Sinisipon at nilalagnat si baby? Don’t panic! As mom Imee Fronda points out, “Hindi kasi talaga maiiwasan ang colds and cough.”
“Remember that every person in the world has experienced having a fever,” reassures Dr. Luis P. Gatmaitan, a medical doctor who you may know from the Mga Kuwento ni Tito Dok series.
From Pinay moms who have gone through it and doctors with expert advice, here are a few things you can do to comfort your baby when he has a cold: 1. Get the right thermometer Monitor your child's temperature regularly. Needless to say, it will give you peace of mind. “Every hour ko chine-check temperature niya para agad ko maagapan ang nararamdaman niya,” says mom Jennifer Palomer, mom to 14-month-old Tyrone.
Dr. Carmina Arriola-Delos Reyes, a pediatrician and infectious disease specialist, recommends using an axillary (a.k.a. armpit) thermometer for kids. With an axillary thermometer, a reading above 37.5 °C is considered a fever. A mild fever is anything between 38 to 39°C, a high fever is 40 to 41°C, and extremely high fever is 42°C and above.
Keep in mind that fever in an infant below 3 months requires a consultation with a doctor, says Dr. Delos Reyes.
2. Breastfeed away! Keep your baby hydrated by latching as long as she wants to. Breastfeeding moms will find that nursing brings relief like no other to a sick infant. “Every time my sipon si baby, ang ginagawa ko pinapadede ko lang siya,” says mom Eve Mercado-Tibay. Mom Imee, whose daughter Yllana is now 2 years old, agrees. “Unlimited latch! Comfort talaga ‘yon.”
Joyce Martinez, RN, MSN, CLC, a U.S.-certified lactation counselor, says that babies breastfeed for both nourishment and comfort. More importantly, Martinez points out, "Mother’s milk provides antibodies to fight infection. It protects the baby from any organism he or she is exposed to, thus triggering your baby’s immune system." 3. Try a nasal aspirator and saline nasal drops A clogged nose will make it difficult for your baby to breathe, eat, and sleep. There are a few things you can do to provide quick relief. Moms recommend saline nasal drops and a nasal aspirator, a bulb-shaped rubber device that sucks mucus from a baby’s nose.
“Big help ang nasal aspirator every time na may sipon siya to ease a clogged nose,” says Misty Sarmiento, mom to an 8-month-old. “Nilalagyan ko din siya ng saline drops sa ilong kapag kailangan pa.”
“Many doctors recommend nasal saline drops for relief of nasal congestion in an infant,” according to Parents. Ask your child’s pediatrician if this is something you can get for your baby.
4. Keep the air humid “Ang lagi kong ginagawa is to steam water with salt and place it in the room to create a mist or moisture. It helps my kids breathe easier,” says Hannah Laya-Monterola, mom to a 7-year-old and 19-month-old. Moisture in the air helps loosen mucus and ease baby's congestion.
To make things easier, mom Isay Hugal Khor invested in a humidifier. “Everytime na matutulog siya sa gabi, I’ll use the humidifier para hindi magka-blocked nose.” Her son Elijah is turning 5 years old and still uses his humidifier whenever he’s sick.
5. Have fruits and soup at the ready For sick babies who’ve already started on solids, Pinay moms provide fruits and warm soup. Gladys Ariola and Hannah Laya-Monterola, who both have two small children, say they usually go for fruits rich in vitamin C.
Misty Sarmiento places a few drop of kalamansi juice into a glass of water for her 8-month-old, and Lanie Dela Cruz-Manrique says she makes warm, comforting homemade soup for her 1-year-old daughter.
6. Massage your baby Mom Felinor Olaguera gives her baby a massage every time she's sick with a cold. Misty does the same and says, “I still believe that a mother's touch is the best way to comfort a baby.” She also applies vapor rub on her baby's chest and back. Ask your local pharmacist for one that’s safe for infants.
When massaging your baby, pediatrician Dr. Roselyne M. Balita recommends using edible oil, like sunflower oil and virgin coconut oil, so there's no danger of your baby ingesting toxins when he puts his fingers or toes in his mouth. Mineral oil can get hot especially when you use it for massage where there’s a lot of friction, explained Dr. Balita. She does not recommend aceite de manzanilla as it can burn your baby’s sensitive skin.
7. Know when to consult a doctor Mom Mae Mariño shares that, thankfully, her 3-year-old has never gone to see the doctor for colds and cough. “Pero, siyempre, needed pa rin dalhin sa doktor if matagal na ang colds.”
A pediatrician will also be able to prescribe safe fever medication for infants like paracetamol. Never give cold and cough medicines to an infant. “These medications have potentially serious side effects, including rapid heart rate and convulsions,” pediatrician Dr. Jay L. Hoecker told Mayo Clinic. Always consult with a doctor before giving your baby any medication.
Your child's fever needs to be checked by a doctor if she is below 3 months, the fever has lasted for more than 5 days or has a temperature above 39.4 °C, and if she experiences seizures. More warning signs can be found here.