How to Treat Colds in a Newborn

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As much as new parents try to keep their baby away from germs, many newborns will end up with a cold in the first weeks and months of life. Newborns have very immature immune systems, so they are more likely to get sick than adults and older children that have been exposed to different cold strands throughout their lives. While it can be very concerning for parents with a sick baby, there are several ways to treat colds in newborns that should help the baby to be healthy again in a short time.

Things You'll Need

  • Thermometer
  • Nasal aspirator
  • Humidifier
  • Saline nose drops
  • Pillows
  • As soon as you suspect your newborn has a cold, call his pediatrician for advice. Usually he will tell you to follow some or all of these steps to treat the cold in your newborn. He may also have advice regarding your newborn's specific needs.

  • Take your newborn's temperature rectally every few hours to ensure it is not over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. If a newborn's temperature is above that, pediatricians usually want to see the baby at the office.

  • If your newborn is congested, use a nasal aspirator to gently suction mucus out of her nose. Squeeze the bulb of the nasal aspirator, place it in one nostril and slowly release pressure on the bulb. Remove the aspirator from that nostril, press down on the bulb to remove the mucus from the aspirator, and repeat in the other nostril. Repeat as necessary.

  • Use a humidifier to keep the air damp and help break up your newborn's congestion. This can be especially effective in treating colds in a newborn when used in the baby's room during naptime and overnight while sleeping.

  • Saline nose drops are about the only product that pediatrician's recommend for treading colds in a newborn. These drops are recommended in newborns, but before using check with your baby's pediatrician.

  • Place 2 to 6 saline nose drops in each of your newborn's nostrils. These drops can be used as often as needed to help break up mucus and ease congestion.

  • During naps and bedtime, keep your newborn's head elevated to allow drainage and relieve congestion. Do this by placing pillows under the top of your baby's mattress, or by putting your newborn to sleep in a bouncy seat.

  • Pediatricians recommend increasing the intake of fluids to treat colds in newborns. This helps to keep your baby hydrated since she is losing fluids with congestion and a runny nose.

Tips & Warnings

  • Using a small amount of vaseline on the newborn's nose can help prevent the chapping of their sensitive skin that usually occurs with colds and drainage.
  • To avoid spreading colds in your family and to your newborn, wash hands frequently. Always wash your hands before touching a newborn.
  • You should immediately call your pediatrician for assistance in treating your newborn's cold if his fever is over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, he has greenish-yellow mucus that lasts for more than a day, she tugs on her ears or refuses to eat, or if your newborn begins to experience difficulty breathing.
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