Cold and flu season is here and while you might have those obnoxious sniffles, a cold can be a lot worse for your little one. For a newborn, those first two months are difficult and managing a cold on top of it can make your infant care tasks a lot harder. If, however, you’re prepared you can breeze through this cold and flu season with ease.
Common symptoms of a cold can include a congested nose, nasal discharge, low grade fever (typically not above 38 degrees Celsius), coughing, sneezing and changes in appetite.
Stock the Medicine Cabinet
You need an infant medicine cabinet, but you’ll be surprised there’s not much medication to put in it. Instead you will have infant nasal drops (a saline solution that can help clear nasal passages), a nasal suction syringe (to help pull out any excess mucus) and a vaporizer. You can give your infant a dose of Acetaminophen, but you will have to verify with her pediatrician the right dosing and if she’s ready to take medication or not.
Keep the Nose Clear
Your infant hasn’t figured out how to breathe through his mouth. Therefore when he’s sick, you need to help keep his passages clear. Do this by using a bulb syringe or suction made for newborns. Gently remove the mucous blocking his air passages. If you do this cautiously and according to directions, you won’t harm your baby. By keeping the nose clear your baby will be less fussy, especially during sleep and eating times.
Use a Vaporizer
A cool mist humidifier or vaporizer can help your baby breathe throughout the day. Don’t use a hot vaporizer – this can make their room and living areas too humid and potentially open the door for further infection.
Resist making them Too Warm
Your baby is already hot and uncomfortable, so don’t make it worse by bundling him. You’ll want to make sure he’s at a comfortable temperature and use light layers. If you notice your baby sweating, remove a layer until he’s comfortable.
Look Out for Secondary Infections
Newborns are prone to disease because they haven’t built the antibodies necessary to ward them off. When your baby has a cold, she could be at high risk for secondary infections like ear or stomach infections. You can look out for the warning signs of either which may include pulling at the ear, abnormal eating, vomiting, diarrhea or signs of dehydration.
You’ll notice your baby is a lot more attached to you while he’s sick. This is normal and even if you’ve been sleep training all week, you’ll need to take a break and allow him some close time. Go to him if he cries at night and don’t let him cry it out while he’s sick. It may make for a long night, but it will help keep your baby comfortable during his cold.
Consult Your Physician
If your newborn has a fever over 38º, contact her physician. Infants require special care for high fevers and should be seen by a doctor if they’re fever gets too high.