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Surviving a Newborn’s Cold

by Lori Sciame | February 10th, 2012 | Infants/Toddlers

I gave birth to my second child when I was sick with a terrible cold – runny nose, fever, cough – all the nasty symptoms. My daughter caught the cold as well. It proved to be a scary few weeks, as she had to sleep in a carrier sitting up, and I had to suction her tiny nose with a nasal aspirator. Feeding times were especially difficult, because she couldn’t breathe, and instead of sleeping for hours on end, my poor baby spent hours crying.

I wondered if either of us would survive. Of course both did, yet when I look back, I realize just how taxing taking care of an infant with a cold can be. If you are the parent of a newborn with a cold, remember that the illness won’t last forever, and there are steps you can take to make your little one more comfortable.
First, be sure to alert your pediatrician about your child’s cold. He or she may have special instructions for baby due to his or her unique physical condition. At the very least, the doctor can reassure you that you are tackling the illness effectively.

Next, never give your newborn any over-the-counter cold medications. These are not safe in children this young. Some doctors suggest giving an infant fever reducers if a baby’s temperature rises to 100.4; however, the best idea is to ask the pediatrician for advice on any medications before giving them.

If your child is struggling to breathe while nursing, you should investigate saline drops for the nose. These drops loosen the mucous, which can then be GENTLY suctioned with a nasal aspirator. Since baby’s noses are so tiny, read the directions on the bottle thoroughly before you begin the process, and make sure you understand how to use the aspirator. Great care should be taken not to force air into the child’s nasal cavities.

Also, a humidifier may help your baby rest easier. Run the humidifier in the room where your child spends the most time, as moist air makes the mucous easier to remove with the bulb aspirator. Since you will be tired, you may forget to clean the humidifier regularly, but strive to keep it as clean as possible. This is because a dirty humidifier can do more harm than good. In fact, “the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is alerting consumers to possible health hazards resulting from dirty room humidifiers. The CPSC has found that bacteria and fungi often grow in the tanks of portable and console room humidifiers and can be released in the mist. Breathing dirty mist may cause lung problems ranging from flu-like symptoms to serious infection.”

Finally, understand that colds are part of a child’s life. Many sources state that a child will have 6 – 8 colds before his or her second birthday; therefore, they are a normal part of growing up. Be alert, however, for signs of high fever and green mucous. I survived my baby’s first cold, and you will too.

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