Colds are no fun for anyone… but they can be especially troubling for babies and children who are too small to blow their own noses.
While mucus is no fun, it plays an important role in the immune system. When a germ or virus replicates in the body, mucus reacts by suspending these invaders in slime where it can release them from the body via a runny nose or productive cough. The key to keeping colds from turning serious is to keep the mucus thin and moving.
Your instinct may be to research a decongestant safe for your little one, but there’s virtually no benefit in doing so. In fact, they could cause harm. Decongestants can actually interfere with your child’s first line of defense by allowing bacteria or viruses to penetrate the bloodstream and even make their way to your child’s organs. This can prolong or worsen an illness.
For optimal indoor air quality, never allow smoking around your child. Be sure to keep him away from aerosols, perfumes, paint or gas fumes, and other irritants that can further irritate an already troubled respiratory system. Keep baby’s surroundings dust-free. Remove any feather pillows or stuffed animals.
Here are a few tips to help your little one breathe more easily
Hydrate | This simple step can help keep mucus from becoming thick and troublesome. If you’re breastfeeding, add immune boosting foods/supplements like garlic, probiotics, and fermented foods to your diet so you can pass along the benefits to baby.
Try a DIY Vapor Rub | Commercial brands of vapor rub are made with petrolatum, also known as petroleum jelly, a semisolid mixture of hydrocarbons obtained from petroleum. These salves often contain synthetic fragrances, with any number of toxic ingredients known to cause allergies, dermatitis, or reproductive issues. But you can make your own vapor rub safely at home.
Elevate Baby’s Head | With supervision, help your child sleep on her stomach with her head turned slightly to one side. You may also try placing a pillow between the crib springs and the mattress to set the mattress at a slight incline. Or let her nap on your chest as you sit up in bed or on the sofa. She may feel more comforted and she’ll breathe better in this position because it allows any saliva in the throat to come forward allowing more room for air to pass.
Use a Snot Sucker | The NoseFrida is a handy little device that helps clear even the stuffiest of noses. Don’t give a second thought to the “ick factor.” This device has protection built in protection and works faster, more comfortably, and effectively than any bulb aspirator could dream of.
Run a Humidifier in Baby’s Room | Dry air can aggravate congestion. A cool mist humidifier increases the moisture in the room and can help with the goal of keeping mucus thin and moving. Adding a few drops of lavender essential oil to the humidifier can help reduce any allergens and help soothe baby for a better night of sleep. Always clean your humidifier according to its directions to prevent mold buildup.
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