Facts And Tips For Handling A Newborn Cold

Newborn Cold

A newborn cold can be caused by any of approximately 200 viruses. Your newborn baby has only the very beginnings of a strong immune system. So, it is not surprising that new born babies are susceptible to catching colds. They only develop an immunity to one virus at a time.

If your baby is born during winter times, he is even more likely to go down with a cold as central heating can dry out the mucus membranes and make it easier than usual for the cold virus to get a hold. That being said, immunity from the child's mother should carry over for the first 6 months - it just depends if she has already encountered the particular viruses involved.

Newborn cold symptoms

A runny nose
Mucus will be clear at first but will thicken and turn to grey or even green or yellow. Your baby may cough if he is a little older and may well have a slight rise in temperature. It he eats more or less normally or just a little less, a cold is almost certainly the cause. If the problem is flu, the onset will be more sudden and the baby may also have diarrhea or vomiting.

A blocked nose or cough before a fever develops is usually a clear sign of a cold. Runny noses may have other causes such as an allergy, but in that case there may be itchy eyes and/or a rash and the mucus will remain thin and runny.

When most of us have a cold we turn to over the counter remedies, but these are not suitable for children under two years old. And anyway, while they may relieve symptoms, they are not a cure. The FDA says that they can be dangerous and there is little evidence that they are of any effect.


My pediatrician friend has a saying: A cold takes about 2 weeks to clear without taking medicine and roughly 14 days if you do take any medicine

My grandmother used to say 'Treat a cold and it will be over in a week. Leave it alone and it will be gone in a week' which is one of those silly sayings that actually contain a lot of wisdom. So be patient and eventually the virus will be overcome.


Trust your instincts

You know your baby better than anyone else - even the medical experts. You know how your baby usually behaves. If you believe or even suspect that the problem is more serious than just a cold get medical advice. Just remember though that most colds are just that and will soon be over.


Try also to clear your baby's nose before a feed begins as a blocked nose can make it very difficult for a baby to fix on the nipple for his feed.


Keep in mind that even newborn colds are highly contagious and the virus can be coughed or sneezed, but also carried on hands or objects such as shared toys or a shopping trolley. You cannot totally protect your baby from invisible viruses so, though we all feel bad when a child in our care is ill, guilt should not be involved.

As your child gets more mobile he will be exposed to many more germs or different types - but his immune system is developing day by day and most of them will pass him by unharmed.

Tips for handling newborn colds

For a stuffy nose wash out the nostrils with saline drops and then suck away any mucus. Your baby won't like this, but it will make him less stuffed up.

Another tip is to use a bath decongestant. If possible use a cool mist vaporizer in his room -  even a bowl of cold water placed somewhere safe will ease the dryness caused by central heating. I can remember this working when my sister was tiny.

Make sure your baby gets adequate fluids. If the baby's temperature rises above 100oF call your doctor. And if a 'cold' lasts more than a week do the same. Sometimes colds are associated with ear pain so if the baby is tugging her ear this should be investigated as should any wheezing or gasping.

Almost any newborn cold is soon over and baby will again be their sunny selves. And so will you.

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