Taking care of a sick infant is never easy. They cannot tell you exactly what is wrong or what you can do to make them feel better. An infant with a cold and cough needs a lot of extra care and attention. Children’s cold medications are no longer recommended for children under 2 years old, unless specifically recommended by your family’s pediatrician. Fortunately, there are other easy ways to relieve the symptoms of a cold and cough that are safe for infants.
Soothing the Cough
Coughing is usually the most upsetting symptom for an infant, and his parents. Soothe the cough by offering plenty of liquids. If your child is under 6 months old, these should be offered as breast milk or formula. Older infants can have juice or water. Freeze pops can also help older children suffering from a sore throat caused by constant coughing.
Dealing With Congestion
One of the best ways to handle congestion in an infant suffering from a cough and cold is to run a vaporizer or humidifier nearby. The extra moisture in the air helps soothe nasal passages and loosen mucus. A few drops of saline solution can be put into the nose to help release nasal and sinus congestion and then suctioned out with a bulb syringe. A bulb syringe also can be useful for removing draining mucus from the nose, helping the infant breathe easier.
When an infant is congested because of a cold, it is hard for him to breathe while nursing or drinking from a bottle. Plan on offering formula or breast milk often, usually in short bursts, until the congestion has cleared up. Congestion also makes it difficult to sleep lying flat. It may be necessary to hold a sleeping infant at an angle. Just remember to never place pillows or other soft objects in the bed with your infant.
A sick infant needs extra attention and soothing. Spend extra time cuddling your young child. To keep other children from getting sick, many daycare centers will not allow you to drop off a sick child, so you may need to take a day or two off work or make alternate arrangements.
An infant with a cold may have a fever as well. Treat the fever with a pediatrician-recommended pain reliever. Dress him in cool clothes, and cover him in a light blanket to help to keep the fever down. If your child is less than 3 months old with a fever over 100.4 degrees, contact your pediatrician. If he’s between 3 and 6 months, contact your pediatrician if the fever reaches 101 degrees. If your child is over 6 months old, call the pediatrician if the fever reaches 103 degrees or higher.