As a mother it simply tears your heart to see you little darling child suffering on any account. I am sure that like me, you too must be going out of your way, doing your absolute best to ensure that nothing harmful reaches your baby.
But while fighting visible dangers is easy, how do you take on the potential threat caused by the millions of viruses and bacteria floating around your baby? You don’t or rather you simply can’t. It is but inevitable that your child will contract or develop some or the other kind of infection at one time or another.
And the most common type of infection that is likely to pounce on your child, time and time again, is cold and cough. Both you and he can’t escape it, and have to go through this ordeal a number of times in a year. Now what makes the situation manifold worse is that your toddler is not capable of smooth speech, and hence try as he/she may, he/she simply can’t tell you how unwell he/she is feeling or where it is hurting him/her. Hence, it is but natural for children with cold, especially toddlers and babies to turn cranky, destructive, stop eating and keep howling all the time.
This kind of a situation is acutely harassing and upsetting to a mother, but you simply have to get on top of the situation and do whatever you can to first ease your baby’s discomfort and next to cure him/her at the earliest. While over the counter drugs are available for babies, I would advise you against them, as these drugs and medicines maybe safe on paper but but may have disastrous effects. One little mistake on your part, in terms of measuring or administering the medicine could have serious ramifications on your child’s health. So, if your child is under four years of age, avoid medicines and instead try the following five tips to cure your baby’s cold the next time he/she catches it.
Put him/her on your milk and warm liquids
Once your toddler or baby shows signs of a cold, like loss of appetite, crankiness or has a runny nose, the best thing is to put him/her on your milk, if you have weaned him/her off it. If he/she is still on your milk, then increase the number of his/her feedings. This is because mother’s milk is known for its rich anti-bodies and other beneficial enzymes that will help boost your baby’s weak immune system, which cannot win this fight alone.
If your child is bigger and on a bottle, then increase his/her bottle feeds so as to prevent him/her from being dehydrated, due to the cold and fever. If your child simply goes off milk at this crucial time, then don’t force it into him/her, simply give him/her regular doses of water or even better, of the common oral rehydration solution easily available at all stores. You can make your own solution at home also by simply mixing equal amounts of salt and sugar in boiling water. Cool it, and give this to your baby regularly and watch him/her get better.
Should these fail to click, then fall back on the good old clear chicken soup as this shall be both tasty and healthy for him. Remember to give lots of warm liquids, as they help dissolve all the accumulated mucus, thereby clearing his chest congestion.
Ease his/her congestion
The main cause of your child’s discomfort lies in his/her inability to breathe properly and freely at this time. This is because the excess mucus secreted by your body to fight the infection starts lining his/her nasal passage, constricting it in the process, making it difficult for him/her to breathe. This generally scares your child, and makes him/her cry even more.
So the best thing you can do for your child now is to clear his nasal passage with a soft hanky dipped in warm water or with a suction bulb. You can even use nasal sprays to thin the mucus build up and then clear the airways. Use them every couple of hours so your baby stays free of nasal congestion.
A word of caution, always buy saline sprays for your baby or toddler, as they contain only salt water. Never buy sprays with medicine in them without consulting your doctor. Also coat the spray head or the suction bulb with a thick coat of Vaseline before pushing them in your baby’s nose; else his raw nasal walls may just start bleeding. Be sure you wash the bulb and spray nozzle very well, and preferably disinfect it, before keeping it aside for later use. By not doing this, you may just reintroduce the infection to your baby at a later date.
Introduce a steamer or humidifier
When your child is down with a cold, ensure that he/she has plenty of moist air to breathe, as it is useful in keeping the secretions liquid. Dry air, on the other hand, can make your child feel worse as it has a tendency to harden these mucus secretions, making breathing even more difficult.
Hence, the best thing to do is to get a humidifier or a steamer and fit in near your baby’s cot, so that he/she can get some sleep. It would be even better if you could break a capsule of eucalyptus oil in the steamer and make your baby indirectly inhale that. This remedy shall ease all the congestion in your baby’s little chest and make him/her feel better within two hours.
Make him/her sleep and rest more
When unwell, like adults, babies too need to nap and rest more often so as to give their little bodies more energy to fight back the infection invading them. Try to get him/her to sleep naturally, without any tonics, by holding him/her in your arm and rocking him/her or humming to him/her. Basically do whatever it takes to get your darling to go into deep slumber; he/she will wake up definitely feeling better.
Another thing you should do is to gently elevate your child’s head when he/she is sleeping, by putting a soft pillow under his/her head to allow the mucus secretions to drain. If this is not done then these secretions can result in a sinus build up. Don’t cover him/her with a blanket, as the heat generated from his/her body temperature alone will wake him/her up in a while. So just a light sheet, a dark room, plenty of moist air and some pillows around him/her for moral support should make him/her enjoy his/her sleep
Soothe your child
This is the time when your child needs you the most, so put everything aside, and focus your energies on comforting your baby and making him get better. The more time you spend with him/her, nursing him/her, talking to him/her, the less cranky he/she will be. Hence, indulge in all his/her favourite activities. Cover him/her well and take him/her for a walk, as it will distract him/her from his/her discomfort and he/she may just even fall asleep.
If he/she enjoys bathing, then give him/her a bath with some hot water and let him/her sit in his/her tub with a steamer on in the background. Feed him/her all his/her favorite food, sing to him/her and hold him/her close to you always. Your child will instantly feel safe and loved even in the middle of his/her discomfort. And it is this, which will improve his/her mood for the better and set him/her on the path of recovery.
However, if in spite of these steps your child does not feel better and his/her temperature starts to touch 103 degrees and lasts more than a day, then definitely make a trip to your doctor and get him/her checked out, as it could be more than common cold you are battling
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