How to Help Your Baby Through Cold & Flu Season
Cold and flu season is upon us, and it’s time to get smart about protecting yourself and your baby. You’ll want to be extra careful from December to February, the peak time for illness.
Most people are surprised to learn that sickness is usually spread by you touching something (viruses live for many hours on counters, toys, escalator handrails, etc.) rather than by droplets in the air. Doorknobs, in fact, are crawling with germs. You enter the house, then unconsciously rub your eye or nose, and you may have just set yourself up…to get sick!
Steps to Protect Your Baby from Catching a Cold
Here are a few super-practical tips to keep sneaky germs away from your precious, new little human.
- Wash your hands…a lot! It’s your best defense and especially effective if you wash immediately upon returning home from public places. Regular soap does the trick (don’t use antibacterial soap, it contains harsh chemicals) but do scrub a good bit…friction helps to knock the bugs off your skin.
- Try not to touch public handles and doorknobs that many others touch.
- It’s fine to go out with your baby, but avoid crowds where there may be coughing/sneezing.
- Reduce visitors. With a newborn, it’s important to reduce your guests to very close family/friends and people who will help you cook or clean.
- Keep little kids out of your house as much as possible (they carry more colds).
- Hang a sign outside your door telling all visitors to immediately wash their hands and slip an oversized T-shirt over their clothes—keep a stack of clean ones by your front door—before they hug you and cover you with the germs that are glommed on their hands/clothes from their kids at home.
- Breastfeed if you can.
- Have everyone get the flu shot and make sure your baby has all the other routine vaccinations, too!
But if your child does fall ill, you’ll want to make sure she gets the rest she needs to kick her cold quickly.
4 Sleep Tips for Babies With Colds
Use any of the following to help your little patient sleep more comfortably:
1. Nose Washers. An odd but effective little remedy…Collect some breastmilk from your nipple with an eyedropper, then tip back your baby’s head and put a drop or two into his nostrils. (Breastmilk contains antibodies that can fight off colds!)
2. Nose Suckers. Babies only like to breathe through the nose, so thick boogers can make them go ballistic. To clear the nose of mucus, I suggest first swaddling with the arms securely down, then putting a drop of your breastmilk or saline nose drops (sold at any drug store) in one nostril, and then using a nose sucker/nasal bulb syringe, to suck out the water…and loosened mucus. (Then, repeat on the other side.)
3. Slight Elevation for Sleep. Ask your doctor about elevating the head of your baby’s bed—1-2inches—to help your baby breathe easier. With SNOO Smart Sleeper, you can do this easily with our special Leg Lifter accessory. With a standard bassinet, ask your doctor how to safely elevate your baby’s head.
4. Humidifiers. Cool mist humidifiers are a must-have to keep mucous loose—especially if you live in a dry climate or high altitude. Remember to use distilled water and clean your humidifier.