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Baby's First Cold: How To Treat At Home

If you have a new baby, chances are that he or she will get a cold at some point. As a new parent, you're understandably nervous about this milestone; no one wants to see their baby sick and suffering. The good news is that once you have fielded the first cold, you'll feel more equipped to handle subsequent mild illnesses. Here's what you should do to make your little one more comfortable, as well as information on symptoms that require a call to the doctor or health clinic.

Keep your baby's nostrils clear.

Small babies breathe through their noses, so having a stuffy or runny nose can make him or her very uncomfortable. Buy a nasal aspirating syringe at your local pharmacy and use it to suck excess mucus out of your baby's nostrils. Be forewarned that babies tend to hate this, and your little one will probably cry while you are using the syringe, but it won't hurt and he or she will be much more comfortable once the breathing passages are cleared.

If the mucus is hardened, a couple drops of saline solution in each nostril can soften it enough to be suctioned. Buy saline at the pharmacy while you're getting the aspirating syringe. If you don't have any on hand, a drop or two of breastmilk can be substituted for the saline. (Don't use baby formula.)

Increase fluids.

For a young baby, only breastmilk or formula should be given, unless your pediatrician or nurse advises you otherwise. For older babies who can hold a cup, however, a bit of juice in water is a good way to entice them to take in extra fluids. If you are nursing, try offering your baby the breast more often. If you are bottle feeding, try offering the formula cold if your baby won't drink it warm; the cool liquid might be soothing on his or her throat.

Know when to call the doctor.

Most of the time, babies do fine with their first colds, so you can treat most symptoms at home. There are a few warning signs that should prompt you to call the doctor, however. These include a fever in a baby under 3 months of age, breathing problems (other than a stuffed nose), a bad cough or other symptoms that worry you.

If it's not a dire emergency, put in a call to your baby's doctor or clinic before deciding to head to the emergency room, because a baby is not fully vaccinated yet and can be susceptible to contracting other potentially serious illnesses. Your doctor can help you weigh the risks and benefits of going to the ER, and can also call ahead to tell them that you are coming.

Your baby's first cold can be stressful, but in no time at all, you'll be a seasoned parent who knows what to do in times of mild illness. Don't be afraid to call the doctor if you are worried, and give your little one extra attention and love to get him or her through the discomfort. For more information, contact a clinic like Northeast Wyoming Pediatric Associates Pc.