How to Stop a Baby From Coughing

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You wake up in the middle of the night to a disturbing sound: your infant coughing and hacking. What can you do? First of all, realize that a cough can be a good thing. A cough is the body's way of protecting your baby's airway. At the same time, it can make your baby miserable—and keep you up at night too. There are several ways to try to keep your baby comfortable until the cough passes.

Things You'll Need

  • Humidifier
  • Bathtub or shower
  • Baby pain reliever

Put a humidifier in your baby's room. This will help your baby breathe more easily, and therefore sleep better.

Turn on a hot bath or shower and close the bathroom door. Sit in the bathroom with your baby, and let the room steam up. When your baby breathes in the steam, it will act as a strong humidifier and help your baby breathe easier.

Tilt your baby's crib so that her head is above her feet. This will allow your baby's airway to drain and can minimize coughing. It will also enable your baby to breathe more easily. You can tilt the crib by putting a pillow under one end of the mattress.

If your baby seems miserable, try administering an infant pain reliever, such as Baby Tylenol or Baby Motrin. Do not overdose, and never give a baby any medication that is designed for adults.

Tips & Warnings

  • During a coughing fit, try to calm your baby. The more your baby gets worked up, the more likely the coughing will continue.
  • If your baby has trouble breathing, makes "whooping" sounds, or wheezes, call your doctor immediately. If your baby is younger than 3 months old, and the cough persists longer than a few hours, call your doctor immediately. Babies should not take pain relievers that include aspirin.

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