Kids under 6 can average between 6-8 colds per year and chances are many of these will fall during cold and flu season. We know first hand how disheartening it can be when your little one is feeling under the weather. But there are plenty of ways to help prevent a cold or the flu – and if your baby does get sick, we’ve got some tips to help keep him more comfortable.
Keeping Baby Healthy
Wash Those Hands
Keeping hands clean is the best and easiest way to keep everyone healthy. Introduce hand-washing into baby’s routine. Before and after meals & after coming home or inside are all key times to wash both baby’s hands and your own. This can be particularly important when baby is teething and constantly sticking her hands in her mouth.
Sleep Sleep Sleep!
Lack of sleep can lower the body’s immune response, so make sure your little one is getting enough sleep. Babies may need up to 18 hours of sleep and toddlers between 12 and 13 hours. Check with your child’s pediatrician to see how much sleep they should be getting. We know how hard it can be for busy parents to get enough sleep, but do your best. There’s no shame in letting the laundry or dishes pile up a bit.
Avoid Large Crowds
Not always a realistic expectation, especially as most winter activities are indoors and around a lot of people, but try to limit exposure to large crowds. When you do find yourself somewhere crowded with the baby, implement hand washing as much as possible.
Sanitize Frequently Used Surfaces & Items
Make sure you are routinely cleaning and sanitizing frequently used surfaces and items like counter tops, cell phones, etc. Those baby toys can get particularly gross when your little one is teething and should get a routine wipe down as well. We love Seventh Generation’s botanical disinfecting wipes. They are safe for baby and SO easy to use. If possible, avoid letting your baby play with objects such as cell phones & car keys, as they can harbor quite a bit of yucky bacteria.
Give a Daily Probiotic
Probiotics help support a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut and can support digestion, fight toxins and boost immunity. Try feeding your little one probiotic rich foods like yogurt or kefir or give her a daily probiotic supplement to keep her immune system strong.
So what happens if your child still gets sick?
Keeping Baby Comfortable
Your little one will need plenty of extra rest to fight off any infection. Start by providing a quiet, comfortable place for him to catch those much needed zzz’s. You’ll also want to make sure to stick to calm, more restful activities. Books, puzzles, art projects or even a favorite show can all be good options. And of course, extra cuddles!
Steam & Humidity
Moist air is key to combating the dreaded mucus that comes with a cold and can help to loosen nasal secretions making it easier for baby to breathe. Try keeping a humidifier running in your child’s room or sitting in a hot, steamy bathroom for 15 minutes a couple of times a day. A warm, steamy bath is also helpful for calming your little one and helping break up mucus.
Another fantastic tool for helping to loosen nasal secretions! We love using the drops in combination with the NoseFrida. Simply follow the directions on the back of your saline drops bottle, wait a few minutes, and then suck out all the yuck with the NoseFrida. You can thank us later!
For kids that are older, prop up one end of their crib mattress, or if they are in a bed, prop up a few pillows to reduce the amount of post nasal drip. This will help with the coughing over night.
For kids over 12 months old, a teaspoon of honey is a great way to soothe the throat and reduce coughing.
Staying hydrated while sick is very important. Young babies may want formula or breastmilk more often. For older kids, make sure they are getting plenty of water.
Remember to always consult your child’s physician when they are sick.