Tips for Baby Head Colds

Well, the snot, sniffles and sneezes have hit our home.  It started with Sheridan who's a pretty good sport since my brother was so obliged to teach her the "farmer's blow" last spring.  She thinks it's hilarious to do this and although it grosses us all out, we're pretty sure if she keeps it up she won't have a boyfriend until she's 35, which is fine by us.  Ha ha!  That girl is something else! Next victim of the mucous monster was my little Odessa.  At 7 months old, this hit her pretty hard.  Since babies are nose breathers, having a stuffed nose is so hard on them.  Nursing is especially difficult.  She nurses for about 10 seconds then has to stop and take a deep breath.  Poor little baby.  Sleeping has also gotten so much harder for her because when ever she snorts from not being able to breath through her nose it wakes her up.  Of course this happens just after she started to sleep through the night!

So I thought I'd share some of our family's tips for getting by without being too miserable and hopefully shortening the head cold all together.

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1.  Saline and Suckers- You know the little green or blue sucker they use at the hospital to get all of the nasty stuff out of your baby's airways?  Yeah, make sure to take that sucker home!  They're the best.  None can compare to hospital grade "booger suckers!"  I have two since I have two kids and they have come in handy.  Also, make sure to have plenty of sterile saline on hand.  I like the Little Remedies brand that comes in the squeeze bottle.  They also make it in a nasal mist that has a long spout, but I really dislike this one because I'm usually wrestling Odessa and this one can really hurt her nose when she's yanking away.  The squeeze bottle has a wider nozzle that seems to be a lot gentler on their tender little noses. 

My trick is to wait until she sneezes to do this.  I usually have both on hand close by, so when I hear her sneeze I run over and lay her down and suck what I can out and then spray the saline and then suck again.  I'm almost religious about this.  When Sheridan was a baby and sick, I hated doing this to her because she'd get so upset.  But then it backed up into her ears and we ended up with a nasty ear infection because I didn't keep up with sucking the mucous.  Let me tell you what, ear infections compared to upsetting your baby for 3o seconds is so much worse!

2. Ibuprofen- I will confess...I'm not afraid to medicate my child.  I know some may gasp when they read this but I'm not ashamed.  I will not let my babies suffer in pain just because it's becoming taboo to give your kid some pain meds.  Both my girls are miserable when those first couple of teeth come in and I don't mess around with just using teething tabs.  The tabs seemed to help a bit, but I've found Ibuprofen helps the most.  This goes the same for head colds that lead to swelling in the sinuses and nasal passages.  It's amazing to see the relief that this brings to Odessa.  Of course, check with your doctor first before taking my advice!

3. Hot steamy showers- Steam from a shower is such a powerful nasal dilator and it usually requires no baby-wrestling because they mostly enjoy it!  We have a walk in tile shower, so I laid a couple of folded towels in the corner that got the least amount of water spraying on it.  I then stripped Odessa down and sat her on the towels.  She's sitting up pretty good now, but I was still careful to make sure there was plenty of padding around her in case she toppled over.  With a couple of toys to play with she was entertained for a good 20 minutes while I showered and played with her.  She loved it and was finally breathing out of her nose. 

If you don't have a walk in shower or if your baby isn't sitting up yet, just turn on the shower and bring them into the bathroom and hold them so they can soak up the steam.  It's also a good idea to bring in your booger sucker because they will most likely sneeze in there and this is a great time to more mucous sucked out.

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4. Vick's Baby Rub- This is such a nostalgic product to me.  I remember my mom slathering this on us kids before bed time whenever we had colds and it brought such sweet relief.  Make sure to the "baby" one because the original Vick's is too strong for babies.  I put this on my baby's feet before every nap and bedtime.  I just slather it on and either put her socks back on or put on fleece jammies.  The largest pores on our body are on our feet, so the Vick's Rub works great here.  Again, you can just tell how it just makes them breathe so much easier by the look on their face.

5. Cool Mist Vaporizer- This was a tip from a pediatric nurse friend of mine.  I've always had hot mist humidifiers on hand, but she's a firm believer that these cause nasal passage swelling, which in turn makes it harder for babies to breathe.  I have this running for Odessa during her naps and as well at night.  I also elevated her crib on one end with books to make everything drain a little better while she sleeps.

So this is how we make it as easy as we can on our littles when they have the sniffles.  I wish I could just take it upon myself whenever they get sick.  I'm sure that's how every mom feels.  I also pray over my babies for speedy healing and peaceful rest and I know that God is faithful to grant that.

What are your tips for getting through the cold season with babies?  We'd love to hear from you!

From the sneeze and sniffles household,

Cooped Up Cowboy's Wife- Candace