When your newborn has a cold

When your newborn has a cold


It’s called the “common” cold for a reason so first, take a deep breath and don’t worry too much if your precious newborn suddenly has a cold.

How does a baby catch a cold, you may be wondering. Very easily, is the unfortunate answer. The problem is that your little one is extremely vulnerable at this early stage of their life and germs can quickly invade their little body, and cause problems like a cold or an infection.

Babies can catch a cold through various means. It mainly happens through exposure to the cold virus, which spreads via direct contact, respiratory droplets and contaminated surfaces.


Here’s a handy checklist of what to do to keep your little one comfortable.

  • Add moisture to the air with a cool-mist humidifier in the room. This aid can help loosen the baby's mucus and ease their breathing. 
  • Keep nasal saline drops on hand to, again, loosen mucus in your baby’s nose. Use a bulb syringe or a nasal aspirator to gently suction out the mucus after applying the saline drops.
  • Make sure your baby stays well-hydrated. Offer them breastmilk or formula frequently. Staying hydrated helps thin out the mucus and keeps your baby comfortable.
  • Slightly elevate the head of your baby’s crib or bassinet. This can help with drainage and make breathing easier. Use a safe method, such as placing a firm pillow under the mattress, never under your baby’s head.
  • Keep an eye on your baby's temperature. Use a digital rectal thermometer for the most accurate reading in newborns. Contact your paediatrician if your baby has a fever of 38°C or higher.
  • Hold your baby in an upright position as much as possible. This can help ease breathing and congestion.
  • This should go without saying - but keep your baby away from smoke, strong smells and other irritants that can make congestion worse.
  • Make sure you’re practising good hygiene. Wash your hands regularly to prevent the spread of germs – especially before handling your baby.



Continue to breastfeed if it’s possible. Breastmilk provides your baby with essential antibodies that can help fight infections.


Time to call the doctor? Yes, if:

  • Your baby has difficulty breathing or you notice rapid breathing.
  • Your baby has a fever (above 38°C).
  • There is persistent coughing or wheezing.
  • Your child refuses to feed or has difficulty feeding.
  • Shows signs of dehydration (such as fewer wet diapers, dry mouth, or no tears when crying).
  • Baby is excessively sleepy or irritable.


Always err on the side of caution with a newborn and get medical help if you’re unsure about anything.


This article is for informational purposes only. Always check with your doctor or medical practitioner about any health concerns, before embarking on any fitness or nutrition programme, or using any medication.