As adults, the second
we feel cold symptoms coming on we’re likely to pop open the medicine cabinet
and raid the pills and syrups for something to make us feel better. However,
when our young children fall ill, many medicines are an absolute no-no. We hate
to see our sweet ones suffer—not to mention our own lack of sleep—and many
parents feel helpless without a go-to medicine to ease their child’s symptoms.
Here are some mom-tested, pediatrician-approved tips and tricks to get you through your kiddo’s next
nasty cold, naturally.
1. Prop them Up
Keeping a child sitting up may seem counterintuitive to
soothing them to sleep, but angling your little one up with pillows at about a
45-degree angle can aid with nose drainage. Nasal symptoms are usually worsened
by lying down, where post-nasal drip can run down the back of the throat or
pool in the sinuses. Ditch the irritating cough or stuffy nose by propping up your child with pillows or even
stacking books under the head of their mattress. If you can coax them to sleep
in this position, it will keep them breathing easy throughout the night.
Ugh! That cough! Will it ever end? If you can’t give your
little one medicine, what can be done? Honey may be the answer. This ages-old
remedy has been scientifically proven to reduce cough frequency and severity. Two
teaspoons about half an hour before bedtime can make everyone’s night more
restful. However, do not give honey to babies under twelve months, as there is
a risk for infant botulism, a rare but potentially deadly
illness. Alternatively, you can also try agave syrup instead.
However, when your little one is ill, let them set the schedule.
3. Saline and Steam
There’s a reason that a hot bath can cure what ails you.
Breathing in steam can loosen up a stuffy nose and provide relief for irritated
nasal passages. You can always run your child a warm (but not too hot) bath and
trap steam in the bathroom by closing the door and keeping the exhaust fan off.
A humidifier is a great investment and can seriously improve stuffy nights for
you and the kiddos. Another safe
option is saline nose spray. Gently tilt your child’s
head back and deliver one or two sprays per nostril. Wait a couple of minutes,
then use the nasal aspirator (or better yet, the snot sucker,) or have your child blow their nose gently.
4. Heat for Healing
Electric blankets and heating pads simply aren’t safe for
child use. Yet, a heating pad can provide sweet relief for a kiddo suffering
from body aches. Create your own heating pad with a sock (made
of natural fibers) with rice inside. You can warm it up in the microwave to a
safe temperature, and the rice retains heat for quite awhile. For extra
soothing, add essential oils such as lavender or peppermint
to aid with congestion issues.
5. Feed a Fever AND a
While some age-old adages are filled with wisdom, others are
not so smart. The old expression “feed a fever, starve a cold” does more harm
than good. Your child needs as many nutritious calories as she can get,
especially if she’s under the weather. The good news is that the rumors about chicken soup are true — it really does help
alleviate symptoms. So if your little one is a chicken fan, this is probably
one of your best options.
6. Fluids, Fluids,
Another reason to give your sweet one chicken soup is that
it contains liquid to keep them hydrated. One of the biggest factors that
prolongs and worsens colds is dehydration, and it's one of the more dangerous
side effects of being sick. Keep pushing the fluids by having a sippy cup handy
at all times and reminding your child to drink. Another way to sneak fluids in
is to offer your child all-natural or sugar-free fruit popsicles. Bonus! It
soothes sore throats.
Parents are often reminded of the importance of routine in a
child’s life (sometimes it feels like we’re beaten over the head with it!)
However, when your little one is ill, let them set the schedule. Not nap
time yet? That’s OK, she needs her rest. Get your cuddles on! Touch has been
proven to lessen anxiety and decrease the time needed to
recover from injury and illness.
Remember to follow the doctor’s orders regarding medication
usage, and to seek medical attention if symptoms persist or get worse. It might
be difficult caring for your little one when you feel like you can’t do
anything to help without medication, but this list will give you a few things