And it’s that time of the year again! Without exaggeration Ruby brought home about 4 different colds and flues since October all accompanied by an awful cough. We took it in turns to life through the unpleasant experience. However, things aren’t so bad when you get to a certain age. As a responsible adult you can just dose yourself up with whatever the pharmacist will give you. A two-year-old has far less options.
I never knew that there were so many different types of cough for a start. It is a bit of an art-form to hear the subtle differences between a chesty and a tickling cough, since communication is limited with my little princess. I tried to explain to her what I meant by the expressions but after a good hour of laughter and a ‘yes’ to all my questions, I gave up.
About 20 websites later I felt reasonably sure that it makes no difference what kind of a cough it is, because the last thing you should give a child under the age of 4 is cough syrup! Who would have thought? Why is that stuff on the shelves if you are not meant to use it?!
Anyway, every cold and flu takes about 10 days to heal up. It doesn’t sound so bad, but I started to crack on day 5 of very little sleep and a constantly irritated child. So I started to go through all the suggestions.
Home-remedies for cough
Babies under 12 months:
- Steam: Turn on the shower for a few minutes on really hot so the bathroom fills up with steam. Bring a few toys and books and sit in your home-made steam-room for around 15 min. Get a humidifier or cool-mist vaporizer for your baby’s room. Just make sure you clean the humidifier every day, because bacteria and mold can grow in it very quickly.
- Bulb syringe and saline drops: You get them in every pharmacy. To be honest, I never really got the hang of it and it didn’t seem to be doing much for Ruby. I found a good video though, in the research of this post, which might bring you more success than me. Check out this link http://www.babycenter.com/2_how-to-use-a-bulb-syringe-to-clear-your-babys-mucus_10357065.bc
- Plenty of fluids and rest: This is a little easier when you breast feed, because the more your baby drinks the thinner your milk gets. Just be sure to drink plenty yourself. I breast- and bottle-fed. So we watered down the formula a bit too, my little monkey wasn’t very fussy when it came to her food and still isn’t. She also very good for drinking her water, even though she prefers cooled down fruit-tea.
- Chicken soup ( from 6 months on):There have been studies on it and they have proven that chicken soup can actually relieve cold symptoms such as aches, fatigue, congestion and even fever – even the canned version!
- Eliminating dairy: Dairy creates or adds to mucous production. Especially if the cough is wet and phlegmy. This is obviously almost impossible if your baby is less than 12 months old, don’t force it then.
Toddlers over 12 month:
- Elevating the head (from 12 months on): Place a slim Pillow or a few towels under to mattress of the crib while the little one is resting. Just be careful if you have a restless baby that tends to flip over in her/his bed. In that case this one isn’t a great option as the baby ends up with it’s legs elevated, defeating the purpose.
- Honey: It coats and soothes the throat. Just to make sure, not give it to a baby younger than 12 months, because in rare cases it can cause a disease called botulism in infants, which can be fatal. Try to find untreated, local honey, so all the good anti-inflammatory properties are still in it.
- Lemon juice: This is famous for it’s high Vitamin C content and will help your tots immune system. However, unless your child is like my little Ruby, who likes to suck on raw lemons, you will have to sweeten the deal. Mix 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice with a cup of warm water.
- Apple cider vinegar: I thought it was a bit of a funny notion that vinegar would help, but apparently the more alkaline our body is the easier it will fight colds and flues. Apple cider vinegar helps our bodies to keep our pH levels balanced.
- Thyme: It relaxes tracheal and ileal muscles, which are involved in coughing. It also reduces inflammation and headaches. Now, our local health-food store sells thyme tea.
- Cough buster thyme tea: I found this on ‘http://www.stepin2mygreenworld.com/healthyliving/cough-buster-thyme-tea/’.
Steep 2 tbsp of fresh thyme or 1 tsp of dried thyme in 235 ml of water and boil for about 10 minutes
Add: 1 tbsp of Manuka honey
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp of grated ginger
1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice
1 tsp of Cayenne pepper (optional, I left it out for Ruby)