After 6 kids, one who was hospitalized with RSV, I’ve learned how to treat babies and toddlers with cold congestion. Sick babies and little kids are hard? Why? Because there isn’t much you can do to help them feel better and get better faster. But that’s actually not true. You can help your baby get symptom relief and get better faster with simple tools.
It’s that time of year again, and my 2-year-old is pretty sick again. He’s got a cold with a very congested nose and a nasty congested cough. Treating him made me remember how hard it was to find relief when I had sick babies. I’d go shopping for medicine only to find out there were very few options for babies and kids under 2. Can you relate?!
I’ve been a mommy for over 20 years now with 6 kids, and I’ve learned a few good ways to help babies and kids who are sick. I hope this post helps your baby or toddler get relief and get back to health!
How to Treat Babies and Toddlers (0 – 3 years old) With Cold Congestion
When my first child was only 2 weeks old he got RSV and had to be hospitalized to get his oxygen levels up. I was a pretty naive young mother and had no clue what RSV was… I learned the hard way!
Little RSV tangent… BTW, be very cautious letting people hold your baby, and don’t them kiss your baby especially on the hands or face… I asked anyone who wanted to hold mine if they were sick at all, then to wash their hands first and then I asked them to be careful not to breathe on my baby… That may sound overboard, but if you’ve had a baby with RSV you understand.
While my 2 week old was in the hospital for RSV, I learned a few things from the nurses caring for him, and those lessons have blessed the 5 kids who came later!
Saline Drops Help Eliminate Nasal Cold Congestion
Saline drops for babies almost melt snot and hard buggers in their noses! I know it sounds gross and I never thought I’d say the word “bugger” on my blog, but sick babies and kids have them, and don’t know how to blow their nose! When kids and babies can’t breathe through their nose they can’t nurse, they can’t sleep well and they are cranky!
First, put a drop of baby nose drops into your baby’s nose… Little Remedies Brand Saline Drops and Saline Mist) Your baby or toddler can be sitting up so that the saline drop doesn’t go down their throat. Then quickly use a nose bulb or aspirator to suck the saline drop and snot out of their nose!
This might be a bit of a fight, but carefully take control and get it done. Your child will feel so much better when they can breathe through their nose… It’s worth the struggle.
Help Babies With Cold Congestion – Nose Bulbs
The hospital usually sends you home with a green or blue nose bulb that they used to clear your baby’s nose after you gave birth… TAKE THAT HOME! Nose bulbs are priceless to clear the airways so they can breathe, and they work 100x’s better with saline drops first!
I’ve upgraded now to the electric nose aspirator… It works awesome! Don’t get me wrong, my 2-year-old still doesn’t like it, but it works great!
Humidifiers Help Kids with Colds Feel Better Faster!
When my son was being treated in the hospital for RSV they put a plastic tent over him with a cool-mist humidifier in it over him. The humidifier was positioned so the mist of cool moisture fell right on him. The moisture in that air helped his nose and sinuses stay moisturized because RSV (and other viruses) dry them out making it harder to expel mucus in the nose and chest.
NOW when my kids (or I) and sick with a cold and congestion, I position a small to medium-sized humidifier to mist over them while they sleep in the bed. I have a chest of drawers next to their beds and put the humidifier on that so the cool mist falls on them as they sleep. I really like the Vicks humidifiers now and the eucalyptus vapor.
It seems like my kids start getting better the day after they had the humidifier on them at night! It helps them get better much faster, and helps them sleep better when they’re sick!
I buy a new cool-mist humidifier every year because the hard water builds up in them.
Hot Showers Losen Nasal Congestion
When little kids are really congested and you need extra help getting snot out of their nose, Take a hot shower with them! Hold your child securely (babies are slippery) up high where the steam is, and let them breathe it in for like15 minutes. Then bulb their nose in the shower! This helps calm your child and loosen nasal congestion so it comes out good with a nose bulb or aspirator.
Cupping Their Back Losens Chest Congestion
From our RSV experience, I also learned to cup my hand and pat my son’s back (while he was laying on his stomach) to loosen mucus. The vibration made by lightly cupping (they also have rubber cupping tools) on his back, or the back of his lungs, helped to loosen congestion.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil Helps Breathing
The main smell in Vicks vapor rub is eucalyptus. There are so many ways eucalyptus helps you when you have a cold!
- I don’t know if it actually helps open nasal passageways, but it sure feels like they open more from breathing in eucalyptus vapors!
- Calms the nervous system.
- Relaxes blood vessils and helps circulation.
- Decreases mucus.
- Expand the bronchi and bronchioles of your lungs.
Do your own research, and you will see that eucalyptus oil is awesome for anyone with colds.
I rub eucalyptus oil on my kids’ feet and put a few drops on their pajama shirts (just on their neckline) so they can breathe it in. I also put Eucalyptus oil on the vapor pad in their humidifier.
Hyland’s Cold & Mucus Releif Daytime & NightTime Syrup (2 years and up)
As soon as your toddler is 2 years old, they can have Hylands cold and mucus syrup… Honestly, I started my son on this the winter before he turned 2. (His birthday is in January, and I started giving him this a couple of months before he turned 2.) This is a very mild homeopathic over-the-counter medicine. Don’t expect miracles here, but it definitely helps loosen congestion so they can cough up mucus. It also seems to help relieve nasal congestion.
Source Naturals Childrens Wellness Immune Chewables
These are labeled for kids 4 and up, but my 2-year-old gets them too. I buy the adult tablet version of these for me and give my littles the chewables especially through the cold season.
Raw Honey For Toddlers Over The Age Of 1 Year
I was frustrated with my sons’ painful coughing when he was 2, nothing was working. So I scoured the store shelves for something he could take to help suppress his cough. The only thing I found for a child even close to my sons’ age was labeled for 4-year-olds. But before I gave it to him I talked to our Friend, Dr. Elam.
I asked if it was ok for me to cut the dose in half and give it to my 2-year-old. And, I was surprised by his answer! He said no, it could hurt his kidneys, and then he told me about raw honey!
Dr. told me that several big studies have been done on the most effective cough suppressant ever… RAW HONEY. He said RAW honey was a super powerful cough syrup if given by the teaspoon or tablespoon… SO I TRIED IT! Guess what? Raw honey is AWESOME cough syrup! It worked like a charm and my 2-year-old was over the cough in a couple of days!
*CAUTION – Raw honey is NOT SAFE for babies under 1-year-old!
One Note on How to Treat Babies and Toddlers (0 – 3 years old) With Cold Congestion
If your child has asthma or croup, or another disease, you will need to take them to a pediatrician. Asthma, croup, and other illnesses may require a different treatment. My son had croup way too often, and his pediatrician said it was because his airway was soft and he would grow out of it, which he did.
Thanks for visiting me at Farmhouse Harvest… I really hope this article helps you get cold symptom relief for your baby or toddler! You may also be interested in how to help your kids achieve goals!