Bless You! Everything You Need To Know About Your Baby’s First Cold 

It is always worrying when your baby gets their first cold. Especially as they can’t tell us verbally what’s wrong. Your baby’s first cold could make you a bit nervous, so it is good to know a bit of what to expect. Here are a few things to know, and a few things to keep an eye on.

Brand New Immune System

The NHS says that it is normal for babies to get colds. In fact, they can have up to 8 colds a year! This is because their immune system is brand new. They are getting used to all of the germs that they meet. Gradually they will get fewer colds as their immune system strengthens and they get older. Most colds get better within a week, but smaller babies can take a couple of weeks to recover. We know it doesn’t always take away from the panic of your baby’s first cold, but it’s reassuring to know that it’s fairly normal!

Baby’s First Cold – Watch Out For A Fever 

A cold can sometimes turn into a fever. The NHS says that if your baby is under 3 months old and has a temperature of 38 degrees or higher (or is 3 to 6 months old and has a temperature of 39 degrees or higher), you should call 111 or your GP surgery for advice. So do keep that in mind when your baby experiences their first illness. And keep the thermometer handy just in case.

Here Are Six Things To Do For Your Baby’s First Cold:

  1. Try not to worry too much. It is normal for a baby to get ill, and your baby’s first cold is going to happen eventually! But do ask your pharmacist, GP or call 111 for advice. They will be able to advise on the best course of action, taking into account any particular health conditions.
  2. Drink plenty of fluids. If your baby is bottle-fed or breastfed, make sure to offer extra feeds to keep them hydrated. (If you have a cold and you are breastfeeding, the NHS says it is best to carry on breastfeeding. This is because the benefits outweigh the risks)
  3. Reduce the spread. Make sure the whole family and all visitors wash their hands before and after cuddling the baby.  
  4. Try over-the-counter saline drops. If your baby has a blocked or stuffy nose, saline drops can be bought over the counter. This can loosen dried snot, and encourage your baby to sneeze. This will hopefully help clear their blocked nose.
  5. Painkillers for babies. Liquid ibuprofen or other painkillers can be bought over the counter for babies if your little one has a temperature. Always read the instructions before giving them to babies. This medicine cannot be given to babies with certain health conditions or very young babies.
  6. Be careful what you search online. We’ve all been there, looking up symptoms when we are poorly, only to come across false information that is worrying. It is best to stick to the NHS website or other trusted sources.
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We always recommend consulting your GP or midwife when it comes to medication. Remember, they know what’s best for you and your child.

baby's first cold - image shows a mother and son at the doctors with a thermometer

Helen’s Story – A Christmas Day Cold!

When my baby Lyra was about 4 months old, she got a cold. This soon turned into a fever of about 40 degrees! We phoned 111, who advised that we visit the hospital to be on the safe side, as she was very little and the temperature was very high. To add to the drama, this was on Christmas day! Fortunately, we were at home for Christmas and it was an easy journey to our local hospital.

We arrived at A&E and they directed us to the baby and child A&E area. This seemed calmer than the main A&E section and had toys to play with. The nurse soon saw us, and she did a few tests including putting a little band around Lyra’s foot to measure her heart rate. They advised it was nothing more serious than a cold with a fever. They sent us home with instructions on how often to administer baby ibuprofen, and to keep an eye on her temperature. As it was Christmas day, they were giving out toys to the children. We got a toy wooden car, something to keep her distracted and made us feel warm and fuzzy! 

I found it very worrying to see my little one being ill, but I felt confident after seeking help. After keeping her hydrated and a few more days of baby ibuprofen, she made a full recovery. We still have the toy wooden car!  

See also  Top tips if your toddler is a fussy eater
Baby's first cold - image shows baby receiving medicine through a small pipet
Disclaimer: We have researched and included robust sources to provide information in this article. However, we are not health or medical professionals and you should always seek medical advice if you are worried about your baby’s health.

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Helen Holding

Helen Holding

Happity's Growth Marketing Assistant. Helen works hard to get more classes around the UK onto Happity, connecting more parents with activity providers every week. Mum of one beautiful daughter, Lyra. When she's not working she is usually enjoying toddler classes with Lyra. Their current favourites are toddler gymnastics and Forest School!