Achoo!
Living and Loving|June 2018

Enough with the seasonal sneezes already. Here’s how to speed your little one through a cold…

Katie Masters /bauer Syndication

Now you’ve got a child, you’re probably familiar with a certain sound: aaaa-tishoo! “Colds are common viral infections in children under the age of three,” says paediatrician Dr Katie Rogerson. “At this age, children are still building up their immune system, so they catch more colds than older children.” If you feel it takes ages for your little one to fight off that cold, you’re not wrong: “While older people tend to shake off colds in about a week, it takes up to 14 days for little ones to stop sneezing,” adds Katie.

The good news is that every cold your child catches kick-starts his immune system and helps to build it up. So, while colds might be annoying right now, by the time your little one starts school, he’ll be able to fight off many of the germs that come his way.

“And, in the meantime, there are plenty of simple things you can do to keep your little one comfortable – even when he’s streaming snot!” says Katie.

Prioritise hydration

One of the ways your youngster’s bodyfights off the infection is to keep the soft tissues healthy by making them extra moist. This means his body is using lots of liquid, so it helps if you can keep him well hydrated when he has a cold. This can be tricky, because a blocked nose makes drinking milk extremely difficult. “You may find that your baby wants to feed more often, but only has a little bit at every feed,” say Katie. “Babies breathe through their noses so, if he’s trying to feed when he’s bunged up, it can be hard. If you’re breastfeeding, your little one may pull away much more than normal and then want to re-attach. If you’re bottle-feeding, make sure your baby is in a position in which he can pull away from the bottle whenever he needs to.” All this popping on and off your boob or the bottle can mean he swallows more air than usual, so spend plenty of time winding him afterwards. Your little one might also find the sensation of swallowing when he’s got a blocked nose an unsettling experience. You’ll need to be patient while he deals with this, too. It will also help your child if you feed him in a slightly more upright position, so he doesn’t get any excess mucus running into his mouth.

Relax the food rules

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