Cold and flu season has officially arrived, and being home with a sick baby is no fun for anyone. But luckily, there are some great remedies to help soothe little colds that are both mommy recommended & pediatrician approved!
Our Favorite Things: “Baby’s Got A Cold” Edition
by Ashley Rudnick & Chad Rudnick, M.D., F.A.A.P.
The NoseFrida “Snot Sucker”
Mommy’s Comments: If you don’t have this, you’re likely really grossed out right now. Snot sucker? Yep. You read that correctly. But fear not, it is not as gross as it sounds/looks. When Aria got her first cold at 8 months old, I felt terrible. This was the only product that could provide her some relief so she (and we) could sleep better at night! The blue tip goes inside each nostril, and you use the red mouthpiece to suction out all the yucky-ness. FEAR NOT: the snot does not go into your mouth! I REPEAT: THE SNOT DOES NOT GO INTO YOUR MOUTH! There is a filter that prevents this from happening, and you just have to wash the blue tube with soap and water after each use. I’ve heard there are other suction products out there, but this one is definitely very easy to use and gives quick relief. It’s definitely my favorite product for a little stuffy nose. A must-have to keep in the medicine cabinet for cold/flu season!
Dr. Rudnick’s Comments: Stuffy noses and common cold symptoms in babies and young children are the most common reasons for visits and phone calls to the pediatrician. Since babies and young children cannot blow their noses, we must do it for them. That little blue bulb that you got from the hospital is not very effective. It is actually difficult to use properly and can cause more inflammation in the nasal passage if inserted too far. Because babies are nose breathers, they have a much more difficult time having a stuffy nose and often won’t eat or sleep well unless you can remove the mucus.
The Magical Sound & Projection Light Miracle (A.K.A. “The Fussy Light”)
Mommy’s Comments: Although we have used this sound machine every night since Aria was born (she prefers the rain setting in case you were wondering), it can be extra tricky to get her to fall asleep when she’s sick, so we really have to pull out all the stops. We lovingly call the projection feature “the fussy light.” With a push of a button, she is mesmerized by the projection on her nursery ceiling. It’s like Disney World in a little white machine. Within seconds of starting “operation fussy light,” she goes from cranky to quiet and drifts off into dreamland! Two mommy thumbs up!
Dr. Rudnick’s Comments: Sound machines are a great tool in your bedtime and naptime routine. Infants, toddlers, and many adults are relaxed by soothing sounds (i.e. similar to white noise). Keep the noise level to about that of a shower and avoid placing the sound machine in the crib or anywhere within reach so there is no issue with wires or cords being pulled.
The light projection function also helps to distract a fussy child and can help them to relax before sleep. Some projections even have sheep moving so they literally can count sheep as they fall asleep.
Warm Baths & Steam
Mommy’s Comments: Is there anything more soothing when you’re congested than a warm bath or the relief when you breathe in steam? When Aria is stuffy and cranky, a warm bath always helps her to A.) Forget just how cranky she actually is and B.) Relieve her stuffy nose so she can breathe! A win-win!
Dr. Rudnick’s Comments: A warm bath not only helps to break up some nasal congestion allowing you to use the Nose Frida with more success, but also can help soothe achy muscles, and has been shown in studies to help colicky babies fall asleep sooner. After a bath, try to keep the stimulation low: soft lighting, sound machine, bedtime story, and a feeding if they are due. Read tips on bathing your newborn.
Mommy’s Comments: This particular product may be more on the germ prevention side than an actual remedy, but we do keep one in our daughter’s room at all times. It helps to collect any dust or pollution in the air for a healthier, cleaner environment in her nursery. It contains a filter that needs to be regularly changed, and although I can’t measure its success rate, I feel better knowing that she’s sleeping in healthier space.
Dr. Rudnick’s Comments: This actually serves a few functions. Aside from the HEPA air purification and removal of allergens and other odors from the room, the quiet sound of the fan running is another type of white noise to help keep your baby sleeping. For children with seasonal or any environmental allergy, a HEPA type filter should be a staple in your household. Systems can be house wide or can be portable for use just in certain rooms. I recommend it to all families who have a child with allergies.
Read more about tips to treat and prevent seasonal allergy symptoms.
Patience & Flexibility
Mommy’s Comments: While I know these aren’t tangible things, it took me a little while to understand that just because my baby gets sick, doesn’t mean she will never sleep, eat, or be happy again. Just when I think we are in perfect sync with naps, bedtime, and good eating, a cold comes on and pretty much ruins everything. When she’s sick, I sort of let our routine fly out the window and just follow her cues. If she misses a nap because she can’t get comfortable or breathe as easy, I just give her some extra snuggles and go with the flow. We all like to be waited on when we’re sick, and when she starts feeling better, we jump right back into her regular routine!
Dr. Rudnick’s Comments: The good news is that your child will get better from a common cold. The bad news is that there is no cure, and it may take a few days or even weeks to be back to 100%. The most important thing to monitor is your baby staying well hydrated. Always consult with your pediatrician if you are concerned about your child’s health and prior to starting any new medication, even if it’s over-the-counter.
Any baby younger than 3 months old who has a fever must be evaluated immediately by a physician. Children who cannot tolerate liquids, or are breathing rapidly, or appear concerning to a parent in any way should be evaluated by a physician.