With the arrival of a baby in the family, you will find that peace and comfort in your life are almost gone because these little ones have too many problems. When the monsoon starts, they immediately catch a cold and then, your nights will pass by looking at the stars. Babies become irritable when they are having a cold, cough or fever and that’s why you definitely want to avoid all the trouble.

natural remedies for cold

For relief from cold and cough, the first thing you might think about is the OTC medication available for treating your child, but if you know what damage they cause and how dangerous they are for your baby, you will definitely not even think about using them. Then what to give kids for a cough and cold other than medicines? Well, here you can find all the answers.

Why Not Use Medicines For Treatment Of Cough And Cold?

You might think it is an easy escape from all the trouble but medicines do a long-term damage to your baby’s delicate body. FDA forbids to use over the counter medicines for children under 2 years while a several cough and cold medicines are also labeled as not safe for children under 4 years. Any kind of decongestants is also not suggested for kids under 15 years. Medicine like Aspirin causes brain and liver to swell (Reye’s Syndrome) whereas, Acetaminophen (Tylenol) also damages the liver if taken frequently. There are four categories of a cough and cold medicines that are not recommended for children and infants:

  1. Cough Expectorants
  2. Cough Suppressants
  3. Decongestants
  4. Certain Antihistamines

child take medicine

Thus, if a medicine is available over the counter, it does not mean that it is also safe to use. Many cold medicines shrink membranes to decrease the nasal secretions. In addition to sleepiness, medicines like Benadryl can also cause agitation and hallucinations. There are no known cough medicines for toddlers or infants that are safe to use. However, you can use fever reducers like baby ibuprofen to decrease fever and pain but it is necessary to follow the instructions of the doctor. The best solution is to try home and natural remedies for treating cough and cold for babies.

Home Remedies To Treat Cough And Cold:

If your baby is showing the symptoms like a cough, sore throat, blocked nose, red eyes, sneezing, restlessness, running nose, mild fever and loss of appetite, you can treat her by following home remedies. You can try them as they are safe to use for babies. Although, you should take care that you don’t try all the remedies at once and also check for allergies as some kids are allergic to natural herbs. It is better to consult your pediatrician before trying anything new.

natural remedies for cough n cold

Elevate Baby’s Head:

(1 year+)

Even adults feel a relief to lift their head when they have a cold, for breathing easily. If your baby has a blocked nose, raise her head a little by putting an extra pillow under the head or cotton towels underneath the mattress. It will help her to breathe easily while sleeping.

Elevate Baby’s Head

Easy-to-swallow Food:

(1 year+)

A sore throat makes it difficult to eat anything. In addition, loss of appetite due to fever can make your child’s body weaker than before. So, serve her the food that is easy to swallow. It will help her if you give her liquid mostly, like chicken broth or soups. If it is hot outside, you can also give her ice-cream, ice pop, applesauce etc. Make it easy for her to eat so her body strength remains intact.


(4 years+)

Gargling is the oldest and most effective way to soothe a sore throat. Mix ½ tablespoon of salt in one cup of warm water and ask your child to hold this water in the back of her throat without swallowing it. Then, ask her to make sound with that water in the throat and spit it out. If you are trying this for the first time, you can make her practice a few times with plain water first.


(1 year+)

Honey contains natural antioxidants for a cough and throat infection. You can give your child ½ teaspoon of plain honey before bed, or you can also use honey in a solution with the ½ tablespoon of lemon juice and one cup of water. It is also helpful for treating cough and cold.


Cumin Seeds:

(1 year+)

Take one teaspoon of cumin seeds and one to two pieces of sugar candy and grate them to form a fine powder. Offer your child a pinch of this powder whenever he coughs.

Turmeric Milk:

(1 year+)

Turmeric powder is known for treating cough, cold and throat infection. You can make turmeric milk by boiling milk with the ⅛ teaspoon of turmeric powder, ¼ teaspoon of pepper powder and 2 tablespoons of palm sugar. Give this milk to your baby before bed.

