Colds and Stuffy Noses

As your baby comes into contact with more people and learns to pick up objects and put them in his mouth, he’ll probably pick up a few germs and catch his first cold. Infants can come down with 6-8 colds in their first year alone.

Because cold and flu symptoms are similar to those of COVID-19 (the coronavirus that has caused a pandemic), it’s wise to run your baby’s symptoms by the healthcare provider to make sure nothing more serious is going on. Learn more about COVID-19 symptoms and baby care.

Your baby will have the same symptoms adults do: sneezing, nasal congestion and coughing. Her tiny stuffy nose will probably cause her the most trouble, as sucking at the breast or from a bottle is difficult when she can’t breathe through her nose. Your pediatrician can show you how to clear it with a rubber suction bulb.


A humidifier near your baby’s crib at night will also help. Your pediatrician is likely to recommend a cool mist humidifier, because it does not use heating elements, which are a potential danger if the unit is knocked over or improperly used. Keep your humidifier very clean, as mold can grow in the device and be vaporized as you use the humidifier. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on cleaning.

Do not use over-the-counter cold medications with infants and young children. Studies have shown that they are not effective and can be harmful. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) supports a recent decision by drug companies who make these cold medications to issue warnings that they should not be given to children younger than age 4.

Disclaimer: This page is not intended to provide medical advice about your child. Always seek the advice of a physician, qualified healthcare provider or child-development specialist with any questions you have about your child's health, medical condition or development. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you read here.

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