When a child is sick, parents often feel helpless and are willing and eager to do whatever they can to help him feel better. When an infant has a cough or a cold, there are not many medicinal alternatives available to help relieve his symptoms. There are, however, some simple home remedies that will help ease his discomfort.
There is no cure for the common cold. Antibiotics do not work against viral infections and the Federal Drug Administration does not recommend giving cold medications to children under 4 years of age. If your child has a fever, you can give him Tylenol or, if he is 6 months or older, Ibuprofen to help ease any aches or pains and bring down the fever.
It is important to keep your baby hydrated, but it is not necessary to push extra fluids beyond his usual formula or breast milk. However, if your child is willing, cool drinks such as water or diluted apple juice may be soothing. Avoid orange juice since it can irritate a throat that is sore from coughing.
Use a saline-based nasal solution to loosen the congestion in your baby's nose. These drops are available over the counter in most pharmacies or grocery stores. You can also use a bulb syringe to gently suction the congestion from your baby's nose.
Moisten the Air
Using a humidifier in your baby's room can help improve your baby's cold symptoms. Be sure to point the mist away from your baby's crib to keep the bedding from becoming damp and moldy. You can also run your shower and sit with your baby in a steamy bathroom for a few minutes before bedtime to help loosen congestion.
Call the Doctor
According to the Mayo Clinic, very young infants--under 3 months of age--should be brought to the doctor at the first sign of a cold since they are susceptible to more severe illnesses such as pneumonia or croup. If your baby is more than 3 months and has cold symptoms, call the doctor if he has a high temperature, seems to have ear pain, has a cough for more than a week, or has green discharge for more than two weeks.