Cold and Flu!

It really is heartbreaking when bubba gets a phlegmy nose, and cough and not being able to help him much. Babies fall ill very easily because their immune systems are as yet immature, and still in the developing stages. But infant cold and flu is really upsetting! It definitely is!

In the last six months, we have one severe experience and at least one more okay experience with this. When we took him to the pediatrician when it was a bad case, she told us that for babies that young, they would prefer not giving any medications, and to let it run its course – only nasal drops. We were obviously advised to take baby back to her if the condition worsened or if a fever developed.

According to Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., a pediatric expert at Children’s Mercy Hospital and Clinics, in Kansas City, Missouri as quoted in, “In the first year, babies come down with about six to 12 infections, most lasting seven to ten days. That’s up to 120 days of the year they may be sick.”

One of the key issues with a blocked nose is that bubba will find it very tough to feed. Since they can’t breathe through their nose, keeping their mouth busy nursing for longer periods is not much of an option. Feeding gets disrupted, and as a result, the baby continues to be stressed and fussy.

While the following remedies may help, it is of utmost importance that you keep an eye on bubba and rush straight back to the pediatrician if there is a fever, or if the condition worsens. Trust your gut.

So after talking to a few mamas and reading up, here is what worked for us in dealing with the cold and flu!
  • Nasal Drops: Please make sure you tell the pharmacist that it is for an infant and to give you the age appropriate one. Snuffle Babe does an easy to use one, as does Sterimar. Infant nasal sprays are completely safe to use, and can be used many times over the course of the day.
  • Suction: Wee ones don’t know how to blow their nose, and needs help with it. In some cultures, moms actually just suck out the snot. I for one cant even think of doing that. Some parents use a bulb aspirator, but that has never worked that well for me. We’ve succeeded in occasionally removing a stray booger but for an actual cold, the bulb aspirator has been completely futile. From our experiences, the Nose Frida or such a suction device is the only one that actually does the trick. I absolutely love the Nose Frida as it really helps in removing the phlegm from blocked noses.
  • Steam: The best way to do this is to steam up the bathroom by running the shower and filling the tub with the heater on; I usually put a drop or two of eucalyptus oil (keep this to a minimum as well because some studies suggest eucalyptus essential oil is not the safest for babies), and we sit in the bathroom with the baby for a about 7minutes.
  • Nursing: I can’t stress enough on the importance of continuing to feed the baby; in fact, increase the number of feeds. Breastmilk is miraculous and wonderful, and the baby will be able to signal the mother’s body that he is unwell. This will lead to an increased production of antibodies which the baby will get through the breastmilk thus helping build his immune system. The extra nursing will also help in keeping the baby hydrated.
  • cnfBaby Vicks: Some moms suggest putting baby vicks on chest and feet, with socks on during the night. I have only tried vicks on feed wit a foot covering onesie, just before he went into his swaddle. I also always made a point to wash his feet as soon as the swaddle was removed because his feet are my bubba’s favorite thing to eat! Also apply a bit to his clothes or somewhere where he can breathe it in at night. Please keep in mind that adult vicks is a big NO for babies. And as much as possible, try and limit the use of baby vicks too.
  • Humidifier/Purifier: This has been a game changer. We recently got one, and we have noticed a significant change. There are hardly any more coughs or phlegmy noises. I think with the increasing amount of dust in Doha, this is a must, atleast for the room where the baby is sleeping.
  • R&R: Ensure that baby gets plenty of rest and relaxation. Keep the activities to a minimum, and don’t forget lots of TLC.

It goes without saying, but always always take the baby to the pediatrician, just to be safe. And if your gut seems doubtful of medications, please do get a second opinion. I personally feel that when it comes to babies under the age of one, it is always important to get another opinion.

Hang in there mama! It’ll pass.


  • Neethu

    Thank you Dilraz. This is quite useful for me now. I’m going to adopt some of these techniques to see how it helps my baby.

  • Karishma KP

    Hi dilraz,
    Lovely article…very useful with good pointers and apt justifications…would like to enquire which humidifier are u using and which is d best

    • Hi Karishma,
      Thank you for the comments.
      We have a Sharp humidifier purifier unit..

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Dilraz Kunnummal is the author of the much-loved children’s book, ‘See You Soon’. The role she’s proudest of is being mama to her cheeky little boy, and her journey as a parent is where she draw inspiration from for most of her writing.

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