Treating Your Infant’s Cold

Treatment options for your infant’s cold symptoms.

It can be incredibly stressful to watch your infant battling a cold. When cold and flu season hits, it is hard to keep your infant quarantined from yourself and others. New moms often struggle with how to handle a cold in an infant. Medication is not always the best solution.

How you handle a cold in your infant depends on the infant’s age. An infant, who is under three months of age, should never have any form of decongestant. Their tiny bodies simply are not prepared to handle the medication. The best thing to do is see your pediatrician, especially if the infant is running a fever, is having problems breathing, seems too drowsy, or refuses to eat.

The key concern with an infant who has a cold involves keeping the air moist so that the mucus remains loose and runny. You do not want the mucus to dry and stick inside the nasal passage and lungs. Extra fluids and high humidity levels will help with this. You want the mucus to drain to consider letting the infant sleep in his or her car seat or sleep on top of you in a recliner as often as possible. I used to place a pillow under the crib mattress so that the mattress was slightly angled to ensure the mucus drained from the sinuses during the night. Make sure the angle is only slight so that the infant doesn’t slide or roll to the bottom of the slope.

Be sure to place a vaporizer in the infant’s room to make sure the humidity levels are high enough to keep the nasal passages moist. Dry, crusted mucus can add to the dangerous breathing problems that can occur in an infant battling a severe cold. Give the infant warm baths to help drain the sinuses. Keep the baby warmly dressed to prevent chills, especially if a fever is involved. If you are nursing, which is great because you will pass your own immunities through your breast milk, allow the baby to nurse frequently.

Many moms will actually sleep with the baby in her arms in a recliner to keep the baby from laying flat which allows congestion to build up in the head and chest. It also allows for more frequent nursing while mom still gets much needed rest. Allow the infant to sleep as much as desired because sleep can speed up the body’s healing process.

An infant who is more than three months old can handle Vick’s Baby Rub and decongestants designed for infants. This will help the mucus to drain properly, but at the same time remember that one of the side effects to decongestants is that it dries the sinus passages. It is still best to avoid medication. Still allow extra sleep and additional nursings. Increased fluids are also important in keeping the mucus from clogging nasal passages.

Most colds will have passed within four or five days. It can seem highly stressful to both you and your baby during this time, but the good news is that the cold helps the infant’s immune system to strengthen and prevent future colds.

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  1. Make sure that what your physician recommends lines up with AAP’s safe sleeping guidelines – make sure that the sleeping surface does not have anything soft near the infant’s head. Do not use a pillow, blankets or other soft thing to prop the infant up for drainage as it may cause suffocation.

  2. what if your baby had a cold for a month now

  3. A month? You should take your baby to see their Pediatrician.

  4. My baby had the dreaded RSV confirmed earlier this month and has had his cold for a month. We are still fighting to get 2 hours of straight sleep overnight. We have tried everything on this list and the only thing that has worked was his sleeping on me, but of course I worry about him getting use to that and not wanting his bed since it’s been so long.

  5. this is very informative. thanks

  6. nice info very useful…. keep it up

  7. can you give you baby Ice when he/she has a cold?

  8. if the child is 3 1/2 mon is it ok to use vicks vapor rub(for infants)?

  9. Rub some vicks on their clothes (more on the sleeve area). Place a few drops of Olbas Decongestant Drops on a tissue and place near the baby. Add Johnsons Menthol Bath and alcohol to their bath water and wipe them up. Do not wash their hair.

    Use vaseline on their nose if sore.

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