23 answers

5 Month Old with Cold

My son just caught a cold and the symptoms appeared over night--some coughing and a stuffy nose. He is only 5 months old and I know I can't give him any medication. Any suggestions?

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Before when my son was 2 months old he caught RSV, which is from the common cold virus. He had a very stuffy nose and a caugh. We used the saline nasal solution with the syringe pump to remove the mucus. He was too young for anything else. It really helped loosen up everything.

Using a humidifier in the room he's sleeping in will definitely help the cough and congestion. Also, if his nose is completely stuffed up you can use a saline nose squirt solution-you can find it in any drug or grocery store. I just held my son on my lap tilted his head back and gave him a squirt in each nostril, then used the aspirator-that squeezy ball thing-to help suck out the snot. I hope this helps : ) -Angie

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Great advice so far! I would add this. Triaminic Flowing Vapors. This is the only thing I found to help my son with a stuffy nose and coughing at night! It works wonders and helps them feel so much better during the day. Good luck!

In addition to all the things below, prop up his bassinett or crib mattress so that he's sleeping more upright--or let him sleep in his carrier. That way he won't have as much sinus pressure laying down. db


I have successfully used herbal remedies to help with my son's colds and stuffy noses. I don't like taking medication if at all possible. Take a pot of boiling water and add a teaspoon of ground cloves. Put the pot in a safe place in his room and let the steam penetrate the room while he's sleeping overnight or during naps. This will help clear up his congestion.

Best wishes,

C. in NV too!


1. Suction frequently. You can put a few drops of saline in his nose before suctioning to help thin out his mucous a bit to help it come out easier.
2. Keep him upright. Let him sleep in his infant carseat or in his swing.
3. Use a cool mist humidifier in his room. If you don't have one then just turn on the shower and get the bathroom nice and steamy and just sit in the bathroom with him for about 15 minutes or so.
4. If you notice any change in your baby (not eating well, not sleeping well, not acting like himself) then you should go to the doctor.
I hope this helps. I know how hard it is to see your little one sick. Good Luck!

saline drops, bulb syringe. I gave my kids tylenol at night, even at 5mos. Here's a link for dosage, or you can call your doc...


Good advice so far... just watch the cough and mucous from lungs... and make sure it does not get worse or deeper.
Keep an eye out for fever... ear infections etc.

Look for any worsening symptoms or new symptoms...
take him to the Doctor since he is young, and especially is this is his first cold.

Take care,

Congratulations!(jk) Sounds like this is your first cold. I know I was completely terrified when my first baby cought a cold at about this same age. Don't worry. When my babies were this young, the colds were very mild and did not bother them much, and healed up fairly quickly. Elevating the top end of his mattress and a humidifier are very helpful. Vicks also makes a Baby Rub (natural herbs and things) that is very soothing - I think it is safe for a 5 month old, but check the label. Use an aspirator if the mucus blocks up his nose (and be prepared, my babies hated this!). You can also use Saline (another natural thing - I think it's just salt water) if the mucus is not moving; I never needed this when my babies were this young, but when they got a little older it was very helpful (and they hated it, too).
Just watch his behavior - if he is crying a lot or having trouble sleeping, you may want to have the doctor check his ears for infection, but other than that, just give him time and he will get better all on his own.

I would call his pediatrician or on call advice nurse. You can give him Infants Tylenol to help relieve any uncomfort that he is feeling or maybe some Children's Robitussin (or something similar to it) just for the cough and stuffy nose. But definitely check with his ped or nurse first.

To help with the stuffy nose, you can use a saline nasal spray to help dry it up. Or you can use a humidifier in his room. And you can turn the shower on hot, let the bathroom get steamy, and then sit with him on the toilet for about 15 minutes to let the steam clear out his congestion and stuffiness. I will also rub a little Vicks Vapo Rub onto the outside front part of their PJ's or sleepers before they go to bed at night to help with congestion. Just a small dab so they can't accidentally rub it into their eyes.

He could also be teething, as those symptoms can also appear when they are teething.

Both of my kids illnesses come on like that, all of a sudden too. I think it is just mainly that they are too young to be able to tell us that they are feeling ickey beforehand so we only notice it when it is full blown.

Going back to the medications....be sure to check your labels....often times they will put aspartame in them to sweeten the taste.

