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  • Samantha Leeson, CBEd, Doula, LS

Helping Baby Cope With a Cold

The cold and flu season has hit again. When my boys were young we discovered we weren't immune. I never thought we were but I was kind of hoping nothing would breech our little bubble. The boys both brought home colds from school, playdates and other social gatherings and this worried mom spent many nights listening to chest/nasal congestion and coughing coming from the rooms down the hall. Hard as it may be to change patterns, we just allowed ourselves time to slow down and deal with our illnesses because I wanted to be sure to heal and get past this instead of pushing ourselves and having our systems so run down that it takes twice as long to recover.

And then there have been the calls, emails and Facebook messages I have been receiving. Most recently a mom to a sweet little 7 month old girl contacted me to ask about methods for relieving nasal congestion for her baby.

The challenge, for the young babies, is that tried and true remedies like the Neti Pot, lots of raw garlic, spicy foods and wild oil of oregano are not safe options for the babies to have used on them. So my plan with this brief post is to give you suggestions of ways to help your baby breathe more easily when they are faced with a cold or flu.


First I would have a cool-mist vaporizer going pretty much all of the time. The damp air will help keep her airways damp. If this isn’t something you are able to do then there are a couple of other ways to help keep the air moist; run the shower on hot for a little while and leave the bathroom door open or place bowls of warm water on the heat vents. (The latter is not as effective but it is better than nothing.)

Are you still breastfeeding? Expressing some milk and putting a few drops in each nostril is very helpful at breaking up mucous and encouraging him to sneeze the nasal contents out without irritating the nasal passages. You could use Saline drops too but I do find they tend to be more irritating for some babies.

I have always found that essential oils help too, like the blend from doTerra called Easy Air. If your vaporizer has a reservoir where you can put essential oils in so that they get mixed together with the mist/steam then that is the most effective way. I know that even when we have been away and without our vaporizer I have used the essential oils on tissues by their head while sleeping or mixed one or two drops into some oil (I usually use olive oil or coconut oil) and massage it on their chest. If the whole family is feeling stuffy and congested I have been known to put a pot of water on the stove to boil and add a several drops of Easy Air essential oil to the water – especially through the day when we are all up and moving around.

Speaking of moving around, keep your child's head elevated while sleeping (a couple of thick old textbooks left over from university days work well to elevate a crib mattress slightly) and then, when she isn’t down for sleep make sure she is upright, being carried in a sling, carrier or in your arms, as opposed to laying down where the fluids can pool in the head. When your child is old enough to move around on their own it can be easier to facilitate the upright position.

Make sure that he isn’t having any cow’s milk protein at this time. Animal milk can often start our mucous flowing so while it isn’t what is causing his congestion, it will likely add to it. Wheat/gluten products can have this effect too.

If you have started solid foods with your baby then try giving her warm chicken stock (if she is taking carrots, chicken, etc. they can be mixed in the soup too for more nutrition) because the soup actually has the ability to stop the production of certain white blood cells (neutrophils) from creating and causing inflammation.

Lots and lots of clear fluids are extremely effective in helping our systems heal as well. Remember breastmilk is considered a clear fluid where juice and cow’s milk are not. Warm beverages (as warm as baby will take them) are also excellent ways to keep everything moving within our bodies.

Do you need to get out of the house and change your scenery? Plan to come into the office to see Dr. Kirk or Dr. Hayward and arrange for an adjustment for your child also. Research indicates that having regular adjustments allows our body to have the strength to work at healing itself from the inside out. Couple that with wanting to get ahead of ear aches and other pains, chiropractic can truly be one of your best defences!! Have a look at this article about ear infections and chiropractic.

And of course, the very best remedy of all, LOVE! Lots of love and snuggles and heaps of hugs will help everyone get better more quickly.

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