Monday Health & Wellness: Helping Young Babies Recover from Colds |

Monday Health & Wellness: Helping Young Babies Recover from Colds

admin October 17, 2011


By Kate Tietje, Lead Writer

Contributing Writer: Rustina


I remember when my kids had their first colds!  They were not too thrilled.   It’s so sad and hard when tiny ones are sick, because there’s not much you can do to help them.


Or is there?


It’s true that you should not give any sort of cold medicine to such young babies (nor, in my opinion, ever, if we are talking about OTC drugs).  But there are other ways you can ease the baby’s misery and help everyone feel better fast.


How to Help Young Babies


(Almost) All of these suggestions can work — some with minor modifications — with older children and adults, too.


1. Breastfeed Often

Breastmilk is pretty awesome.  Every time your baby breastfeeds, s/he will transfer the germs currently making him/her sick to you through the skin, and your body will produce antibodies specific to the illness and transfer them to the baby via your milk.  This helps the baby fight the infection.  Breastmilk also helps to break up the mucus – so it can help clear baby’s throat. 


If you have time to pump during your little one’s illness, you can label the breastmilk with the illness or symptoms to help use next time you notice an illness starting!


2. Breastmilk in the Nose

You can use saline for older people, but breastmilk is best.  It’s the gentlest on babies, and it can help to break up the mucus.  In some cases, you may not even need to suction the baby.  It may simply break up the congestion and baby will swallow the whole mess, breathing better.  Baby won’t like this, but it’s better than continuing to struggle to breathe or getting suctioned!  (Though, suction if needed!)


3. Vapor-Rubs

Don’t buy the store-bought ones.  Make your own at home and spread it on baby’s feet.  It’s much safer and it can help baby to breathe better. If you are low on time or don’t have the ingredients, check out Earthley’s Breathe Well.


4. Take a Warm Bath

Put the baby into a warm baby bath tub, or take a warm bath with your baby.  Put a few drops of rosemary and/or eucalyptus essential oil to ease congestion, and/or lavender for relaxation. Be sure to read about How to Use Essential Oils Safely in Children under 1 to learn how to use EOs in a bath without burning their delicate skin! 

5. Cod Liver Oil

If your baby is on formula or is older, give it directly to the baby.  If your baby is exclusively breastfed, you should take a larger dose and it will get to the baby through you.  Cod Liver Oil is a huge immune booster. If you prefer to use apply it topically, there is Vitamin D Cream available as well.


6. Essential Oils on Clothes

When Jacob had a really hard time (even minor congestion, especially if it’s in his throat, seems to really bother him), I put 1 drop of each rosemary and eucalyptus essential oils on the front of his clothes, then snuggle him, nurse if he will, and he usually settled down, falling asleep pretty quickly.  For older kids, I usually put a couple drops of each on their pillows at night.


7. Humidifiers

Babies with a cough will benefit from a warm mist humidifier to keep the air moist and reduce coughing. You can also let the bathroom fill with steam.  And of course, extra breastfeeding helps the mucous membranes from drying out, too. 🙂


8. Snuggles

Keep baby close to you, wear your baby in a wrap or other carrier so you can keep your hands free and still get stuff done.  Babies usually breathe better and are calmer when they are held closely anyway, and they often sleep a lot, which is good when they are sick!


There are lots of ways you can help even tiny babies to feel better!  It’s nice to know that there is something you can do when your baby isn’t feeling his or her best.


There are many more herbal remedies for the family in The Ultimate Collection of Natural Remedies


Disclaimer: This post is not intended as medical advice. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, and nothing in this post is intended to diagnose, treat, or cure anything. If you have questions, please do your own research or seek advice from a health professional.

How do you help tiny ones feel better?

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  1. What do you do with a lingering cough?

    My 10 month old (breastfed w/ few homemade solids) has had a cold for about a week now (we've been doing arabinogalactan powder to boost his immune system as well as warm baths, suctioning, sunlight, extra vit. D., etc). He's developed a nasty cough though and still is congested. (My 7 year old has a lingering cough too…it will literally NEVER go away.)

    Do I just keep it up and know it'll go away eventually?


  2. Ohhhh, I hope Jacob recovers soon!!! I've always preferred natural medicine to over-the-counter prescriptions, especially for newborns, since their system is so delicate. Thanks for posting!


  3. Awwwww this was o sweet beautiful little baby Jacob! It made me tear a little to read. Thanks for all the great tips we tremble at the idea of giving the little ones, or ourselves even, OTC DRUGS!. My blog was on vacation for the last week getting a make over. I was very stubborn and insisted on writing my own WordPress theme. I was getting traffic from blogging but no one was commenting. I have employed a professionally designed theme that let me make the changes I wanted and now I would love anyone that has a minute to check it out and let me know what you think in the comments. Organically Thought


  4. Hi Janae,

    Do you know why they have the cough? Is there an infection that won't go away? Or is there some allergy issue? If you can figure out the reason for the cough then you can help it to go away. If you are unsure, see a naturopathic doctor and s/he can help you figure it out. If there is a cough that NEVER goes away I would suspect some sort of allergy. Your baby, however, may just need another few days. I hope they feel better soon!


  5. Nurse, nurse, then nurse some more.
    My daughter got a nasty stomach virus at 11 days old. I had to nurse her for just a minute or two every 10 minutes to try to help her keep some breastmilk down. (Instead up just throwing it all up, which she was doing) God was very gracious to us and she recovered quicker than any member of the family. (And we all got it, it was awful!)


  6. Thanks for these great reminders. My little one’s cold has turned into a bacterial infection so I have been putting breast milk in her nose. She is 13 months now and I can’t squirt it in because she is too feisty so I just express a little and use a dropper. It really doesn’t bother her at all and helps soooooooooo much!
    Also, did you know that Rosemary and Eucalyptus are contraindicated in small children and babies? Here is a website that has a list of safe ones and why some may not be safe. There is also a recipe for a safe mix for germ fighting and anti congestion. I just made it this afternoon and have been diffusing it.


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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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