Cooler temperatures are sweeping across much of Australia, heralding the start of Winter. For many adults, the changing seasons can hit our immune systems quite hard. But it can be ever harder for a new bub, who is still getting used to the world around them. If your baby does come down with a cold or fever they will need plenty of love and support, and you may need to relieve some of their symptoms with simple remedies.
Here are five ways to do that:
1. Make sure baby is getting enough rest
Granted, this is easier said than done. Like anyone, the more rest your bub gets, the sooner they’ll feel better. Try to put them down for an extra nap throughout the day. When they’re not resting in their crib, share in quiet activities with them – read a book together, sit with them and stroke their head gently, listen to calming music or watch a quiet movie.
2. Keep up the fluids
Babies and children lose body fluids quickly when they’re sick – particularly if they have a fever or diarrhoea. To replenish fluids, breastfeed or formula feed bub often. If you think they may be getting dehydrated, try giving them a little bit of water, or an electrolyte solution if they’re over 4 months. Once your baby is eating solids you can try water-filled fruit, like watermelon or oranges to increase fluids.
Always remember to contact your paediatrician for any specific questions you have regarding your baby. They will always know what is best for your little one.
3. Turn on the humidifier
This is key, particularly at night and during naps, when difficulty breathing, or a persistent cough can prevent your baby from getting the rest they need. The moist air will thin bub’s mucus secretions, helping to calm his cough and relieve congestion.
Most of Australian parents would recall the childhood smell of Vicks or eucalyptus in a humidifier. However, to ensure you don’t damage the tank plastic with oils or void your warranty, opt for something like Vicks VapoSteam, which works with select humidifiers to deliver soothing vapours.
4. Use saline noise drops to remove congestion
Saline helps to thin and clear nasal mucus and relieve congestion. For best results, BabyCenter recommends using a bulb syringe. If bub will let you, tilt their head back slightly, then gently squeeze the bulb to place the saline drops in their noise. Ensure the bulb is free of liquid, then use it to remove the mucus. Squeeze it, place it at the entrance to bub’s nose and slowly let the bulb expand. Empty the bulb and clean it out. Repeat this process several times a day.
5. Know when to visit the doctor
Most viruses will clear up on their own within several days. But some may require expert treatment. Keep an eye out for the following:
- Bub is pulling on their ear
- Wheezing or trouble breathing
- Diarrhoea or vomiting
It is recommended that you call your doctor if bub is less than 3 months old and has a temperature of 38°C or higher. For babies aged over 3 months, check with your doctor on their guidelines for calling in and at what temperature they recommend picking up the phone.
While you give your baby love and support every day, it can certainly be more challenging and stressful when they’re under the weather. Remember that most Winter colds pass in a week or so – and will ultimately help to strengthen bub’s immune system. In the meantime, stock up on soft tissues and keep up the hand-washing!