What comfort and feeding support can I give to my sick baby?
It can sometimes be harder on the parents than the child when your baby is sick. It can seem like your baby is sick nearly every month of their first year of life as they build their immune system.
If your baby is behaving normally but has less interest in nursing or eating, lots of rest and fluids will often help for colds.
- Fluids can come in the form of breastmilk or formula for nursing infants, water for those over 6 months of age, and foods such as chicken soup, broths, and/or smoothies for those who are older.
- Fruits that are high in water and vitamin content include apple sauce, melons, and oranges.
- Pedialyte can also be helpful but if you have concerns about dehydration and lethargy, see a doctor.
If your older baby has a sore throat, cool drinks or popsicles can also be a treat. For those over 1 year of age, a teaspoon of pasteurized honey helps suppress coughs and is safer than over the counter cough and cold medications. Source: Honey for treatment of cough in children from the College of Family Physicians of Canada
To prevent a rash below the nose from constantly wiping away mucus from a runny nose, apply some petrolatum jelly (vaseline) to protect the skin. "Snot suckers" or saline rinses can also be used carefully.
A cool-mist humidifier also improves congestion and keeps the nostrils moist from nosebleeds and frequent nose-blowing.
If your older child has a gastrointestinal infection (stomach, diarrhea or bowel-related) infection, plain foods like bananas, rice, apples, and toast can help, in addition to warm fluids noted above. Don't worry too much about making exceptions like breakfast foods for dinner if that's what they feel like. Constant or projectile vomiting warrants a trip to the doctor.
Snuggle, read together, and keep activities light to allow plenty of rest for both you and your child.