As a new parent, how much sleep your baby gets is a big issue at the best of times but when their first cold hits, it’s even more of a concern.
Symptoms such as a blocked, sniffly nose, sore throat and fever can hamper the amount of rest the whole family gets and play havoc with any newly-established sleep routines. But it needn’t be quite so bad – there’s plenty you can do to ease your little one’s discomfort.
Keep an eye on their body temperature
If your baby seems feverish (hot to touch, with flushed cheeks and clammy), check their temperature, ideally with a digital thermometer (they tend to be more accurate than the old-fashioned mercury ones or forehead strips). A temperature of over 38 degrees for an infant under three months, or over 39 degrees if they’re three to six months, means you should seek advice from your GP or health visitor. Try not to worry too much though – a fever is part of their body’s attempt to fight illnesses off.
You can help manage any fever
You can give babies over around two-months-old appropriate Paracetamol products, and for those over three months, Ibuprofen. Speak to a pharmacist to gain advice on which specific medicines are suitable for your baby and of course, follow dosage instructions carefully.
You might need to adjust your little one’s bedtime clothing and bedding if they feel very feverish too but remember that babies with a cold need less bedding not more or else they could over heat further.
Raise the head end of the cot
By elevating your baby’s head a few inches, they should be able to breathe a shade easier and might well cough less. It’s vital that you do this safely though – never put anything soft directly under your baby’s head in the cot – instead place a rolled up towel well under the top end of their mattress.
Use a vapor rub
It’s miserable having a blocked up nose and being unable to breathe whatever your age but especially so for a baby who doesn’t understand what’s going on. An easy-to-use but effective product to help with this is Snuffle babe’s Vapor Rub, which is suitable for babies aged from three months onward. Its blend of eucalyptus, menthol and thyme oils helps clear nasal passageways and is gentle enough to be rubbed directly on your baby’s skin. Alternatively dab some onto a handkerchief and leave close by but just out of reach of your baby.
Feed little and often to fend of dehydration and hunger
If your baby is struggling to down a whole feed when they’ve got a cold, try offering smaller quantities of milk more frequently than normal. This way they’ll be well-hydrated and less likely to wake up in the night due to hunger. Again, make sure their nose is as clear as possible so they can breathe during their feed – with either a vapor rub, as above, or the Snuffle babe Nasal Aspirator which can be used to clear mucous. This is a really effective, instant way to alleviate blocked noses and is suitable from birth.
Stock up on ‘baby cold kit’ before it happens
A cold can come on quickly and you don’t want to be caught out without the right kit, so stock up in advance of what is probably inevitable. Make sure your baby medical kit includes a good digital thermometer, a suitable baby Paracetamol or Ibuprofen medicine and a vapor rub such as Snuffle babe’s. It’s also worth getting a small tub of petroleum jelly or a natural balm to soothe your baby’s nose or upper lip if it gets sore from that delightful stream of snot…obviously don’t forget lots of tissues too to mop that up.
Give your baby extra love and attention
She feels miserable and doesn’t understand what’s going on. Give her an extra cuddle and don’t worry about ‘spoiling her’ – she’ll soon get back to her normal sleep and feeding routine once the cold has cleared.