When your baby has the cold or flu, it seems the whole world has turned upside down.
We moms, start all the Googling…
What are flu symptoms in infants? How high of a fever is bad?! Can I use Vicks on a baby? What’s the best relief for baby’s cough, runny nose or fever? How do I help my baby sleep better with a cold?
The frantic typing continues…
After searching all the cold and flu symptoms for infants, the pediatrician’s appointment couldn’t come soon enough. Not to mention that your little one can only tell you what hurts by wailing at the top of their lungs.
Baby Cold and Flu Remedies
Wouldn’t it be just peachy if your baby could say, “By the way Mother, I am coming down with some sort of flu because I have chills and my throat hurts. Could you please give me a dose of Children’s Tylenol so I can sleep better?”
This cold season, we are on our seventh sickness. After an ER visit, many fevers and two doctor visits, I finally asked the pediatrician, “What am I doing wrong?”
She shrugged and responded, “Babies get sick. They can have anywhere from 12 to 20 colds in a year.”
So beyond being that crazy-eyed mom, obsessed with the hand sanitizer and clean wipes, I can take some basic home remedy measures. I’ve compiled a list of things that I have found make all the difference.
In addition, I’ve created what Amazon calls an “Idea List” to make things a little easier for busy moms who ain’t got time to read a whole blog post. Boy, can I relate. This list looks like a little Pinterest board of products and this one is called:
Baby Cold and Flu Remedies Amazon Idea List.
Step 1: Do you need to see your pediatrician now?
Before we get into the remedies, you need to know when it’s time to take your baby to see the doctor. Of course, always talk to your pediatrician first before making any decisions.
Fever: when to call the doctor
- Under 3 months: Any fever of 100.4° F or higher. If the doctor’s office is not open, go to the ER. Babies just don’t have the immune system yet to fully fight sickness.
- 3 – 6 months: 101° F +
- 6 months+: 103° F +
Vomiting or diarrhea: when to call the doctor
If your little one pukes once, a small amount then is usually of no concern. Here’s when to call:
- Your little one is under three months and that puke is a strange color (like bright yellow) call, or if it’s a large amount.
- Your baby is puking more than he or she is intaking
- Symptoms last more than a few hours
- Your baby shows signs of dehydration like crying without tears, sunken eyes and weakness
Cough and other breathing problems: when to call the doctor
- 3 months and younger: see the doctor right away. Again, their immune system isn’t quite fully developed yet
- Having trouble breathing, you hear a wheezing sound or he has a bluish tint to his mouth
- A stuffy nose that lasts more than ten days or a cough that lasts more than seven days
- Pulling or rubbing an ear or ears (may be a sign of ear infection)
Step 2: Make sure you do the basics
Keep baby hydrated
When we brought our little one into the ER for a very high temperature and cold/flu symptoms, the doctor told us that the number one priority was to keep her hydrated. In fact, later that year she would get sick again and need another ER visit due to dehydration.
For the life of me, I could not get her to eat or drink. On day two, when she was crying without tears, I knew it was time to take her to the doctor. The doctor sent us to the ER. I learned then the hard way that hydration was pivotal. Use Pedialyte (I like the small powdered packets, so you don’t have to throw away the gigantic bottle) and if your little one is a little older, you can also try Gatorade and/or juice because Pedialyte doesn’t taste all that nice.
Side note: it can be stupid tough to find a sippy cut that your baby actually likes. We tried a bajillion and landed on Munchkin Click Lock Weighted Flexi Straw Trainer Cup. Ours is neon pink and it’s Mae’s fav.
It seems like such a basic, silly thing but how often do you wash your hands or your little one’s? How often do other people touch your baby that have not washed their hands?
I’m not going to lie, it’s hard not to be rude at the grocery store when some stranger wants to pinch our baby’s checks and hold her little hand. I don’t know where their hands have been!
Another side note: You can also use one of those baby shopping cart cover thingies if your baby is sitting in the cart. I didn’t have one at first, and I really do believe they are life savors…well, cold savors. Haha.
Step 3: Use the best products that work to beat the cold and flu
Cool mist humidifier
Cool mist humidifiers are preferred over warm mist for a few different reasons. The first is due to safety: if your child gets too close, the steam may burn them. Warm mist also breeds bacteria and can heat up a baby’s room.
Buy a good cool mist humidifier for your nursery. I know from personal experience (when our baby had croup) that this thing made ALL the difference. I accidentally left it off one night and her cough was beyond terrible! We had to get her into a steamy bathroom ASAP (with the shower running) to allow her to pause her coughing fit and breathe!
Buy Children’s Tylenol not Infant’s. Infant’s Tylenol is a little more condensed and many parents accidentally overdose their baby with it. Make sure to ask your doctor for the correct dosage. We were given a chart that was very easy to follow.
Our Pediatrician told us to only use Tylenol with a fever or if our little one was feeling absolutely terrible with her sickness.
Nose Frida & Saline
Nose Fridas are the absolute BEST thing for a cold. Now, hear me out. I know sucking snot out sounds like the grossest thing ever invented and I used to 100% agree! I cringed even at the thought.
I told our Pediatrician, under no circumstances would I buy a Nose Frida. Four colds later and after more snot and grossness than most non-parents could ever imagine, I caved. The doctor looked me in the eye, crossed her arms and shot it to me straight, “Honey, I know it sounds gross but it’s the most sanitary way of removing the mucus from her nose and I would highly recommend you stop at the store on the way home. Today.”
Okay, fine. I did what she said and I’ve never looked back. It’s amazing to be able to clear out our baby’s nose so efficiently – less coughing, less runny nose and her sickness seems to go away so much quicker.
Step 4: Try the most effective home remedies for a stubborn virus
It sounded silly to me but after our baby sounded like she was breathing through a straw and was having such difficulty inhaling with her cough, I would try anything! I was astonished at how well it worked. She could breath again.
Our pediatrician recommended running the shower on hot, closing the door and sitting in the steam for twenty minutes. Miracle!
Honey (12 months +)
Honey has bacteria in it that is not recommended for children under a year. Though, if your little one is over a year, I highly recommend it before bed time. You would think toddlers would love the stuff (it’s pretty much like sugar syrup, right?) but Mae hated it. We were able to get it down by putting a half teaspoon dose into a syringe right before bed. Worked like a charm!
Eucalyptus oil (6 months +)
Eucalyptus oil is an all natural cold and cough remedy. You can add a few drops of Eucalyptus oil to a handkerchief and carefully have them inhale the smell. The best way would be to add it to an oil defuser.
I hope this helps and your little one get’s well soon!