Natural cold remedies to help your baby recover without medication
Are you afraid that too much medication isn't good for your child? Read on to find out some natural ways to treat that nasty cold!
Babies and young children have a tendency to fall sick often. And the erratic weather in Singapore doesn’t make the situation any better. While it’s easy to reach for the medication stored in the cupboard, I’m sure you know that cold medicines sold over-the-counter, are not too good for children under the age of two. So here are some natural cold remediesthat you can try before rushing to make an appointment with the doctor!
Yes, it’s as simple as water! Natural cold remedies don’t always have to be fancy or complicated. Water helps to thin mucus and this can help your baby’s blocked or stuffy nose. Water also prevents dehydration. If your baby is still young and has yet to start on solids, offer them more breast or formula milk, both of which contain a lot of water. Juices and sodas aren’t of any help in this situation, so you can pass on that.
To check if your baby is getting enough fluids, check the frequency of wet diapers and the colour of the urine. If the urine is light in colour, then that’s a good sign.
2. Get rid of that nasty snot
I’m sure everyone knows just how uncomfortable it is to have a nose that is all stuffed up. Adults and older children have the liberty of blowing our noses to ease the discomfort but we must remember that babies don’t have the slightest idea how to go about doing that! So we have to help them.
One way that you can go about doing this is by using a bulb syringe. Squeeze the bulb and put about a quarter-to-a-half-inch of the syringe into one of your baby’s nostrils. Release the bulb to create the suction. When you’re done with that, take out the syringe and squeeze the bulb again to release the mucus.
Don’t forget to wash the syringe with soap and water when you’re done.
Other options include an electric version of this – a nasal aspirator. Or, you could take the old school approach of using your mouth to suck the mucus out. I know it sounds off putting but this is one of the natural cold remediesthat many Singaporean parents still swear by!
3. Saline Drops
In case you’re wondering, no, this isn’t quite medication. It’s more of a nasal rinse and it can help to ease your baby’s stuffy nose by loosening up the thick mucus that’s clogging her nose. You can easily purchase these at any pharmacy or if you want, you can go ahead and make your own.
Stir half a teaspoon of table salt into a cup of warm water and voila, there you have it!
Next, lay your baby on her back and use a dropper to put a few drops of the saline mixture into each nostril. Then wipe away the mucus or use a syringe (or your mouth) to suck it out. Simple isn’t it?
4. Chicken Soup for the Soul
This is one of the age-old cold remedies that has been tried and tested for generations. Firstly, across cultures and age groups, chicken soup has time and again proven to be comfort food. It just makes you feel better, somehow!
That aside, research shows that the nutrients in the chicken and vegetables used in the soup, ease the inflammation that causes the cold symptoms. Additionally, the warm soup, similar to water, helps to thin mucus and clear the congestion.
If your baby is just about starting solids, you can either puree the ingredients or just feed your baby the broth. It works either way!
5. Ginger, Honey, Lemon
This is yet another one of those natural cold remediesthat have stood the test of time. And it’s ubiquitously agreed that this concoction of ingredients is a sure-fire remedy for the cold! For some, honey on its own is the magic ingredient and studies show that sick children coughed less and slept better after just a teaspoon and a half of honey!
You can brew some ginger and lemon slices, along with honey, a little bit of cinnamon if you please. Added bonus – it actually tastes good!
But do exercise caution never to give honey to babies younger than the age of 1. It can be dangerous and lead to a serious illness called botulism in infants.
6. Healthy Food
Now of course, you should be offering your child healthy food all the time but it is especially important to fight off the cold. The right food is one of the best natural cold remedies! Your little ones need a lot of energy from their food to fight off the nasty cold and there are some nutrients that help to strengthen the immune system.
For babies who have started on solids, make sure their meals have protein, vegetables (don’t skip this one) and healthy fat. If you’re breastfeeding, just keep going for breast milk is always the panacea!
7. Smoke-free Zones
It’s common knowledge that passive smoke, or third hand smoke is bad for your child. But did you know that exacerbates the cold by irritating his throat and nose? Children who are inhaling second or third hand smoke have a difficult time recovering from colds. They are also more susceptible to bronchitis or pneumonia.
The dangers of third hand smoke are also commonly ignored. Please don’t smoke anywhere in your home, or around your children. Even if you leave the house to smoke, you still cary third hand smoke home on your hair, clothes and skin. So please take extra precaution!
8. Steam Room
Water is always good news! In this case, water in its gaseous form (steam) is also one of the natural cold remediesthat you can try. All that you need to do is to run a hot shower with your bathroom door closed and fill the bathroom up with steam. Then bring in your little one and sit in the steam for a good 10 to 15 minutes. Of course, you might need the help of some books or toys to keep them entertained.
Breathing in the warm, moist air will help to clear blockages. The best time to do this is right before bed so it helps your child to fall asleep easily.
9. Essential Oils
Essential oils are another way of beating the cold without medication. Some parents may hesitate to apply them directly on their little ones, so you can always dilute it first. Alternatively, you can use a diffuser. Some oils that help for colds are – Respiratory Control (RC), Peppermint, Thieves or Eucalyptus.
This is possibly one of the most underestimated natural cold remedies. I know it sounds impossible to get the little ones to rest for even when they are unwell, they are a ball of energy. But sleep is of paramount importance for a healthy immune system and it can help your baby to fight the cold. So try as much as you can, to get your precious little one to sleep as much as possible.
There you go mums! 10 simple and natural cold remediesthat you can try from home. But do remember that the common cold can lead on to more serious conditions. If your baby is less than three months of age, and is running a temperature above 38 degrees celcius, is fussing excessively or not drinking, call up your paediatrician immediately.
For slightly older children, look our for signs like pain in the ears, breathing difficulties, a cough that persists for more than a week or mucus that remains after two weeks. If they run a fever above 38 degrees celcius for more than 3 days, or have a temperature above 40 degrees celcius, seek medical attention immediately!
Source: Web MD