Infant colds and flu are the worst, mainly because there really is nothing to treat them. Well, nothing that our babies’ systems know to process. Jasper caught his first cold at about 4 months old and it went on for so long. Mylo’s first cold on the other hand was at 2 weeks old, and let me tell you that even though he is my second little munchkin and I’ve had lots of practice in dealing with baby colds and flu – nothing prepared me for the soul destroying experience of seeing my little newborn bundle struggle. I have to admit that thinking about it is enough to reduce me to tears and to make me want no more kids. It truly is a traumatic experience to see your little newborn baby cough and cough and cough until he cannot breathe or until he chokes. Like I said, soul destroying!
Anyway, the reason I got to writing this post is because I have seen so many mummies at the end of their tether, well and truly exhausted and ready to sell their soul for anything that will just help their baby clear their airways, bring up the mucus that has them waking up choking or just soothe the cough that has just ripped their tiny little throats raw. Well, firstly lets just say that I am not a healthcare/ paediatric professional, I am just a mummy that has had enough of watching tiny little bundles suffer. Everything in this post has been used by both myself and Kayne to help our babies and also by our parents to help us and our siblings. Some remedies are from our Irish and Portuguese grandparents. I really just want to get these little things that really helped our family to your family so that maybe they might just give you a little hand in giving your baby that little boost they may need to fight their cold/ flu and really quick it’s butt right out of the house!
So, what is cold/ flu?
A cold/ flu is a viral infection that attacks your baby’s nose, mouth and throat. They can be spread via coughing and sneezing.
It’s important to note that flu and common colds are not the same thing. Although the symptoms are shared Flu is caused by a different group of viruses and the onslaught tends to be sudden, more severe and last longer.
What are the symptoms?
Typically the symptoms consist of;
- Runny Nose
- Nasal/ Sinus Congestion
- Red Eyes (in some cases conjunctivitis)
- Loss of Appetite
- Difficulty Sleeping
How often and when are colds/flu more likely?
- Babies between 0-12 months are likely to suffer from colds/ flu 7-12 times a year.
- Toddlers and children 12 months+ tend to catch colds/ flu 7-10 times a year.
- Adults on the other hand may fight a cold/ flu 2-4 times a year.
Typically colds and flu are more common in winter, however you can get them all year round especially if you suffer from allergies, asthma, etc… Even though they are unpleasant it is usual for babies to catch colds and flu.
These are all home remedies that from my research are all safe from birth (unless stated), however if your baby has any dietary requirements, allergies, any health problems that are specific to the respiratory system – ALWAYS consult your healthcare provider. When it comes to respiratory illnesses it’s best to never gamble, as consequences can be very serious, even dire. If your baby is otherwise healthy these may really help.
As well as these remedies remember to promote lots of rest. Sleep is the best healer as it boosts the immunity and healing process and if your baby has a particularly bad cough, it may help manage it by soothing the throat and healing it from the damage that the cough has done.
Always remember that PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN THE CURE! Here are my tips:
- Ask everyone to wash hands properly with soap and water. Make sure that this is done especially before handling and feeding the baby. Have sanitizing hand gel available, especially on the go.
- Make sure your home is a hygienic. The long and short of it is that bacteria exists, no matter how spotless your house is – however, the cleaner it is the less harmful bacteria there will be.
- Keep baby away from sick people. This won’t always be possible, especially with older siblings that are in school, however try and avoid sick people handling baby.
- Educate everyone in the house about using tissues and covering their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing,
- Sanitize toys. Any toys that aren’t mechanical or wood can be washed in the dishwasher… think mega blocks, lego, cars, dolls, figurines, teething toys especially! Wash cloth non mechanical toys in the washing machine. I use the Dettol laundry bacteria cleaner. Other toys that cannot be submerged in water use an anti-bac aerosol, like the Dettol disinfectant spray.
When to seek immediate medical care:
- If your baby gets wheezy
- If the cough gets aggravated and causes gagging, chocking and/or vomitting
- If nasal discharge becomes greenish-yellow and last more than 24hr
- If baby starts pulling at their ears
- If baby has fever (over 37.5C/ 99.5F)for more than 24hrs
- If baby has fever higher than 38c/ 101F (babies under 3 months) or above 39C/ 102F (babies over 3 months)
- If baby is lethargic (if floppy/ impossible to arouse call 999 immediately)
NEVER GIVE BABIES UNDER 12MONTHS HONEY AS IT CAN CONTAIN DANGEROUS BACTERIA THAT CAN CAUSE FATAL INFANT BOTULISM
I really hope this helps mamas with poorly babies. If you want to get in contact please do so, if you have any remedies of your own feel free to share in the comment below!
DISCLAIMER: I am not a healthcare professional, and in no way should any of my opinions on this page be taken as professional paediatric information or instruction on how to care for your child. The methods and information outlined on this page are simply based on my experience and research, you should always consult your local healthcare professional before administering anything to your child. I always advise looking at official websites for additional research such as the NHS cold and flu pages, and always consult your healthcare professional for advice.