How Can I Treat My Baby’s Cold Naturally?

It's that time of year! The weather changes and so many kids get sick. Here are a few natural cold remedies for babies.

Natural Cold Remedies for Babies

Natural and holistic cold remedies for newborns are being used by more parents because of the risks associated with common over-the-counter cold medicine. The biggest issue with colds stem from a stuffed-up sneezer. And when your baby’s nose is blocked by mucus...everyone suffers! That’s why most natural cold remedies for babies focus on helping your baby to breathe comfortably.

How can I unblock my baby’s nose naturally?

Nose Washers to Unblock a Newborn's Nose

A saline nose wash can be helpful to clear out a baby’s blocked nose. Or use breastmilk! Sounds weird, but it works! Collect some breastmilk from your nipple with an eyedropper, then tip back your baby’s head and put a drop or two into their nostrils. (Breastmilk contains white blood cells and antibodies that can fight off colds!)

Nose Suckers as a Baby Home Remedy to Ease Nose Congestion

Babies breathe out of their nose, so they hate when it's filled with mucus. I suggest swaddling first, putting a drop of saline nose drops (sold at any drug store) or breastmilk in the nose, and then using a nose sucker/nasal bulb syringe, to suck out the water…and loosened mucus.

Humidifiers to Help With Baby Cold Symptoms

Cool mist humidifiers are a must-have to keep mucus loose—especially if you live in a dry climate or high altitude. Remember to use distilled water and clean your humidifier.


Natural Cold Remedies for Babies to Help With Cough

If your baby has a cough and is under 6 months old, always give your doctor a call—especially if the cough started during your little one’s first weeks of life. 

As far as cough home remedies go, your best bet is to keep your baby hydrated, help them get as much rest as possible, and to use a cool-mist humidifier. Babies can’t yet take cold medicine (in fact, cough medicine isn’t approved for kids under 6 years!), and they’re too young for natural remedies like honey (NEVER give a baby honey before 1 year) or chest rubs (not recommended under 2 years). 

Other Home Remedies to Ease Cold Symptoms in Newborns

Because babies are still too young for cold remedies like medicine and chest rubs, the above home remedies are your best option. Otherwise, do your best to keep them hydrated with breastmilk or formula and keep them comfy so they can rest up and get healthy. To promote good sleep, I recommend using a swaddle (for babies who have not yet shown signs of rolling) and white noise, which helps lull little ones to sleep and can help distract little ones from minor disturbances…like a stuffed-up sneezer. 

Things to Consider When Your Baby Has a Cold

The good news is that colds are a very normal part of a baby’s life…the bad news is that little ones average eight colds a year! That means that it’ll take some patience on your part to dole out cold home remedies and keep your bub comfortable while they get healthy. Of course, never hesitate to reach out to your provider for advice! If a fever accompanies a cough or your baby seems to be struggling to breathe, definitely give your child’s pediatrician a ring! 

More on Helping Babies With Colds and Coughs:

About Dr. Harvey Karp

Dr. Harvey Karp, one of America’s most trusted pediatricians, is the founder of Happiest Baby and the inventor of the groundbreaking SNOO Smart Sleeper. After years of treating patients in Los Angeles, Dr. Karp vaulted to global prominence with the release of the bestselling Happiest Baby on the Block and Happiest Toddler on the Block. His celebrated books and videos have since become standard pediatric practice, translated into more than 20 languages and have helped millions of parents. Dr. Karp’s landmark methods, including the 5 S’s for soothing babies, guide parents to understand and nurture their children and relieve stressful issues, like new-parent exhaustion, infant crying, and toddler tantrums.

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.