It is very common for babies to catch cold in the early days and given the fact that as a parent you cannot give any medication without a proper consultation from a pediatrician, the situation leaves you in a state of panic. This is especially true when the cold and cough lingers for more than a day. India being the land of Ayurveda, we have various remedies to treat cold and cough and not just depend on medication which has plenty of side effects. We have seen our mothers and aunts treating the babies at home with natural remedies to cure several common ailments like cold, cough, a running nose, loose-motion etcetera. Needless to say, we as adults also resort to many home remedies when we feel the medication is not affecting as expected. Turmeric milk for common cold, refrigerated cold milk to cure acidity, ginger and tulsi drink for a sore throat and many such remedies are commonly used in Indian households. However, when it comes to babies, one should be careful in providing home remedies too since the ones which work well for a grown up adult may not be suitable for a baby given their developing digestive system. Let’s have a look at few of the home remedies for the most common type of ailment that a baby suffers from in India- cold and cough.
Remedies for toddlers
This needs extra care and precaution since certain kids are allergic to camphor and thus, a very mild quantity should be used. Heat coconut oil and mix a small pinch of powdered camphor. Let this mixture cool down. Put few drops of this mixture on your palms and gently massage the chest of your toddler.
This is a magic potion to cure cold not only in babies but also in adults and frequently used by me for my little one. Eucalyptus oil contains eucalyptol or cineole which is an antiseptic, flavonoids which are plant based antioxidants and tannins which aids in reducing inflammation. These chemical components impart the eucalyptus oil its healing properties. You can add one or two drops of this essential oil into a humidifier and let the baby inhale the steam. You can also sprinkle the oil on the baby bedding. Alternatively, you can also rub this on the baby’s feet before putting him to sleep.
Breast milk has all the essential nutrients that not only increases the baby’s immunity but also removes the bacteria and viruses from the infants system. Increase the feeding and let the baby sleep for long hours. The more she rests, the quicker she will be relieved of the cold.
Ajwain potli or carom seed ball helps relieve the congestion in the baby’s chest. Put some ajwain on a cotton cloth and make it into a potli or ball. Heat a pan and place the potli on it enough to make it warm that a skin can resist. Keep in mind, the baby skin is very sensitive and the warmth that your skin can tolerate may not be tolerable for the baby. Use this potli on the baby’s chest and cover the entire chest. Repeat this for two to three days so see effective results.
Garlic is an amazing ingredient known for its antibacterial and antiviral properties. However, garlic cannot be easily digested by a baby like adults and thus, it needs to be used through external means. Roast ajwain and 2 cloves of garlic and make a potli or a ball using a soft cotton fabric. Keep this next to the baby when he sleeps. The aroma of ajwain and garlic will help clearing the baby’s blocked nose.
Remedies for babies above 6 months of age
Intake of warm water will keep the body hydrated and also help in removing the congestion in the chest and cure the sore throat.
Okra or Ladyfinger
Okra or ladyfinger have a probiotic effect on the baby’s body and help to eliminate mucus and reduce the inflammation and throat irritates ion. Cut the okra into small pieces and put it in a cup of boiling water and let this steep for about ten minutes. Let the mixture cool. This water can be fed to the baby in sips throughout the day.
Turmeric milk soothes the body and helps in removing the mucus and keeps the body warm. Take a small cup of milk and add a pinch of turmeric and bring this to a boil. Let this cool to an extent which a baby can comfortably drink. This works better when given an hour or two before bedtime.
Tulsi or Basil
Tulsi is the favorite ingredient in every Indian household to cure cold and cough. You can either make a paste of tulsi or boil it in water and add honey to it and feed this in small quantities to the baby.
Spice Flavored water
Boil a tablespoon of Ajwain or jeera (cumin seeds) in water and let this cool down enough for your baby to drink. Make your baby drink this water at regular intervals throughout the day. This not just helps in curing cold and cough but also increases your baby’s immunity.
Carrot juice is known to cure whooping cough. It is loaded with antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. Blend a carrot and strain the juice and add it to warm water. Feed it to the baby in similar fashion as you would feed ajwain water.
Remedies for babies above 1 year of age
Kaada or Ginger coffee
This is the magic potion that I still vouch for whenever I catch cold. The same can be fed to the babies. Boil 1 cup of water and add 1 clove, 1 cardamom, 1 pepper pod, 2 to 3 basil leaves, and two small slices of ginger to this. Let this boil for over 5 minutes. Strain and should be consumed warm.
Mustard oil has been a favorite ingredient for massage in babies. I have used this for my daughter and have seen effective results in two days. Warm mustard oil (do not boil), add crushed garlic and ajwain seeds or kalonji to it as you would do to season the lentils. Use this mixture to massage the chest and feet of the baby.
Lemon has antibacterial properties, acts as an antiseptic and is a storehouse of vitamin C (an essential vitamin to cure cold). Squeeze half lemon and add a teaspoon of honey and add sufficient water to it. Feed this to your baby at regular intervals.
Cinnamon has antioxidant, antifungal and antibacterial properties. Powder the cinnamon finely and add ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon to 1 teaspoon of honey. Feed this to your baby every four hours. Use this mixture during the early signs of cold to see the effectiveness.
Tips That Can Help
- Keep the baby warm.
- Sanitize your hands before you touch the baby. Keep a bottle of sanitizer next to the crib or bed.
- Consult a pediatrician if your little one has the following symptoms:
– Running nose with thick greenish or yellowish mucus.
– Severe cough with yellowish or greenish discharge
– High temperature
– Difficulty in swallowing and inflamed tonsils.
- Make your baby sleep with head slightly elevated. This lets the baby breathe easy and get a comfortable sleep.