Most children will catch at least three colds or coughs in a typical year and, unfortunately, newborn babies are not immune to catching colds too.
When you consider there are more than 200 common cold strains it's hardly surprising that your child is susceptible as her immune system is still building its defences.
The main symptoms of colds are sneezing, coughing, sore throat, runny nose, headache and slight temperature. Of course a newborn can't tell you what is troubling them, but you will probably quickly notice some signs of discomfort or distress.
Your local chemist will have shelves full of over-the-counter treatments to combat the symptoms of colds and coughs, but many mums want to try and find natural remedies for a newborn's cold.
Remember that most colds will clear within a week so if your baby's symptoms are continuing beyond that OR if there is any sign of a fever, have her checked by a GP.
You should also see your GP is your baby is vomiting, has diarrhoea or a rash along with the cold symptoms or if your baby seems lethargic.
Here are some natural remedies for helping your newborn baby get over their cold.
- Breastfeed more often. If your baby has a blocked nose she may not be taking sufficient milk at each feed as she struggles to breathe and suck at the same time. So offer her your breast more often than usual. She needs the regular fluid to keep her hydrated.
- Consider expressing. If your baby is really struggling to nurse, consider feeding her expressed milk from a dropper or spoon.
- Squirt Breast milk in baby's nose and/or eyes. Breast milk has antimicrobial properties so a tiny squirt into baby's nose and/or eyes can be soothing and help clear up infection.
- Use nasal suction: Babies can't clear away mucus from their noses so a nasal suction tool can be useful. But a baby's nose has a delicate lining so choose a nasal suction apparatus that is designed specifically for very young babies and does not have to go inside the nostril.
- Use a Humidifier. Central heating in the home makes the air much drier (especially in the winter months) so it can help a baby's breathing to put moisture back into the air. A humidifier does the trick, but a bowl of water in the room, or a pan of water simmering on the hob, can also add moisture.
- Steam treatment. Letting baby breathe steamy air will help her breathe more easily. Hold baby and drape a towel over both of you while you stand over a warm air humidifier. Or go into the bathroom, steam it up and hold your baby in there for a while. But always be very careful. Steam can scald.
- Sleep upright. You know how difficult it is to sleep flat with a blocked nose and it's the same for your baby. You could try sleeping while propped up on pillows, holding baby upright on your chest. During the day you could carry baby in the upright position as much as possible to help her mucus drain away.
- Use essential oils: Some essential oils relieve congestion. Use them in a room diffuser, pop a few drops in a pot of water or on a cloth tucked into baby's cot – but not within touching distance of baby. These oils must never be used directly on baby. Ask at your local health food store or chemists which essential oils are specifically for decongesting.
- Sinus pressure massage: Pressing your fingers gently, but firmly, along baby's cheekbones can help relieve sinus pressure.
- Use a natural vapour rub: There are natural vapour rubs available. Always read the instructions for use carefully. It sounds strange but rubbing some on the soles of baby's feet can be effective.
- Slice an onion: It's not just an old wives' tale. Slicing a raw onion and placing it near baby's crib can help baby breathe easier. It's all down to the sulphur content of an onion which apparently draws out the mucus.