It’s cold and flu season, which can be worrisome if you have an infant in the house.
The best way to treat your infant’s cold, cough or flu is to try to prevent it in the first place. That doesn’t mean you have to hibernate for the next six months, but there are a few things you can do to cut back on the spread of germs. First, wash YOUR hands frequently, since you are the one touching baby the most. Make sure other members of the household do, as well. Teach other children, and anyone who comes in contact with baby, to only touch him on the feet. Keep hands off of baby’s hands and face, where germs can be easily transferred. Keep baby away from anyone who is sick, and don’t feel badly about saying “no” if someone wants to hold him or touch him who has the sniffles or a cough themselves.
If your infant does get sick, make sure you have a bulb syringe on hand for easy nasal aspiration. It’s hard to breathe when your nose is clogged, and baby is the same way. Suck extra mucus from his nose, if necessary. A small dose of saline nasal spray can help loosen mucus as well.
Baby might need to sleep upright to help with the congestion of a cough or cold. You can purchase a firm foam wedge, which fits under their crib sheet, to help keep your baby elevated. It’s also fine to let them sleep in an infant chair (bouncy seat) a few nights, as long as they are safely strapped in. Do not let baby sleep in a nursing pillow or car seat.
If baby is extremely congested or coughing a lot, bring him into the bathroom while you run a hot shower. Let him breathe in the steam to loosen congestion and ease his lungs. Of course, don’t stay in too long or let baby get overheated. You can also use a cool mist humidifier in baby’s room, far away from where he sleeps.
If you think your baby needs medication, consult your physician.