Newborn’s cold – ‘home fixes’

Common cold makes feeding difficult for the newborns. We should abstain from any self medication.Most colds are self limiting and take 1-2 weeks to go.Luckily, there are some safe home remedies that can be of help in this tough time.

  • Saline drops  ease nasal congestion

  Nasal congestion causes  breathing difficulty. Saline drops moisturise the dried mucosa inside the nasal cavity. One drop of saline nasal drops (available as OTC) can be put into each nostril using a dropper. Loose mucous is then pulled out using a bulb syringe. It eases the breathing in babies with stuffy noses. One should clean the nose of babies before feeding and sleeping during cold.

  • Steam inhalation

Dry winter air irritates the lining inside the baby’s nose and throat. A Humidifier steams the air and keeps it hydrated. This keeps nasal passages moist and prevents thickening and sticking of mucous inside the airways. It helps to ease her chest and nasal congestion and get a good night’s sleep.Humidifier should be cleaned and its filters changed to avoid bacteria and mould development inside them. Dirty filters can lead to other infections.

  • Breastfeeding

Breast milk, being rich in antibodies, is like the baby’s first vaccine. It prevents diseases like ear infections, respiratory infections, allergies, stomach infections, meningitis, pneumonia, etc. Even if a baby gets the infection, it provides antibodies to fight against it. Baby’s immune system is immature and totally depends on it for immunity. It not only provides immunity against the infections, for which mother is immune but also against the infections that the child has not come in contact with so far.

  • Adequate breastfeeding during sickness 

During breastfeeding a sick baby, the mother is exposed to the germs and her immune system starts producing antibodies, which are passed to the baby through milk. So, mothers should always breastfeed the sick baby, as it is the best medicine for her.

  • Increase the frequency of feeds

Babies might not suckle sufficient amounts of milk at one time due to congestion. Mothers can express their milk and give it to the baby with a spoon or dropper if she is not able to breastfeed . It is important to keep the baby hydrated. Don’t give plain water before 6 months of age as the baby’s kidneys are immature and can’t handle it and an electrolyte imbalance may occur.

  • Increase the liquid intake

Warm liquids help in melting  phlegm and can be given to the sick baby as lack of sufficient fluids can cause the mucus to harden and worsen the chest congestion and nasal blockage. Babies below 6 months should be exclusively breastfeed or can be given formula feed if former is not a viable option. Babies of age more than 6 months can be given other fluids like warm water, warm fresh fruit juices, vegetable soups, pulse soup etc.

  • Essential Oils fumes 

Essential Oils like Eucalyptus, Ginger, Cedarwood, Clove and Thyme help in relieving congestion.Add one drop of oil along with water in the diffuser. Avoid spraying the oil on the bed or pillows or clothes of the baby. 

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