You May be the Cause of your Baby’s Cold!
Close contact with your baby while breastfeeding, bathing, rocking him to sleep, and playing baby games could result in baby catching a cold from you!
Until age two, children do not have fully developed immunity defense mechanisms to fight the cold viruses in the air. They tend to become sick every time their bodies are learning to fight a particular virus. Your baby’s early years may be filled with memories of a runny and crusty nose, sneezing, coughing, and fever. Hygiene is especially important as baby is developing. For example, kissing and touching baby could be the point of transferring an infection. So, if family members or guests are unwell, do request them to visit after they are well, or if they are visiting, to not handle baby. While using a hand sanitizer is a great first step, do remember that baby can also catch an infection even from the air she breathes.
What causes the common cold?
The common cold, which has other ominous aliases such as nasopharyngitis, acute viral rhinopharyngitis, and acute coryza, is a viral, infectious disease of the upper respiratory system, caused primarily by the rhinovirus and coronavirus.
How can parents tell the difference between a common cold and a more serious issue?
A cold usually leaves a baby cranky and irritable with lower energy levels than usual. Baby may not respond positively to stimulation that usually makes her happy. A runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing, and a mild sore throat is to be expected. Baby may eat less, and while she might sleep more than usual, the sleep may be disturbed and not restful. Colds can sometimes cause a low grade fever.
Your baby’s heartbeat is the best indicator of the seriousness of her illness. If the child has a respiratory rate greater than the rates listed below, it is possible that baby is suffering from an illness other than the common cold.
- Birth to 2 months – respiratory rate >60/minute
- 2 months to 1 year – respiratory rate >50/minute
- 1 year to 5 years – respiratory rate >40/minute
Babies and children of all ages should see a doctor if the cold seems to be causing more serious problems. Call your doctor or take your child to the emergency room if you notice any of the following signs:
- Breathing is too rapid, or baby seems to be working too hard to breathe.
- Lips look blue.
- Coughing is so bad that baby is choking or vomiting.
These can be signs of pneumonia, a lung infection or an infection of the tiny airways that lead to the lungs. These symptoms should be evaluated by a doctor.
Kaumarabhritya, Ayurveda’s branch of pediatrics, details care for both mother and baby. Illness in babies can be prevented through a healthy diet and lifestyle, as well as by using medicinal herbs and spices. Herbs can strengthen the immune system and support the health of children of all ages in a safe and holistic manner.
Precautions You Must Take if You are Lactating
The quality of your breast milk is important for the immunity and development of baby. Diet, activity, psychological factors, nutritional factors, ill-health, and diseases in the mother affect the quality of her breast milk. Ayurveda has a prescription for mothers who are lactating.
- Ayurveda prescribes recommendations about the temperature and portion size of meals. A diet consisting of animal fats, like pork and red meat, and alcohol can have an adverse effect on the quality of your breast milk. Overeating is strictly forbidden, and you should avoid stale, fermented, heavy, deep-fried, and overcooked food. Instead, opt for easily digestible foods like rice porridge flavoured with Long Pepper, Ginger, or Coconut Milk. Also on the recommended list is barley, rice, horse gram, and meat soups like chicken broth and mutton soup.
- Optimize overall breast health by avoiding trauma and infection to breast tissue.
- A regular postnatal body massage with medicated oils is highly recommended.
Simple Remedies for Baby’s Cold
- Some herbs have intrinsic anti-infective properties which can help to prevent repetitive infections. Ayurveda prescribes special herbal infusions to be mixed with baby’s bath water, including Sacred Fig, Banyan, Cinnamon, Cardamom, and Clove.
- Kaumarabhritya explains that a room exposed to the fumes of Neem, Mustard, Agar Wood, Rock Salt, and Clarified Butter can help create a protective environment for baby to breathe.
- Asafoetida, Mustard, Garlic, and Long Pepper are herbs and spices with really strong odours that help keep mosquitos, germs, and insects away. Place these herbs in a thin muslin cloth and suspend near baby’s cradle and room doors.
- Keep baby hydrated to flush out infection and toxins through urine. Giving baby water boiled with Ajwain (Caraway Seeds) will help with both colds and colic.
- Babies suffering from chest congestion can be given relief by elevating the upper half of their body (the head and chest) to a 45 degree angle.
- Be careful to lay baby where there is no breeze or blowing air. The atmosphere should be warm, with baby’s head and ears covered.
- Sprinkling a drop or two of natural essential oils like Eucalyptus on the bedsheet or around the bed can help baby breathe more easily.
The quality of your breast milk holds extraordinary importance for the growth and development of baby. A little care while lactating can gift baby with strong immunity and optimal health in the future!