Latest posts by Jennifer Boykin (see all)
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It can be quite scary when your precious little baby gets their first, second, and third colds. Their tiny nostrils plugged with mucous and the harshest, saddest cough that leads to puking up a mouthful of breastmilk. As terrifying as it may seem, it’s all part of building up immunity to the world as we know it. And when you consider the “more than 200 different viruses that cause the common cold and that your child is developing their immunity to each one-at-a-time, it starts to make sense why most little ones average between 6 and 10 colds per year”, according to Babycenter.com.
I am in NO WAY here to give you any medical advice, or to deter you from seeking help from a physician. Please trust your intuition, listen to your baby, and obtain medical advice if needed.
With that being said, my little sweetness came down with her first cold (with flu-like symptoms) at 7 months and I needed a refresher in DIY cold care. It’s heartbreaking when all you want to do is bring them relief, but there isn’t much you can safely give them in terms of conventional medicine. You take comfort in knowing that breastmilk is packed full of antibodies and vitamins that will go to work to protect your baby from nasty infections. Wanting to take their pain away, we desperately spend day and night yearning to comfort them with extra nursing, snuggles, songs, kisses, love, and anything else that seems to help.
Over the counter cold meds and most antibiotics are not recommended for, otherwise healthy, infants and can be especially dangerous when abused. According to TodaysParent.com, “The Journal of Forensic Science, reported 16 deaths of infants over a period of six years linked to cold medications. And a 2005 study from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found more than 1,500 infants and toddlers were seen in hospital emergency rooms during the previous year due to adverse effects from these medications, mainly pseudoephedrine in nasal decongestants.”
After a few Google recipe searches, skimming Natural Mommy Forums, and checking Baby Sites I find some pretty brilliant ideas for DIY infant cold care that I wanted to give a try (these work just as well for adults btw). I thought, since these treatments are basically risk free AND stuff that I already had lying around the house, there’s no harm in giving them a shot:
1. INCREASE HUMIDITY: According to babycenter.com, “Your baby may get sick more often during the winter because cold air and indoor heating dry out his/her nasal membranes, making it easier for a cold virus to get a foothold there. We also spend more time during cold weather cooped up indoors, where viruses can spread more easily from one person to another.” Especially living in Alaska, we know ALL about that. And since my baby WAS congested, I kept the humidifier turned ON and UP. Put them in multiple rooms of the house if you can or need to. If you don’t have a humidifier, you can just as easily boil a tea kettle or pot of water and let it steam for a little while or turn your bathroom into a steam room with the hot shower. (img via humidifierforbabyreviews.com)
2. ESSENTIAL OILS: Although most essential oils are not recommended for young infants’ bodies, you can safely mist them into the air. Just a few that are fabulous for decongesting stuffy noses are Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Thyme, Basil, Chamomile, and Tea Tree. If you don’t have an oil diffuser, you can just as easily put a few drops into a boiling tea kettle on the stove, or you can put a few drops onto a cloth and lay it over the steam of your humidifier. You can also put a few drops in the shower while you run hot water, filling the air with steam. Essential oils are so concentrated that, often, just opening the lid and letting your baby smell it from time to time will be enough. (img via pixabay)
3. NOSEFRIDA: I’ve found that the traditional baby nose sucker, with the bulb on it, is basically worthless AF for sucking out snot. While doing an internet search for one that works, I discovered reviews about Nosefrida. This is a great option for removing your baby’s mucous as long as you don’t gag while sucking snot through the tube, and it says it’s hygienic, although I’m not sure how easy it is to clean. I’ve seen these at Target $15, and they are also available on Amazon. (via maineclothdiaper.com)4. SALINE RINSE: Before you go throwing away that worthless nose sucker, you may want to try using it to prepare a nasal rinse for your baby. You can use 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized salt (or Neti Pot salt), in 1 cup of warm distilled water, in the bulb syringe. Squirt the water/salt mixture through one nostril and out the other while baby is in a sitting or inclined position. If your baby isn’t used to this it will probably be uncomfortable at first. (img via babble.com)
(demo via YouTube.com by Cyndi Armstrong)
5. DIY COLD RUB: If you want to make a baby foot rub that has all the healing power of Vicks without all of the yucky toxins like petroleum (crude oil), turpentine, and PEG-100 Stearate. You can use a recipe like this one I found on mommypotamus.com or you can keep it simpler and mix coconut oil with a few drops of essential oils like Rosemary, Eucalyptus, and Peppermint. Coconut oil alone contains lauric acid, which has microbial properties that protect the immune system. You can rub it on the soles of their feet and massage under their four smaller toes. Make sure that you are using a high-quality essential oil, read warning labels, and ask your physician. Young infants can be extremely sensitive to essential oils, even when highly diluted. (img via mommypotamus.com)
6. ONION TRICK: I love this hack because it couldn’t be simpler! I’ve been hearing about this old wives tale from friends for a while so I thought, no harm no foul right? Except for the BO smell left behind by the old, wilted, onions I distributed all over the house haha. All you do is peel and cut a white onion down the middle, then cut each in half again so that the rings are exposed and viola’, lay them around the house, ring side up. You can also put them into your baby’s socks or footed jammies when they take a nap. I even stuck a piece in front of the humidifier for good measure. Legend says that the onion absorbs the bacteria in the air from the cold/virus. While there’s no scientific explanation to back that up, people swear by this onion hack. Ayurvedic Medicine has been using the pulp of onions to rub on feet and chest for colds for centuries. White onions are antioxidant, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, and high in sulfur (detox element) when ingested. (img via food-hacks.wonderhowto.com)
If you’re wondering which of these methods helps the most (depending on baby’s symptoms) it’s hard for me to say because I tried just about all of these at the same time while my LO was ill. There’s so many other ideas out there that aren’t mentioned here.
If you have any suggestions or tips for baby cold care please share them in our comment box below. And if you enjoyed reading this please LIKE and SHARE on Facebook or other networking sites by clicking on the BUTTON below!