to properly give your baby a steam bath here: “The Miracle of a Steam Bath for Baby”
4. Put baby vapor rub on the baby’s chest, back, and feet.
Do this when the baby wakes in the morning and before the baby goes to sleep. Use a pajama or onesie that you do not mind getting a bit dirty because sometimes the vapor rub can stain certain materials. Be sure to put socks on the baby after you apply the vapor rub on the feet. Remember to use baby vapor rub- not the regular vapor rub. (I use Vicks BabyRub Soothing Chest ointment.)
5. Give baby Zarbee’s mucus and cough medicine.
My pediatrician recommended I use this product (Zarbee’s Naturals Children’s Cough Syrup + Mucus) when Baby L was about 4 months old and got her first dreaded cold. The product is 100% natural and is made of agave.
The syrup can be given to babies as young as 2 months. It comes in a bottle form or little pre-measured packets and can be found in local pharmacies or big supermarkets.
(Update: my pediatrician was not in the office one day when I took Baby L to get checked and a pediatrician associate took the doctors place. The associate actually told me while Zarbee’s is safe it is also inefficient and may not even work at all…soooo I was a little stumped.)
6. Write down notes when baby is sick.
Jot down when you noticed symptoms, when you administered medicine, took steam baths, and when baby naps or does anything out of the ordinary. This can help you look back and see progress, be a reference when baby gets sick again, or help you remember symptom times and dates when you take baby to the doctor.
7. CLEAN EVERYTHING BABY TOUCHES!
I am not a crazy, obsessed, super clean person (even though my husband would say I am) but I am very particular when it comes to babies.
Take a mental note of things that baby is touching, playing with, sleeping on and clean, clean, clean! If baby is napping, clean the toys she played with. If baby is playing, change the blanket he slept with.
Making sure to isolate the germs will help baby get better faster and ensure the sickness does not linger and pass on to the next person.
Clean doorknobs, toilet handles, sink faucets and anything else you might touch after caring for baby too. Disinfect away!
8. Have Mommy take vitamin C and/or immune booster.
Yes, mommy needs to care for herself so you can continue to be healthy to take care of baby. Drink plenty of water and keep yourself hydrated.
9. Wash hands frequently
Making sure to clean everything baby touches is very important but sometimes we forget that we are constantly caring for your little one that we need to wash our hands more frequently than normal. I am guilty of not washing my hands as much as I should and those are the times I usually get sick too.
10. Check for signs of temperature and check baby’s temperature at least once a day.
You may be able to tell if your little one has a fever but sometimes temperature can creep up on you. Being proactive and checking baby’s temperature is just a precautionary measure to make sure you’re not blind-sighted if baby gets worse. ( I use the Baby Digital Thermometer for Infants, Babies, and Kids)
11. Take into account how baby has been acting before being sick.
Was baby going through a nap transition? Teething? Sleep training? If something else is bothering baby that is not cold-related, comfort and tend to baby accordingly.
12. Make sure baby is staying hydrated.
If baby is still on breast milk/formula, make sure baby is having all feedings. If baby is old enough to have water, give baby 2 ounces of water- maximum to be given throughout the day for babies 6 months-10 months. I know personally, Baby L loves her water when she is sick, just like I do!
13. Make sure baby is comfy!
Make sure baby is dressed warmly and not overheated. Put baby in favorite pj’s or something you know they love.
14. Love, hugs, and kisses go a long way!
Your little one will be out of sorts and in need of many kisses and lots of love. Cuddle your little one, let her sit on your lap, let him fall asleep on you even if they normally don’t.
15. You may have to throw away your schedule until baby is better
If your baby is on a schedule or you have a certain thing you don’t let baby do, such as fall asleep on you or take more than 2 naps a day. Do not worry about these couple of days ruining your schedule or think that all of the things you worked with your baby on up until this point will be lost.
Just like when adults are sick and they sleep in, that doesn’t mean when they go back to work they forget how to wake up. When baby feels better, they will usually fall right back into a schedule. Be patient with your little one and if baby needs some readjusting know that its normal!
16. And always, if anything seems out of the ordinary call your pediatrician!
If you see your baby getting worse or seeing more symptoms then you should call and ask your doctor how to care for your sick baby. Make sure to ask if they need to see your baby to correctly diagnose him.
Download the FREE Baby Illness Tracker!
The easiest way to keep track of your baby’s symptoms and medications/ homeopathic remedies is to actually write them down! To help you easily track your baby’s symptoms I created an awesome Baby Illness Tracker you can print and use every time your little one is sick!
It’s a great way to keep track of your baby’s sick days and you because you wrote all of the symptoms and medications down, you never have to second guess when your baby was feeling what symptom.
This comes in SUPER handy when you have to take your baby to the doctor and they ask you questions like “how long has your baby been sick?” and “when was the last time you have him/her medication or tended to the symptoms?”.
All you have to do is look at your handy Baby Sick Journal and you have all of the information right there!
The Baby Illness Tracker helps you:
- Track your baby’s last medication
- Write down the date and time of your baby’s symptoms
- See when your baby started to improve
- Has an area to write down how you cared for your baby (example: when you gave your baby a steam bath or used baby vapor rub, etc.!)
Download the FREE Baby Illness Journal Now!
There you go! Remember, your goal is to help alleviate symptoms, comfort them, and make them feel calm and comfortable.
After I had my mini freak-out when my daughter got sick for the first time, I wrote down all of these tips and the next time she got sick– I knew exactly what to do. AND she was able to recover in less than 5 days!
You got this mama…hope your baby gets well soon!!
Wait! Do you love free printables??
Become part of the Mastering Mom Life Insider tribe and get instant, exclusive access to my Mom Treasury filled with FREE printables + worksheets to make mom life easier!