Turmeric Milk

Mustard Oil:

(1 year+)

Mustard oil is effective in the treatment of the cold. Take one tablespoon of mustard oil and heat it for one minute with a clove of garlic and a pinch of ajwain powder. Filter the mixture using a strainer and massage the back and chest of your baby with this oil.

Ginger Tea:

(2 years+)

Ginger is capable of treating cold, cough, and congestion. It also increases body temperature because of which, phlegm melts. Take a half inch piece of ginger, wash it, peel off the skin and grind it. Then boil it in a cup of water for 5 minutes and strain the extract. Add ½ teaspoon of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of honey to it and give your child to drink it warm.

Ginger Tea

Garlic Water:

(1 year+)

Garlic has natural anti-common cold ingredients. It helps to increase immunity against cold and to decrease its symptoms. Boil a garlic clove in a cup of water. Strain the water and serve it warm.

Basil Leaves:

(1 year+)

Boil 8 to 10 basil leaves in 2 cups of water along with 2 to 3 peppercorns and ¼ teaspoon of cumin powder or seeds. Let it boil till the water becomes half (at least 5 to 7 minutes) and it will make a tea to drink warm. You can also add palm sugar for flavor.

basil leaves


Steam can also be a way to open your baby’s nose, but remember that children should not be given steam like adults. Instead, fill a bucket of hot steaming water. Keep the baby near the steam for 10 minutes. You can also sit in the bathroom with your little one near a bathtub filled with piping hot water for 10 minutes to make your baby inhale enough steam for easing her breath.

Natural Remedies For Infant’s Cold And Cough:

Moms often think if it is safe to use natural ingredients for infants as they are more susceptible to disease and allergy than older children. Sometimes, treatment of one infection or allergy leads to another allergy or infection. So, many parents are afraid to try anything new for their babies. Here are some of the natural remedies for infants’ cold, flu, and cough that are safe. You can also take help from your pediatrician before trying any of these treatments.


During the first six months of your baby, breast milk is the only treatment you can give your baby for every problem. Mother’s milk contains anti-infective products that will reduce the symptoms, severity, and length of disease in a baby. These products remain effective even after your child stops feeding on your milk. So, it’s the best way to treat cold in infants.

Wash Your Hands:

Germs spread through your hands when you interact with different people during the day. So, when you cuddle your baby, you transfer your germs to her, worsening the situation. Washing hands does not seem like a remedy but it can prevent your child’s condition from getting any severe. Also, keep a sanitizer by your bedside for guests who want to pick up your baby. You can also sanitize baby’s hands after you take her back if you have any doubts about your guest’s hands.

Wash Your Hands

Dress Your Baby Properly:

When your baby has got a cold, you should protect her chest from cold. So, dress her up accordingly. If it is winter, put layers of clothing on your baby to keep her warm. If it is already hot, make sure you don’t stuff her with clothes. You can use a onesie with a T-shirt on top as a dressing for summer. Using a blanket at night seems like a good idea but she may draw it over the head and suffocate.


If your baby has a dry cough, dry air will make it difficult for her to breathe. Install a humidifier in your bedroom to keep the air moist so your little one can breathe easily. Run the humidifier at night before sleeping. You should prefer the cool mist models than the steam ones and also make sure you follow the instructions on the device to prevent the molds.

Saline Drops:

Saline drops (nasal salt water) helps to decrease the symptoms of cold and flu. It is completely safe for infants. Clean your baby’s nose gently and put 5 to 6 drops in each nostril before feeding time. Keep her head tilted up so medicine doesn’t flow out. It softens the mucus and relieves her from the blocked nose making feeding time easier for her.

Saline Drops

Use A Bulb Syringe:

If you see a large piece of mucus at the tip of the nostril, you can remove it by using a bulb syringe. Some may suggest you to regularly use the syringe after putting saline drops in the nose but its routine use can cause swelling in the nasal lining leading to more congestion and discomfort. Thus, only use a bulb syringe when you really need to clean your baby’s nose.

