When your newborn has a cold and runny nose, it’s essential to be cautious about using home remedies, especially for very young infants. A cold and runny nose in a newborn can be concerning for parents, but it’s not uncommon for infants to experience mild respiratory symptoms, especially in the first few months of life. Here are some things to keep in mind if your newborn has a cold and runny nose:
Causes: Newborns can catch colds or viral infections just like anyone else. Common cold viruses, such as rhinovirus, can cause symptoms like a runny nose, congestion, sneezing, and sometimes a mild fever.
Breastfeeding: If you’re breastfeeding, continue to do so. Breast milk contains antibodies that can help your baby fight off infections and can provide comfort to your baby.
Nasal congestion: Newborns breathe primarily through their noses, and when they have a stuffy nose, it can make feeding and sleeping difficult. You can use a saline nasal spray or drops to help clear their nasal passages. Consult with your pediatrician before using any over-the-counter cold remedies for infants.
Humidifier: Using a cool-mist humidifier in your baby’s room can help keep the air moist, which may ease congestion and make breathing more comfortable.
Suction bulb: A nasal bulb syringe can be used to gently remove mucus from your baby’s nose. Be sure to use it gently and not too frequently to avoid irritating their delicate nasal passages.
Monitor for other symptoms: While a common cold usually causes mild symptoms, keep an eye on your baby for any signs of severe illness, such as high fever, difficulty breathing, poor feeding, or lethargy. If you notice any concerning symptoms, contact your pediatrician right away.
Hand hygiene: To prevent the spread of germs, make sure to wash your hands frequently, and avoid close contact with your baby if you’re also feeling unwell.
Here are some gentle home care tips that may provide relief for your baby with your doctor’s approval:
Saline Nasal Drops: Saline nasal drops or saline spray can help loosen mucus and ease congestion in your baby’s nose. Use a few drops in each nostril and then gently suction the mucus with a nasal bulb syringe if necessary. Be sure to follow your doctor’s recommendations for how often to use saline drops.
Humidifier: Using a cool-mist humidifier in your baby’s room can help keep the air moist, which may make breathing more comfortable and reduce nasal congestion. Be sure to clean and maintain the humidifier regularly to prevent mold or bacteria buildup.
Elevate the Head: Elevating your baby’s head slightly while they sleep can help with drainage and breathing. You can do this by placing a rolled-up towel under the crib mattress or using a specially designed wedge pillow. Ensure that the baby’s sleep environment remains safe and that they are always placed on their back to sleep.
Steam Bath: A gentle and indirect way to help relieve congestion is to create a steamy atmosphere in the bathroom. Run a hot shower and sit in the steamy bathroom with your baby for a short time. The warm, humid air can help clear nasal passages.
Hydration: Ensure that your baby stays well-hydrated. If you’re breastfeeding, continue to do so. Breast milk provides essential nutrients and antibodies. If you’re formula feeding, offer formula at regular intervals. Dehydration can make symptoms worse.
Comfort Measures: Offer comfort by providing cuddles, gentle rocking, and soothing activities. Skin-to-skin contact with your baby can be comforting and help regulate their body temperature.
Avoid Irritants: Keep your baby away from irritants such as tobacco smoke and strong odors that can worsen nasal congestion.
Monitor for Signs of Worsening: Keep a close eye on your baby’s symptoms. If you notice signs of severe illness, such as high fever, difficulty breathing, poor feeding, or lethargy, contact your pediatrician immediately.
Remember that very young infants may not be able to blow their noses or clear mucus as effectively as older children or adults, so they may need extra care and support when dealing with a cold. Always consult with your pediatrician before using any home remedies, and follow their recommendations for your baby’s specific situation.