How to Treat Your Baby’s Cold, Cough and Fever Naturally

It’s always worrisome when your little one suddenly catches cold and becomes listless, uncomfortable and clingy.  It’s normal to want to jump right into action to reduce the fever and relieve the suffering, but what’s the safest way to treat your baby’s cold, cough and fever naturally?

I wear quite a few hats in my life, but one of my favorites is supporting my family and friends during times of illness. So a couple of weeks ago, my friend Julie dialed her personal Ask-a-Nurse hotline (a.k.a. my cell phone) when her 4 month old baby woke up with a heavy duty cold.  I got busy doing my geeky research thing and found plenty of natural remedies to boost her immune system and comfort her achy little body.

How to Handle Your Baby’s Fever

The fever your baby has may be the cause of discomfort, but it’s actually beneficial – a positive sign that the her immune system is working. With Tylenol’s latest – and very scary – warning, it’s even more important than ever to skip the treatment most often used by parents to reduce fever.

Here’s how we should be handling fevers instead:

Natural Remedies to Ease Stuffy Noses and Coughing While Fighting Bacteria and Viruses

Over the years, I’ve witnessed how the power of how simple elements found in nature can work wonders in my own kids.  We very rarely visit the doctor for anything that doesn’t require serious medical intervention anymore.

Here are my favorite ways to ease cold symptoms naturally:

  1. Diffuse essential oils in a pot of boiling water or with a warm steam humidifier. Some essential oils that are generally considered safe for babies 6+ months and are great for loosening congestion and fighting the cold itself are cedarwood, sandalwood, cinnamon leafthyme, lemon and ginger. *NOTE: Be sure to use certified organic essential oils when available to make sure you’re not absorbing or inhaling concentrated amounts of harmful chemicals or pesticides used during the growing process.
  2. Add some lavender to the humidifier to help your baby relax.
  3. Use Badger Balm Aromatic Chest Rub or make your own using 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil with 10 drops each of eucalyptus and peppermint essential oils.  Remember to never use any essential oils directly on baby without proper dilution with a carrier oil, and be sure to choose only those that are known to be safe for children.
  4. Place a few drops of preservative free Nasal Saline drops in baby’s nose and gently suction with the amazingly effective Nosefrida (see our how-to video here).
  5. Give her Hyland’s Baby Tiny Cold homeopathic tablets.

A Few Notes On Essential Oils Safety:

Never apply the potent undiluted oil directly to the skin.

Always choose 100% pure essential oils and be sure to use certified organic when available to make sure you’re not absorbing or inhaling extremely concentrated amounts of harmful chemicals or pesticides used during the growing process.

Always keep essential oils out of reach of children.

For more information, please see this helpful article on safe essential oils for babies and children.

P.S. Be sure to check out our DIY thieves oil and DIY vapor chest rub too.

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  • kalonzo

    Quick question – I’m new to this whole essential oil thing… can you put all of the above together in a humidifier? Or are certain ones better together but not with others? Thanks so much for your help!

  • Erin Parry Smith

    My little man recently started getting congested. Unfortunately he got it from me. 🙁 he woke up at 4 am and couldn’t breathe very well cause his nose was so stuffed. I saw sat up in bed and put him on my chest and he went right back to sleep.

    I recently read that you could put garlic on their feet?? Haven’t tried it yet.

  • Tiffany Torres

    My 6 month old has the flu! I took my son Sunday afternoon to an urgent care clinic, he wasnt acting himself his temp was 102 they gave him Tylenol and told me to continue it till the fever went down.I didn’t likethe idea but I went along with it because I hate seeing him sick.I gave him the Tylenol every 4 hours the temp stood the same I read this article and decided to no give him anymore and just let his body fight it. any other pointers?

    • Oh no Tiffany, sorry your little guy is sick! I’m glad you decided to move away from Tylenol. Besides the tips we’ve listed above, you may be able to help reduce the fever slightly by sponging/bathing with tepid water (never cold water), placing a cool cloth on the forehead, keeping him hydrated with at least 4oz of water or bone broth each hour. We also like to brew Organic Heartburn Tea from Earth Mama and make popsicles out of it so that the babies stay hydrated and also benefit from the healing herbs (http://bit.ly/HeartburnTea). Once last thing you might try is the Magic Sock treatment (http://www.sustaincreateandflow.com/magic-socks-a-natural-remedy-for-cold-and-flu). Hope he gets better soon! ~Alicia

  • Jana

    You mentioned the Badger Balm Aromatic Chest Rub above. Is this safe for an 18month old. I have read conflicting information about whether eucalyptus, peppermint, and Rosemary were safe for children under 6 years.

  • Annie Marie

    Thank you, very informative, I have a question – has anyone tried shungite water? One of my friends advised me to try it, in his case it helped. If anybody faced this situation and tried it please advise.

    • We haven’t tried it ourselves Annie Marie, so I’m afraid we can’t help. Hopefully one of our readers will be able to chime in with an opinion! ~Alicia

  • Leia H

    My son is 9mos and has a really nasty cold/cough. No fever just runny nose and sinus drainage that is causing him to cough. His eyes are red and irritated from coughing so much. What do you recommend for helping ease his cough?

  • Hi Stacy, Lavender seems to work wonders for young children and it’s safe for use in moderation with them. I’d suggest using a few drops at a time in your diffuser (and a drop or two of basil) to act as a passive breathing treatment. You can also give them green tea sweetened with raw honey and a dash of cinnamon for an added boost to their immune systems. Our kids love tea popsicles too! ~Laura

  • Candace Tomczak

    I have a two month old that is currently sick.. She has a slightly stuffy nose, slight cough, and feels a little warm.. Are these methods considered safe for her? I’m wondering because I had noticed you said “oils approved for 6+ months”.. If not do you have any other suggestions? This is my first baby so I’m a little nervous but I know she isn’t sick enough to need a doctors visit yet.

    • Hi Candace, babies that young are just so sensitive to things that we recommend waiting to use essential oils until 6 months+ of age. Our go-to methods for infants under 6 months is a plain water humidifier and the NoseFrida nasal aspirator (http://fridababy.com/product/nosefrida/). You’d be surprised at how well these two simple things work! ~Laura

  • Hi Karen, thanks for jumping into the conversation! Would you please provide your sources for this information? Thanks!

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