Vicks Vaporub:

Rub it under your baby’s feet, on the chest and back. It will melt the mucus in her chest, open the airways and make your baby’s night peaceful. It is a safe and effective way to help your child when he cannot breathe.

Vicks Vaporub

Oil Massage:

Crush and chop a few garlic cloves and boil them in mustard oil until they are brown (take care not to burn them). Massage your baby’s neck, palms, chest, back and under feet. It will raise her body temperature and melt the phlegm.

Ajwain Pouch:

It will help to open your baby’s nose and ease her breathing as carom seeds (ajwain) have antibacterial and antiviral properties. Dry roast the carom seeds in the pan and add two cloves of garlic as well. When it cools, make a tight pouch by putting it in a clean cotton cloth. Rub that pouch on your baby’s chest (never on bare chest), back, palms and under feet. You can also put that pouch near her nose (in her crib) so she inhales the smell.

Ajwain Pouch

Basil Leaves:

Basil leaves are known to cure a cough, cold, fever throat infection, flu, and congestion. Since infants can’t drink basil leaf tea, you can take advantage of basil leaves’ antiviral and antibacterial properties by making a massage oil. Crush 5 to 6 leaves and add them to 2 to 3 teaspoons of warm coconut oil. Use this oil to massage on your baby’s chest, back and under feet while she’s sleeping.

How To Relieve Nighttime Cough?

Nighttime sleep is a blessing and if your kid has a cough, you will be disturbed more than when he has a fever or cold. It is frustrating for both, parents and the child because a cough increases at night. Some of the home remedies mentioned above can also be a blessing for your toddler coughing at night, such as:

    • Honey: For toddlers over two years, it is an effective cough Suppressant. Just mix two teaspoons of honey with lemon juice and give it to him before bedtime.
    • Vaporizer: Cool air vaporizer increases moisture in the air which reduces the risk of a cough.
    • Chest Rub: Rubbing baby’s chest with essential oils (for children six years above) or Vicks Vaporub (for younger children) will break up the nasal congestion and soothes a cough at night.


  • Cumin Powder: A pinch of grated cumin seeds with sugar candy will be a relief for coughing toddler at night.


  • Medical Help: Seek medical advice if a cough remains untreated after 2 days. Also, if your child coughs only at nights, it can be a symptom of Asthma, Sinusitis, Bronchitis or Croup etc. Take your child for a complete checkup to know the hidden cause of this cough.

When To See The Doctor?

You have to take your child to the doctor if:

  • Your 6 months or younger baby has a cold or a cough.
  • Baby rubs her ears
  • Blood in stools
  • Any signs of dehydration
  • Body temperature is more than 101°F
  • You notice green, brown or yellow mucus with a cough
  • Any of the problems (a cough, cold, fever, throat infection) persists for more than 3 days.
  • Baby vomits or poops after every two hours (diarrhea) and can’t keep anything in her stomach.

Points To Ponder:

  • If your baby has a mild fever, you can give her safe OTC medicines like baby ibuprofen or acetaminophen, but remember not to overdo it. Only opt for the medicine when your baby is in pain and strictly follow the dosage instructions on the medicine.
  • All kids are different and some may also be sensitive to certain ingredients. Make sure to check for allergies before trying any treatment.
  • If your kid is older, encourage him to use a handkerchief and wash his hands regularly.
  • When babies have a cold and cough, make sure they take enough rest. Infants should take 18 hours, while older children, minimum of 8 hours of sleep during the day.
  • Do not give honey to children younger than one year as it can cause Infant Botulism (a kind of food poisoning) in younger kids as their stomach is still weak.
  • Do not try any of the home remedies for children under 3 months as they cannot tolerate these ingredients.
  • Always consult with your baby’s pediatrician before introducing a new medicine or food to her diet.

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