‘Tis the season for runny noses and coughs. Mommies everywhere are going through packs of tissues, wiping up snot and reminding their little ones to cover their mouths. Seeing your baby sick is probably one of the hardest things about being a mom. It breaks your heart to see them unwell. You wish there was something more you could do to help them feel better.
Unfortunately, with a cold, there is not much you can do to help rid them of the germs. In most cases, it has to run its course. However, there are a few tools you can use to ease the blow of the symptoms and make them feel more comfortable. Here are some of the things we have found helpful when Harper is feeling under the weather. However, be sure to check with your health professional before you use any of these methods.
1. Humidifier: At the first sign of congestion, we always set up the humidifier. Increasing the air moisture can help to relieve a stuffy nose as well as other cold symptoms. We prefer to use the dual chamber humidifier because it holds more water, making it last longer, ensuring that it will run continually throughout the night. If you don’t have a humidifier, you can always take your baby into the bathroom, run the hot water from the shower and sit in the steam for about 15 minutes.
2. Aromatherapy Diffuser: Although this device is similar to a humidifier in that it emits water vapors, the option to add essential oils gives it an extra benefit. When Harper is sick, we like to add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to help sooth inflammation and ease mucous. And this device is not limited to sick babies. It can be used throughout the house with different types of essential oils to help improve the atmosphere of your space.
3. Saline: As simple as saline drops are (salt and water), they work wonders. Saline nasal spray helps to restore moisture to dry nasal passages and lessens the inflammation of mucous membranes. It also loosens up the boogies so that they are easier to catch with the snot sucker. If your baby is having trouble nursing with a runny nose, doing a saline wash and snot suck 15 minutes before a feeding will help your little one to breath easier so they can feed better.
4. Snot Sucker: There are many different kinds of nasal aspirators out there, but I promise you this one is the best. Yes, the idea of sucking out your little one’s boogies can seem a bit disgusting, but it is 100% hygienic due to its included filters, which means no boogies will be get sucked into your mouth. We use ours all the time, even when Harper is not sick. It is extremely effective at cleaning their little noses and making sure they are breathing clear and free.
5. Chest Rub: Finding a baby safe eucalyptus chest rub can prove to be a great tool when your little one isn’t feeling their best. When Harper is extremely congested we will rub a little on her chest and her back to help relax the throat and bronchial muscles. Eucalyptus has many different healing properties that work well to provide relief and comfort.
6. Rest: In order for their bodies to heal, it is important that babies get enough rest. However, congestion is always worse when you are lying down which makes it hard for your little one to get the sleep they need. Keeping your baby upright will help them to sleep better. Our nurse suggested having Harper sleep in the car seat since it would prop her up. But Harper was never a fan of her infant seat so this idea back fired on us. Instead, I slept with her in my arms, propped up in bed, with her lying on my chest. It made for a few sleepless nights for me, but Harper was able to get the rest she needed, which was important for her to get better.
7. Hydration: The number one thing you can do to help your baby feel better is to make sure they are hydrated. When Harper is not feeling well she pretty much wants to nurse non stop. And that is ok with me. Not only is breast milk hydrating, but it is filled with nutritional goodness that will help her body fight off the illness.
8. Call for Help: When Harper started showing signs of her first cold, I called the nurse at my doctor’s office right away. I wanted to review the symptoms with her to make sure that I didn’t need to bring her in. I still check in with them from time to time when I have questions, but I am starting to learn on my own which things are cause for concern and which things are just part of growing up and being a baby. If you ever have questions about your baby’s health and wellbeing I would strongly advise you to call your doctor’s office. They are there to help and hopefully their advice will put your mind at ease.
Runny noses and coughs are part of growing up. Baby’s immune systems are immature and therefore are more susceptible to bugs. But each time that they get a cold and recover from it, their immune system gets stronger. So as much as we want our babies to be healthy all the time, a little cold here and there won’t hurt them. In fact, in the long run, it can help them.