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Many babies get sick during the winter months. If they have a virus, antibiotics won’t help them and may cause them to build up a resistance to future antibiotic medication. So what can you do at home to help a sick baby? Here are some ideas:
- Rest – Nothing beats a good sleep. When fighting an illness, your baby may sleep a lot and only wake for feeds. This is completely normal and aids the recovery process. Try and keep baby warm and indoors with no distractions.
- Skin-to-Skin – Being placed directly on a mother’s skin will help lower a baby’s temperature and help them recover faster. The more skin-to-skin you can do, the better.
- Nose & Sinus Rub – Gently but firmly massage the area directly under your baby’s cheekbones to relieve sinus pain and congestion.
- NoseFrida Snot Sucker – A great little tool to help remove built up snot from baby’s nose. Saline liquid sprayed in the nose also helps soften and unclog mucus.
- A Humidifier – Adding warm moist air to the room can greatly improve cough and cold symptoms. If you don’t want to use a humidifier, you can also take baby into a hot steamy bathroom for half an hour to help loosen mucus.
- Breastmilk – Breastfeeding often, during illness, helps baby stay hydrated and comfortable. Breastmilk reduces the risk of ear infections and can also help baby’s immune system fight off illness. You can also squirt breastmilk in their nose to help relieve mucus.
- Saline Spray – You can use a spray in baby’s nose to help loosen mucus and snot and allow them to breathe easier. Sometimes a Q-Tip (cotton bud) can also be used to gently scoop out loose snot.
- Use a Wrap – A baby wrap is a great way to keep baby safe, protected and comfortable, while still allowing you to go about your day to day activities.
- Pedialyte – Small amounts can be given to baby to aid in hydration, preferably after 6 months of age. Breastfed babies do not need extra water as all they need is provided by the breast. Formula fed babies should be given other liquids with care, to avoid water intoxication.
- Co-sleeping – Being close to their mother helps baby moderate their temperature, breathing and heartrate. It also provides extra comfort when they’re sick. When done safely, co-sleeping and bedsharing are beneficial for any baby.
- Cool Air for a Cough – A walk in cool but moderate fresh air can help relieve the swelling and congestion caused by a cough.
- Cold Socks – If baby has a fever, wet cold socks in water then put them on baby to help lower their temp.
- Nurse upright, sleep upright – When possible, keep baby upright to lower congestion or sinus induced reflux.
- Use Probiotics – With early introduction of solids, rice cereal and formula, babies are much more prone to leaky gut and other intestinal issues. Antibiotics can lower the good bacteria in the body, often leading to yeast buildup and thrush. Look into giving your baby a good quality probiotic.
- Essential Oils – There are a wide range of essential oils which can provide relief from congestion and calm baby down. A few drops can be used in a humidifier, hot pot of water or diffuser – NEVER apply full strength essential oils directly to baby.
- Lukewarm/Tepid Bath – Have a bath with baby or do a spongebath, being careful to keep the water at an even temperature, avoiding too much heat or cold.
- Warm Liquids – If baby is over 6 months of age, offer some soup to help relieve throat soreness.
- Check for Food Intolerance – Some babies are more likely to get ill due to a food which increases their symptoms.
- Check for Teething – Some babies have severe reactions to teething, such as coughing, vomiting, diarrhea and high temperatures.
- Tylenol – also known as Acetaminophen, Panadol or Paracetamol. It should be administered based on weight NOT age. Seek medical advice if you’re administering it before 3 months of age. [Dosage chart] New research has shown that it does not provide pain relief, only lowers high temperatures. Fever is important in the healing process, so Tylenol should only be administered if the fever continues for a long period of time, your doctor advises it OR it goes above a safe temperature.
- Ibuprofen – also known as Advil or Motrin. Can be given in conjunction with Tylenol but you should seek doctor’s advice if administering before 6 months of age. Dosage is based on weight NOT age [Dosage Chart]
- Baby Vicks – This should NEVER be placed directly on baby’s skin. Use infant vicks only, and place it on their bib or other item they’re wearing, which you don’t mind staining.
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