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As a parent, you always want to make sure your child is feeling well—physically and psychologically. You’ll do almost anything to ensure their well-being.
So when you see your baby suffering from the symptoms of a cold or flu, it’s only natural that your overwhelming urge is to help them feel better as quickly as possible.
But when most cold and flu medicines are too strong for babies, it’s time for you to provide a safe, all-natural alternative.
Let’s look at some cold and flu home remedies that will have your baby feeling happy and healthy in no time.
Natural Cold and Flu Remedies For Babies
If your baby is under the weather due to a cold or flu, here are the best natural remedies to ease their symptoms and help them recover faster.
Keep Them Hydrated
Ensuring that your baby is well-hydrated is always important, but even more so when they’re sick.
- Sick, fussy babies might not feel like eating or drinking much, so it’s up to you to monitor their liquid intake.
- Some of the most common cold symptoms can cause your baby to lose more water than usual: runny nose, post-nasal drip, watery eyes, and sweating caused by fever.
Liquids also help thin out mucus, which in turn helps your baby’s sinuses drain better.
If your baby has trouble breastfeeding or drinking from a bottle because their nose is stuffy, you can use saline drops or a bulb syringe to clear their nasal passages and make drinking easier.
If your baby is refusing to eat or drink while they’re sick, talk to your pediatrician about giving them an electrolyte solution to make sure they’re getting enough nutrition and hydration.
Use a Bulb Syringe
If you have a baby, chances are you also have a bulb syringe, and now is the perfect time to use it.
It may seem counterintuitive to put something inside your baby’s already-stuffy nose, but a bulb syringe is one of the best ways to help clear their nasal passage so they can breathe better.
Simply squeeze the bulb to let the air out and create a vacuum, gently insert the tip of the bulb syringe into one nostril, release the bulb, and the mucus will be suctioned out.
After you remove the bulb syringe, squeeze it into a tissue to release the mucus and wash it thoroughly with soap and water.
Apply Saline Drops
Your body is constantly creating mucus, and chances are you don’t even notice it.
However, a cold or flu can trigger the production of excess mucus that’s thicker than usual, and if your baby’s nasal passages are filled with this thick mucus, it could cause difficulty breathing and take longer to expel.
Saline drops can thin out and loosen mucus, making it easier to drain, and they’re one of the best baby cold remedies, especially when used in tandem with the bulb syringe.
To use, simply use the dropper to release 2–3 saline drops into each of your baby’s nostrils. Then wipe away any dripping mucus, or use the bulb syringe to suction it out.
Your baby’s pediatrician or a pharmacist can recommend an over-the-counter saline solution that’s suitable for babies.
Turn Your Bathroom Into a Steam Room
Another one of our favorite natural cold remedies for babies is steam.
The warm, moist air helps open up your baby’s mucous membrane and breaks up congestion, making it easier for your baby to breathe.
To create a steam room in your bathroom, run a hot shower to allow the room to fill your bathroom with steam. Place a rolled-up towel at the base of the door, to keep the steamy air trapped inside.
Then just sit with your baby for 10-15 minutes while the steam takes effect.
This is a great cold and flu remedy before feeding, as it clears their nostrils so they can breastfeed or bottle feed more easily, or before bed, as it makes breathing comfortable so your baby can relax and drift off.
Run a Humidifier
A humidifier is one of the best home remedies for colds and coughs for babies.
The humidity they produce moisturizes your baby’s throat and nasal passages, smoothing the way for air to pass through. This helps them breathe more easily and sleep better—and sleep is another natural cold remedy for babies!
Humidifiers also help break up mucus, making it easier to cough up. This might be alarming at first, because your baby’s cough will suddenly be more productive.
But that “wet” cough is actually a positive sign. It means your baby is releasing excess phlegm, which speeds up their recovery.
Here are a few things to keep in mind if you use a humidifier:
- First, always use a cool mist humidifier around babies and children. Warm mist humidifiers get hot enough to burn your baby if they get too close.
- Use distilled water in your humidifier, to avoid the minerals or possible contaminants that may be found in tap water.
- Place the humidifier a few feet from your baby’s crib. This avoids accidental spills and also prevents the mist from saturating your baby’s clothing, blanket, and mattress.
- Set the humidity level to 30–50%. Too much moisture leaves surfaces damp and can contribute to the growth of mold and mildew.
- Clean your humidifier regularly and change out the water daily, to avoid bacterial growth.
Provide Soft, Healthy Foods
Even if your baby has started eating solid foods, they may refuse to eat when they have a cold or flu. Their sore, scratchy throats might make swallowing difficult, or they might have inflamed eardrums that hurt more when they swallow, making soft foods more palatable.
But nutrition is a key component of healing, so keep offering them healthy, nutritious food—even if they only take a few bites.
So what should you feed your baby?
Believe it or not, grandma’s favorite remedy is still an excellent choice: chicken soup. Amino acids in the chicken loosen mucus, making it easier to clear out through coughing, sneezing, or the use of a bulb syringe. Other ingredients provide nutrients such as protein and carbohydrates, plus much-needed electrolytes.
If your baby isn’t quite ready for a hearty soup, you can offer them broth. Add a healthy dose of vegetables, to make sure your baby has plenty of vitamins and minerals.
Give Them Enough Sleep
Does your baby have less energy when they’re sick? Are they sleeping more than usual? As long as they don’t seem lethargic or listless, that’s a good thing!
Sleep is one of the most important natural cold remedies for babies. Their little bodies use a lot of energy when they’re healing, and good, quality sleep gives them that energy.
To help them sleep, try to stick to their preferred bedtime routine and sleep schedule, including naps. Keep their room cool and dark, to promote deep, restful sleep.
If your baby is having trouble getting comfortable enough to sleep due to their cold or flu symptoms, a warm bath can help them relax. And of course, extra lullabies or cuddles can work wonders!
Preventing Colds and Flu in Babies
Of course, prevention is always the best cure.
For expectant or pregnant mothers, you can pass along a strong, healthy immune system to your baby by fostering healthy habits and taking the right supplements for extra immune support.
Interestingly, over 80% of your immune system is housed in your gut. So your immune health is greatly impacted by your gut health.
Probiotics support the growth of the beneficial bacteria that already live in your gut, balancing your gut microbiome and promoting your digestive, immune, and overall health.
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, this is one of the first and most important ways in which you can support your baby’s immune response.
Our favorite probiotic, Just Thrive Probiotic & Antioxidant, is safe to take during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, and includes four strains of beneficial bacteria to provide optimal immune support.
And because it contains only clinically-proven, spore-based strains, the probiotics are guaranteed to “arrive alive” in your gut, 100% of the time, ready to get to work… for the health of both mom and baby.
You can also help your baby steer clear of colds and flu with supplements specially formulated to promote immune health.
Your body, and your baby’s, use antibodies known as immunoglobulins as the first response to infections and illnesses. The strongest of these is Immunoglobulin G (IgG)—the only one that can be passed from a pregnant mother to her unborn child through the placenta.
Although your body produces immunoglobulins on its own, production can slow down during times of stress or illness.
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, we recommend Ultimate IgG. It contains three powerful immunoglobulins, including IgG, to encourage a smart, balanced immune response.
Your body will share its immunoglobulins with your baby in utero or through breast milk, supporting your baby’s IgG levels, and in turn, their overall immune health.
And despite its potency, this supplement is gentle enough to give to babies six months of age and older—although we always encourage you to check with your pediatrician first.
Colds and flu are common in everyone, including babies.
But that doesn’t mean you have to watch your baby suffer!
These natural home remedies can relieve your baby’s symptoms and help them feel better sooner.
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