A cold is a mild viral infection that’s very common. According to the NHS, adults have cold two to four times a year, and children, including newborns; have around seven to ten a year. And they usually last around two weeks.
That means your baby can have colds over a third of the year.
Since it’s a viral infection, a cold has no cure, but it is self-limiting and gets better on its own without treatment. So, although it is distressing to see your newborn suffer, there is really nothing you can do, apart from treating the symptoms and watching out for serious complications, like chest infection. Treating the symptoms will help ease your baby’s discomfort while his body is fighting the infection, but it will not prevent or reduce the duration of cold.
Treatments of symptoms
When your baby is over 3 months old, there are medicines you can give him to treat symptoms like fever, congestions and cough. Unfortunately, if your baby is less than 3 months, there’s very little you can give him. But that doesn’t mean you can’t help him. So, here we put together some suggestions to ease cold symptoms in newborns.
When your newborn has a cold, the lining of his nasal passages and sinuses is inflamed and they get stuffy nose or nasal congestion. And they’ll find it difficult to breathe through their nose. But don’t worry they will not come into harm. Babies will naturally breathe through their mouth. However, it will make it difficult for them to feed, as they can’t breathe properly while they have their mouth close. So, it will help your newborn if you can ease the congestion.
Steam is a very good temporary decongestant. So let your baby inhale steam before feeding to clear his nasal passages and allow him to feed comfortably. But it is not practical to let your baby breath steam from a bowl of water, as it is a possible accident waiting to happen. Instead, use your bathroom. Run your shower hot to steam the room and take your baby there for a while. It may help to put menthol oil in the room as well.
You can also put a humidifier in your baby’s room to help ease your baby’s breathing while he is asleep. If you don’t have a humidifier, wet a towel and put it in the radiator overnight.
Menthol amp; Eucalyptus oil
Don’t use the oil directly on your baby. Instead, put a drop or two on a muslin cloth and put it under his mattress. You may also try rubbing vapour rub on your chest before feeding, so your baby can smell it but not come in contact with it.
Saline nose drops can help clear mucus in babies. However, check with your pharmacist before using it. To use it, lay your baby on his back and put two to three drops in each nostril. Wait for 30 to a minute and turn your baby on his stomach to help his nose drain.
If your baby is baby is between 0 and 2 months, and registers a temperature above 38oC, you must contact your GP.
Paracetamol can be used to reduce your baby’s temperature if he is over two months old. In the meantime, you can help take the edge of the fever by giving your baby a sponge bath with lukewarm water. Don’t use cold water as it cause a temperature spike.
Additionally, you can also help reduce your baby’s temperature by removing layers of clothing to allow his body to lose heat easily.
Offer your baby plenty of fluid. This won’t only reduce his temperature but will also keep him hydrated.