Any parent would tell you that having a sick child at home is no joke. Babies are distressed while parents struggle to provide comfort and relief.
For more serious cases, parents should seek medical attention immediately. Otherwise, there are home remedies that might help deal with common ailments.
1. For coughs and nasal congestions
A remedy for coughs and nasal congestions is to get your baby to inhale warm air. For this, you can either use a humidifier or a cool mist vaporiser. If you have neither, run a warm bath in a steamy bathroom and hold your bubs in there for about 15 minutes.
For nasal congestions, saline solution can be applied using a bulb syringe. The saline solution softens the mucus, making it easier to extract using the bulb syringe. Do this no more than a few times daily to avoid irritating the nasal lining. Also avoid using saline drops more than four days in a row as it can dry out the nose and make things worse.
For babies, you can also try saline drops instead. Squirt a small amount into the nostrils before wiping gently with a cotton swab. But do not insert the swab into the nostril. When children are too young to know how to blow their noses, this can be a useful method.
2. For fevers
When a fever hits, you can provide relief to your baby with a tepid lemon bath. Prepare the bath by slicing a lemon over a bowl of lukewarm water. When ready, sponge the face and body. The cooling properties of lemon and the evaporating water can help to reduce the fever. It’s advisable to keep within 30 minutes each time and stop when shivering occurs or if the child turns blue.
Fevers and flus dehydrate the body, so it’s important to keep your child hydrated. Good options include breast or formula milk and warm, clear fluids like chicken soup or broth. Warm liquids are generally very soothing and can help to relieve congestion.
A fever indicates that the immune system is working as the body battles an infection. However, it is important to monitor your child’s condition especially if he or she is less than three months old. Look out for any accompanying symptoms that may be abnormal. These include vomiting, lethargy, rash, breathing difficulty, decreased urine output or abdominal discomfort.
3. For stomach woes
Babies are frequent victims of gassiness, which causes tummy aches. If you are a breastfeeding mother, it might be a good idea to examine your diet. Is your diet full of dairy products, wheat, eggs, beans and vegetables like cabbage? Or caffeine, chocolate and spices? Try eliminating each of these food groups to see if the situation improves.
On a different end of the spectrum lies constipation. If your baby is having trouble pooping and stools are hard, try mixing prunes into the food you are feeding them. The laxative effect comes from a high level of sorbitol that prunes contain.
When the stomach is feeling poorly, one of the most comforting things to have is a warm compress. Wrap a hot water bottle in a soft towel and tuck it next to your baby to cuddle or use it to warm the bed before sleep. It also works as a counter against chills and even earaches by placing it next to the affected area.
Or prepare a camomile infusion by steeping two to three camomile tea bags in a bowl of hot water. Then soak a cotton cloth in the infusion and wring it. Place the cloth on your baby’s stomach, making sure that it’s warm and not hot. Cover up and keep in place for 10 to 15 minutes. To keep it warm, you can use a hot water bottle.
As with all things related to baby’s health, always consult your paediatrician when in doubt!