One of the most common questions I get as a naturopath and a mum is how to get rid of a cold/cough/runny nose in a sick child. It actually sparked me to create my Toddler and Kids Immunity program, as it is a common issue in families, particularly coming into winter.
The problem is, the younger the child, the trickier it can be to help with “home remedies” as they are not on solids, so cant take over the counter nutrients and herbs. When younger babies are sick, OR if your older child is catching everything that goes around, and is sick more then they are well, it may be better to bring them in for a naturopathic consultation. However if your child is eating solids and gets the occasional head cold then you may find the following advice helpful.
The following are suggestions I make to mums who have babies of most ages, but if in doubt, please ask your health practitioner or naturopath and follow a common sense approach.
What can you do?
When a baby has a cough which is worse when they are laying down, slightly tilting their cot mattress can help so s/he is not sleeping flat. You can do this by rolling up a thin blanket or towel and putting it under the head of the mattress.
A humidifier can be beneficial in the bedroom while they are sleeping. I have found this invaluable to help my child get to sleep and stay asleep for longer. Please ensure you put it in an area free from anything that may fall onto it or get caught in it, and ensure it is cleaned well after each use. They can grow mould very easily and you certainly dont want to be blowing that around a sick child. A couple of drops of eucalyptus oil in the water can work wonders too as it helps to clear their airways and is also antimicrobial. Make sure your humidifier allows essential oils put into them. Some dont.
If they are over 12 months of age, a teaspoon of honey before bed is soothing for the throat and it is antimicrobial which will boost immunity. Try and get local honey. Don’t buy mass produced honey.
Investing in a nose frida can also be good (here is one example but there are many others). These suck the mucous out of the child’s nose and help them to breathe easier. I have to say, I advise parents to start with this at a very young age. By the time I found out about them my son was almost 12 months and there was no way he would let me shove anything up his nose. It will be a different story with the next child – it doesn’t stand a chance 😉
There is a great couple of products for kids coughs out there. Company is called Kiwi Herb and they are in health food stores. Their website will list your closest stockist. Destuff for kids can be used with babies as well as toddlers. Children’s chest and cough syrup is for 3+ year olds.
Finally – be kind to yourself. Go to bed earlier, as you will be woken through the night and have broken sleep yourself. The washing, dishes, cleaning can wait. Often the best remedy can be a cuddle on the couch with mum or dad.
Please note: I receive no financial benefit from recommending Kiwi Herb – just a great product I use in my own home.