Newborn Cold: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Chances are your baby’s first cold is coming this winter, and possibly even earlier. There are a few things you can do to minimize their discomfort. Knowing how to treat cold in infants could help keep those visits to the clinic to a minimum.

All newborns have some immunity to illness. However, they are still susceptible to viral infections since their immune systems haven’t fully matured yet. There are hundreds of viruses that cause a baby cold.

It sounds terrifying to a new parent, for sure. In reality, it’s not all that bad – most types of newborn cold help boost up a baby’s immunity. Nevertheless, don’t let your guard down.

An infant can catch a cold during all four seasons. On average, a newborn gets at least six to twelve infections before turning one year old.

The common cold in newborns is not dangerous, but it can potentially lead to croup or pneumonia. Being acquainted with newborn colds symptoms and baby cold remedies will help you take better care of your little one. So, what else is there to know?

The Life Cycle of a Cold – Symptoms

You can expect the first one to hit just as your tot adopts a feeding schedule and routine sleeping. There is no way to avoid it. It will come slow and last about 9 days.

Three Days Coming

Your child might have a slight decrease in appetite and seem fussier than usual during the first three days. They could even have a fever. It’s also the period when the child is contagious.

A rectal temperature higher than 100.4° means it’s time to call a pediatrician. Don’t hesitate. In case the little one is under one month, they could be admitted to the hospital.

The good news is: once your kiddo is a preschooler, colds will only cause slight increases in temperature. To get back to it – you will notice a runny nose on the second or third day. It indicates that your baby’s body is fighting back.

During this stage, the mucus runs constantly, having a thin and clear texture. Avoid trying to make the little one blow, as that will bother them even more than the slime itself.

Three Days Here

By now, the fever will probably go away. The kiddo could be less fussy and start eating better again. You could notice the mucus getting thicker and turning light yellow.

Around this time, the child may develop a cough. When an infant lies on their back, the cough response keeps the mucus out of their lungs. The response is set off when mucus starts dripping down the nasal passages to the back of the throat. As a result, your baby will have a difficult time sleeping.

Three Days Going

You know how sometimes houseguests linger for too long? Colds can be the same. During the last stage, the mucus becomes crusty and thickens even more. By now, the child will resume activity, eat well, and act normal in general.

happy healthy baby


According to Mary Ian McAteer, M.D, you should be extra cautious until your child has their first round of shots. They should come at two months.

Leave your newborn at home – it’s best for them to avoid crowded places. Here’s what you can do to prevent infections after those first two months:

Keep the Baby Close

Stay six feet from anyone who is coughing or sneezing, whenever you venture out. It’s also good to wear your little one in a carrier.

Having your kiddo attached to you is the best way of keeping strangers from touching their hands and face. In case you put the little one in a stroller, keep the canopy down. It wouldn’t hurt to cover it with a light blanket either.

Mind the Company

Don’t let guests recovering from a disease come and visit. Once they are fever-free for at least a day (without the help of fever reducers) and no longer have symptoms, they can come near the kiddo.

The chances of your baby getting a cold are higher when they are around small children. If your baby is around little kids, let them look at your baby, but no touching.

Suds Up

Make sure to wash your hands regularly. Plenty of germs like bouncing off from one place to the other using your hands. Every time you eat, use the bathroom, come in from a public place, or change a diaper – scrub for at least twenty seconds.

You’d want to prevent the bacteria from the stool making its way to your baby’s mouth. If it does end up there, it can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Put alcohol-based hand sanitizer close to the changing table and carry one in your bag at all times as well. Unless your hands are visibly dirty, hand sanitizers are just as effective as washing your hands.

Disinfect Surfaces

Keep a pack of sanitizing wipes on you at all times. Germs can live for hours on various objects, such as handles.

Keep Nursing

Severe ear and throat infections, as well as colds, are reduced by 63% in babies who breastfeed exclusively for 6 months, according to research. Infants who are breastfed are much less likely to get stomach bugs and come down with respiratory tract infections.

Take Precautions at the Doctor’s

It doesn’t matter if it’s a separate well waiting room, it’s likely filled with germs. To avoid a crowd of coughing kids, when scheduling your appointment, ask for the first or last slot of the day. If that’s not possible, ask to sit in the exam room with your child.

Boost Your Immunity

It’s not easy to get some shut-eye when caring for a newborn, but do what you can do get enough sleep. Nap during the day if you have to.

Make sure you are on a proper and healthy diet. Taking care of your body will boost your immune system. If you are 100% healthy, there are no illnesses you can pass to the little one.

Vaccinate on Time

There’s no better way to prevent illnesses such as chicken pox, meningitis, and measles than by vaccinating. Parents think these vaccines are not necessary because they don’t see these illnesses often. Well, it just means they are effective!

Many parents wonder whether it’s safe for an infant to get so many shots in such a short period of time. There’s no reason to worry. As concluded by a study from the Institute of Medicine, it’s absolutely safe.

woman sneezing

Your Shots Count Too!

This goes for mommies and expecting mommies. They need to get the flu and whooping cough (pertussis) shots. If a mother gets the flu vaccine during pregnancy, she passes the antibodies to the fetus.

When the baby’s out of the womb, the effects should last them for about 6 months. That’s just long enough to help protect them until they get their first flu shot at six months.

Flu in newborns is much more serious than in adults. It can be fatal. The symptoms an adult experiences, such as nausea and low-grade fever, are minor in comparison.

Pregnant women should get shots against whooping cough between 27 and 36 weeks, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That way, an expectant mommy cannot pass the disease to their unvaccinated baby. Make sure that everyone in your child’s circle is immunized.

Is there a magic infant cold treatment?

There’s no such thing as a quick cure for the common cold. The best you could do is seek additional advice from your doctor on how to get rid of baby cold and how to make it easier on your child. A lot of antiviral medications aren’t approved for infants, and antibiotics don’t work against viruses.

Most specialists don’t recommend giving decongestants to infants. Non-prescription cough medicine is also out of the question. It’s not recommended for kids under 14.

When to Call a Pediatrician?

You still might be worried whether you will recognize your first baby cold and know when to take action, especially if it’s your first child.

  • If any of these symptoms occur, it’s time to call your family doctor.
  • If your baby has poor color, not reacting to you, is listless, or if you just feel something is not right.
  • If they are refusing to drink from a bottle or to nurse, pulling or patting on the ear, or crying much more than usual
  • If your older child has a headache for more than five days, or a worsening headache accompanied by a stiff neck, a worsening cough, or a high fever for more than five days
  • If they are having trouble breathing or the cough is getting worse
  • If you suspect they have flu, especially if the cough and high fever last for more than three days. Any newborn under three months must be seen by a doctor.


Don’t forget – colds are common in newborns. Even nursing infants get them. They aren’t’ serious, in most cases, but make sure to get a doctor if you think something is fishy.

Don’t hesitate to do so if your baby is under two or three months old. Equipped with the right tips on how to treat cold in infants, you’ll be able to help minimize your baby’s discomfort.


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