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What To Do When Baby Has a Cold or Cough


It's no fun when you have a sick baby with a cough or a cold. Babies can't tell you what's wrong with them, so it can be hard to understand whether you just have a baby with a cough or a cold or if it's something more serious. Trust your instincts when your baby has a cold and go to the doctor if it seems like something more serious.

What to Expect with a Sick Baby with a Cold

A baby with a cold or a cough isn't uncommon -- most babies catch a cold at some point in their first year. Colds and coughs are even more likely with children who have older brothers or sisters because these big kids commonly bring home germs and bugs from school and playgroups.

A stuffy nose can make it difficult for a baby to eat. She'll likely have to break suction in order to breathe and will probably get quite frustrated and cry. If your baby with a cold is having a hard time eating, consider asking your doctor for saline nose drops to help. However, you should probably prepare for a couple rough days -- and nights -- with a sick baby.

How to Help a Sick Baby with a Cold

A virus causes most colds, which means that antibiotics won't help. Unfortunately, this means that you need to wait for the cold to pass on its own. However, you can help treat the symptoms.

Depending on your baby's age, you may be able to give her acetaminophen, however, you should talk to your doctor about the specific dosing. Petroleum jelly can help keep the skin surrounding the nose from becoming raw and irritated, but make sure that it doesn't block her nasal passages.

Your baby probably has a cough at the same time. Mucus from her nose will run down her throat and cause irritation. To help, you can ask your doctor for nose drops, but if you don't think a trip to the doctor is in order, try to tickle your baby's nose. This tickling can make her sneeze, which can clear her nose.

Additionally, you can ask your doctor if a menthol rub or a menthol room plug in is right for your baby. Your doctor might want you to wait on using these, depending on your baby's age.

Sometimes a sick baby can get a diaper rash. If she does, change her often and use a diaper cream to help clear up the rash. Keep her warm and hold her close when she's sick because she'll be comforted by you.

If the cold lasts more than a couple days, call your doctor to see if you should be seen in the office.

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