Cold and cough are two of the most common illnesses that babies have to endure. For a parent, it’s heartbreaking to hear a baby’s cough, especially the ones that wake them up at night. If you pay close attention to a circle of moms talking, you will definitely hear them discussing how much weight their babies have lost due to a cold. It’s all because of low immunity and resistance power. Pediatricians often tell parents that with every changing season babies fall ill till they are 5 years of age and that there isn’t anything to worry about.
Breast milk is a great antibiotic and carries antibodies. When we start giving solid food to babies from the 6th month, babies get prone to cold and cough till their body and digestive system gets used to dietary changes.
Also read: 7 Useful Home Remedies to Cure Cough and Cold during Pregnancy
In the initial stages of any sickness, home remedies can be very helpful. You can use the following remedies to cure cold and cough and not worry about the side effects. Of course, when the cold and cough get worse and the child is very lethargic, you can take your child to the pediatrician.
How to treat a nasty cold and cough with natural remedies
#1. Use nasal or saline drops
Nasal drops can be found in every household where little kids live. These nasal drops are nothing but salt water. They help the nose to be moist and loosen the mucus to ease breathing and clogged nose. You can alternatively prepare it at home by stirring half a teaspoon of pure salt in a cup of warm water. Use a dropper to put a drop of this saline mixture in each nostril. Breast milk also can be put into nostril with the dropper.
#2. Warm water with ajwain or cumin seeds
Feed your a mixture which is made by boiling cumin or ajwain seeds with water. This water soothes the baby’s throat and acts as a mucus repellant. Prepare this concoction by boiling 2 tablespoon of cumin or ajwain seed, filter the water and feed the baby throughout the day for three days. This makes the child hydrated.
Also read: Home Remedies for Cough and Cold in Children
#3. Ajwain potli
Take two tablespoons of ajwain in a dry pan. Roast it till a nice aroma fills the room. Then, take a cotton cloth, keep the ajwain inside and tie it as shown in the picture. You can place this near your baby’s nose or the place where the baby sleeps. This soothes the baby and helps to breath better. Alternatively, you can ask the child to inhale this vapor when roasting.
Note: Don’t apply the potli on the baby’s chest directly! Always check the temperature prior to application.
#4. Ajwain Kada or decoction
Take two full spoons of ajwain (carrom seeds), add 1/2 cup of water and boil it down till it reaches to one tablespoon and then mix some honey to the mixture. It is helpful in clearing cold and cough. You can follow this recipe:
Ajwain seeds- 2 teaspoons
Tulsi leaves- 8 leaves
Black peppercorns- 4
Turmeric- half teaspoon
Water - 2 cups
Boil the mixture in a heavy bottomed pan with two cups of water. Keep boiling until it is reduced to half a cup. Strain and feed the mixture to your child for three days.
Also read: 10 Home Remedies to Cure Cold and Cough for Babies (3-6 months)
#5. Warm Soups
Keep giving warm liquids like dal, vegetable soup, tomato soup to the baby which helps to loosen the mucus and clear blocked nose. This keeps the baby hydrated and improves immunity. You can give chicken soup if your baby is above 6 months.
#6. Include pepper, garlic, and turmeric in baby’s food
Always add turmeric powder, garlic or pepper powder while cooking baby food. They are natural antibiotics. Cloves clear phlegm as well. It is used to treat cough, cold, and fever because of its germ-killing and mild astringent properties. It can also alleviate any pain caused by a cough.
#7. Betel leaves and Vicks magic
Take a betel leaf, apply on it Vicks. Slightly heat on the reverse of the leaf. Keep the warm leaf on the chest, back, the forehead of the infant in warm mode. This loosens the mucus present on the baby’s nose and we can witness the phlegm coming out through the nose. Betel leaf is good for treating respiratory problems and clogged nose. Please check if it is not over-heated before placing it on baby's delicate skin.
#8. Steaming the room using vaporizer
You can use humidifier or vaporizer to steam the room where the baby sleeps. Open the hot water tap and leave the water run over the sink. When the vapor forms I carry and stand with the child near that water vapors. Breathing in the warm, moist air will help to clear the blockages inside the nose.
Also read: Chronic Cough in Kids: Causes, Effects and How To Prevent It
#9. Mustard oil massage with kalonji seeds & garlic cloves
Mustard seed has numerous health benefits in the form of massage as well. It keeps the body warm and acts as an insulator in winter. Mustard oil along with kalonji (black seeds) gives relief from cold and cough. Put one or two cloves of garlic in mustard oil with a tablespoon of kalonji seeds. Then, heat the oil. Once the oil is lukewarm, massage your baby with the oil. The strong smell of mustard oil along with garlic can reduce nasal congestions, there by curing cold and cough.
#10. Be hygienic and sanitized
Keep your hands clean and don’t allow a sick person to carry or cuddle your baby. It may seem rude but it is necessary for a mother to protect her child from infection and germs as much as possible by keeping the environment clean. Allow enough sunlight to enter the house to wipe off invisible germs. Grow trees like neem and plants like tulsi(basil). Plants like tulsi protect the home from bacteria and germs. Nowadays we all live in apartments and flats where there is less scope for trees and plants growth. We can have small pots with tulsi leaves in balcony. They keep the air fresh.
Points to remember when taking care of a child who has cough & cold
Babies and children fall sick often. While it is easy to reach for the medicines and give them, it is better to try the above-tested remedies before making an appointment with your doctor.
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- During winter, if the child is having nose blockage it is better to cover the ears using headscarf or cap. Wear socks if the floor is cold. Keeping the ears open when the baby is having a cold gives rise to ear infection due to the chilled wind.
- The child should be well covered from head to toe when he is suffering from a cough & cold. The chest should be covered and no say NO to sleeveless dresses. Baby clothing should be such that it should protect the chest from cold.
- When a baby is having a cold, keep the head elevated by using pillows or buy a wedge pillow to ease breathing at night. Sleep is very important for the healthy immune system. Let your baby rest a lot when down with the flu.