No one wants their baby to be sick or suffering, but children will get colds and runny noses more often when they are younger. You should always follow the treatment instructions given by your child’s doctor and pediatric consultants, but there are a few things you can do to ease the suffering of a sick baby at home as well. Here are six ways you can help to soothe a sick baby:
1. Keep them hydrated
Staying hydrated will help to keep your little one on the road to recovery. It is very easy for even adults to get dehydrated when they are sick, and it’s even easier for children who are unable to help themselves. Staying hydrated also helps to thin mucus, which makes it easier to clear your baby’s nasal passages.
Babies under six months should still remain on either breastmilk or formula, but children over six months may enjoy some water, a clear juice, or some of an electrolyte-replenishing drink. It may be easier to give them a little bit to drink periodically than it is to give them a lot all at once.
2. Make sure they get enough rest
Rest is key to a fast recovery. However, congestion often feels worse while lying flat, making it more difficult to sleep. Finding a way to gently prop up your baby’s head while he/she is lying down is a great way to make it easier for him/her to fall asleep.
Even if your child is unable to sleep for very long, it is still a good idea to keep him/her out of super stimulating environments so they can still rest some. Gentle or quiet playtime with your baby is encouraged.
3. Help them breathe easier
Another way to help your baby breathe more easily is to use a cool mist vaporizer/humidifier. This can help to alleviate nighttime coughing and congestion. If you don’t have a humidifier or vaporizer and are unable to get one, then another great method is to sit with your baby in the bathroom while a warm shower runs. The shower will create a mist that will help them just as well as a humidifier.
4. Don’t be afraid to use a nose syringe
Unlike adults, babies are incapable of blowing their own noses, which means that you’ll have to help your child clear his/her nose of mucus. An easy way to do this is to use a drop or two of nose drops, like a baby-friendly saline solution, to loosen up mucus and then to use a syringe like the Nosefrida or a bulb syringe to get the mucus out of the nasal passage. There should be instructions on how to safely use these products on the packaging and online.
5. Give them a nice bath
If your child is running a fever, then running a lukewarm or tepid bath is an easy way to help get his/her body running at a normal temperature again. If he/she is not running a fever, a warm bath may help to ease aches and pains. This is also similar to the shower trick from earlier in that it will help to clear congestion. You should always make sure to dry your baby once taking them out of the bath, however, because leaving them wet or cold for an extended period of time could make his/her symptoms worse.
6 .Make time for lots of cuddles
Cuddling your baby is a great way to help them relax, as is talking or singing to them. Skin-to-skin contact is even better, so you might want to cozy up under a blanket together and settle in for a movie for this sick day!
As always, you should never give cough and cold medicine to children under four years, or ibuprofen to children under six months. Giving aspirin to a child recovering from flu- or chickenpox-like symptoms is never recommended as this has been shown to be linked to Reye’s Syndrome, a rare but potentially life-threatening disease. If your child’s symptoms last for a long time, it is always a good idea to take your sick baby back to see your pediatric consultant or doctor to make sure everything is okay.