Cold and cough in infants are common and as a mother, I know how difficult it can be for the baby. The first time Little Miss A caught a cold, it was a state of panic because she was a few months old and could not even convey her problem.
Indian home remedies for cold and cough in infants have always been my first and preferred choice to treat common ailments. Our kitchen has many things which are not only effective but safe and have no side effects like many medicines.
Why Indian Home Remedies for Cold and Cough in Infants?
It is very common for babies to catch a 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 is the land of Ayurveda and 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.
If you find home remedies safer and effective, the post, Remedies for Common Ailments for Your Child is a helpful source of information.
Coming back to home remedies for cold and cough for babies. When it is about an infant or a baby, 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 a few of the most effective and simple Indian home remedies for cold and cough in infants and babies.
Indian Home Remedies for Cold and Cough in Infants
Following are the simplest and most effective home remedies for cold and cough in babies under 6 months of age. During the first 6 months of a baby’s life, they are only in breastfeed or formula feed and thus, nothing can be given orally to them.
Camphor as a home remedy for cold and cough in babies is effective but needs extra care and precaution since certain kids are allergic to camphor. Thus, it is recommended that a very mild quantity should be used.
The best way to use it is to 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 infant.
This is a magic potion to cure a 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 that 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. With different ways to use, this provides instant relief to blocked nose.
Breast milk has all the essential nutrients that not only increase the baby’s immunity but also remove the bacteria and viruses from the infant’s system. If the baby has a cold, you can increase the feeding and let the baby sleep for long hours. The more they rest, the faster is the recovery.
If you are not able to breastfeed your baby, do not feel guilty. The post on Pressure to Breastfeed explains why fed is best.
Ajwain or Carom Seed
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 the skin can resist.
Keep in mind, the baby’s 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 to see effective results.
Garlic is an amazing ingredient known for its antibacterial and antiviral properties. However, garlic cannot be eaten by a baby like adults and thus, it needs to be used through external means. Though it cannot be eaten it is one of the most effective Indian home remedies for cold and cough in infants.
The recommended way to use garlic is to 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 to clear the baby’s blocked nose.
Mustard oil has been a favorite ingredient for massage in babies. My mother used this for me since I was an infant and now I use this for my daughter and have seen effective results in two days.
The way I use it is to heat the 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.
Remedies for babies above 6 months of age
Once the baby turns 6 months old, they start solids. Starting solids is a big milestone for a baby and has to be done gradually. The following home remedies for cold and cough for babies are effective who are drinking water and are on solids.
If you want help to introduce solids to your little one, the post, A Comprehensive Guide to Introducing Solid Foods to Your Baby will be useful.
Let us list down some home remedies for cold and cough for babies:
Intake of warm water will keep the body hydrated and also help in removing the congestion in the chest and cure the sore throat. This remedy is the simplest and the best for babies and adults.
Okra or Ladyfinger
Okra or ladyfinger have a probiotic effect on the baby’s body and help to eliminate mucus and reduce inflammation and throat irritation. 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 is a very effective home remedies for cold and cough for babies and also for some other ailments.
The easiest way to give it to a baby is by mixing it in milk. 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 a cure cold and cough. I am sure tulsi tea is offered to you too when you are suffering from an infection.
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 a cold and cough but also increases your baby’s immunity and is one of the best home remedies for cold and cough for babies and adults too.
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 a similar fashion as you would feed ajwain water.
Remedies for babies above 1 year of age
As babies grow they can be given more things as their digestive system is stronger. While the Indian home remedies for cold and cough in infants and babies are very effective at this age too, some more are mentioned below:
Kaada or Ginger Drink
This is the magic potion that I still vouch for whenever I catch a cold and is one of the best home remedies for cold and cough for 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. This should be strained and should be consumed warm.
Lemon has antibacterial properties, acts as an antiseptic and is a storehouse of vitamin C (an essential vitamin to cure a 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 a cold to see the effectiveness.
Tips That Can Help Apart from Home Remedies for Cold and Cough for Babies
- 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 their head slightly elevated. This lets the baby breathe easy and get a comfortable sleep.
As a mother, I swear by home remedies for cold and cough for babies. They are simple, work well and of course, have no side effects as they are natural. Let me know which is the home remedy that you find the most effective.