Cold and flu season is upon us, and chances are your little one may come down with something. Studies have shown that over-the-counter cold medicines aren't effective in treating colds in small children, but there are things you can do at home to make your child more comfortable. Before we get started with the list, remember to always check with your child's doctor before starting treatment of any kind.
1. Get rest
Babies already get a lot of sleep, but they'll need more to fight off a virus. Let your baby sleep a lot, perhaps in your arms if it makes him or her more comfortable. Cuddle up together and read some books or sing songs to relax your baby.
2. Lots of fluids
As long as your baby is 6 months or older, they can handle extra fluids - including water, juice and breastmilk. Drinking lots of fluids helps break down mucus and prevents dehydration. They may need to nurse more frequently, if they're having difficulty breathing. Older babies can also handle chicken soup. The warm broth will help relieve congestion and other cold symptoms.
3. Create steam
A cool-mist vaporizor, humidifier and warm bath will help clear your baby's nasal passage and help them breathe easier. Turn on the vaporizor or humidifier and keep it running while your baby is sleeping or playing in her room. Be sure to clean it frequently to prevent the growth of harmful mold.
Turn on a hot shower for a few minutes to get the bathroom nice and steamy, and then have your child take a soothing, warm bath.
4. Use a bulb syringe
Bulb syringes are great for babies, who are too small to blow their noses. You can use the bulb syringe alone to unplug stuffed noses, or put a few drops of saline solution in each nostril first. You can find saline nose drops in the pharmacy, or can make your own by adding 1/2 a teaspoon of salt to 8 ounces of warm water.
5. Vapor rub
You may remember your mom rubbing vapor rub on your chest and back when you were a child. Vapor rubs specifically made for babies 3 months and older are now on the market to produce that same soothing sensation for your little one. You can even mix your own vapor rub by using essential oils and beeswax.
6. Lots of love
Your baby needs you always, but especially when they're feeling icky. If you can take off of work, do so. Try to offer lots of loving cuddles and comfort and your baby will be back to normal in no time!