Sounds like teething, be real cautious with meds.

I just went through this with my 2 month old. My doc told me there wasn't really anything I could give her. Keep a humidifier on him, you should start to see a difference overnight. Baby Vicks will help him breathe. If his nose is really runny, chances are his throat hurts and he'd probably have a fever too. Hang in there. If you don't start to see improvement in a few days, take him to the doctor.

Using a humidifier in the room he's sleeping in will definitely help the cough and congestion. Also, if his nose is completely stuffed up you can use a saline nose squirt solution-you can find it in any drug or grocery store. I just held my son on my lap tilted his head back and gave him a squirt in each nostril, then used the aspirator-that squeezy ball thing-to help suck out the snot. I hope this helps : ) -Angie

You can use a cool mist humidifier in his room while he's sleeping. You can also use saline drops called Little Noses and suck out the snot with a bulb syringe. Good luck with the first of many colds! :)

vicks vapor rub. they make a baby one now. Put it on at night w/ a vaporizer. That'll help him sleep. Make sure to give him a bath first thing in the morning to get it all off. i put it on the back & chest. some of my friends even do the feet and put socks on. for my family & freinds the hot vaperizer works the best. Most peds say to use cool, but as long as you change the water every day in the hot you're fine. During the day saline nasil spray works great. I even do it right before bed. You have to hold them down they hate it. Spray it in and the use the suction ball. The first time you may not get a lot but the next time you will.
T. H
God Bless

Hi A., Try a cool mist humidifier, it will help with the cough and stuffy nose.Also ask your doctor if you can give him saline solution(Of course for toddlers) for his nose and use your nose aspirator(the one from the hospital is the best) and suck all his gunk out of his nose! I read that doing the nose with the aspirator is sometimes just like giving a medicine, I would think because you are draining all the mucus for them, because they are to little to blow their little noses.Also I find sometimes when I give my children baths when they are stuffy , it loosens them up! Good luck, I hope you both feel better!


All I can recommend would be a humidifier and keep his room warm so the mucus can stay more liquidy. Use a warm compress if he is coughing and you can give him Baby/Infant Tylenol.

M. P

Put a pillow under his crib mattress to keep his head elevated, or put him to sleep on one of those Boppy pillows that have a velcro strap to keep him from slipping(you can get them at WalMart). Also, put a humidifier in the room and use a nasal aspirator. That is what my doctor told me to do when my daughter was sick at 3 months old.

humidifier in his bedroom helps with congestion. or sit in a steamy bathroom with him.

I'm sorry your little monkey is sick. You will get vrey good at dealing with this in a few months!! Here are my suggestions:

1. Use a humidifier or vaporizer in his room
2. have him sleep in his infant carrier - this will keep his head raised so his nose will drain and not keep him awake
3. baby vicks on his chest
4. long hot showers for you and baby to help drain his nose before bed and again in the morning. The mucous will loosen up and can be sucked out easier.
5. lots of fluids

good luck!

Before when my son was 2 months old he caught RSV, which is from the common cold virus. He had a very stuffy nose and a caugh. We used the saline nasal solution with the syringe pump to remove the mucus. He was too young for anything else. It really helped loosen up everything.

My baby had about 5 colds in her first few months of life..poor thing. The only thing that truly heals is time. But in the meantime...use a humidifier in his room at night, saline drops in his nose, an aspirator to suck out the mucous, vicks baby vaporrub on his chest and make sure to give him plenty of fluids (formula/breastmilk) to keep him hydrated and the mucous thinned out. You can give him baby tylenlol for discomfort or fever. Also, if the cough is bothering him at night...elevate the head of his crib a bit. Sometimes baby colds seem like they last forever because their little nasal passages are so small and they take so long to clear up! If he is especially fussy or start pulling on his ear..make sure to have the doc take a peek for ear infection.

Keep him upright as much as possible and suction as much as possible. Also a humidifier works good too. If he is not improving in a few days take him to the doc.

Dear A.,
I agree with the other mom's advice so far - PLUS - IF you are breastfeeding you can up your own levels of vitamins (esp Vit C) to help prevent infections in both of you. If this is a reaction to some new food introduced, I would stop whatever it is immediately, and switch to something else. I remember the doctor telling me not to add a new food until 2 days have passed to see if the infant can tolerate the new food. IF you do it too fast you don't know which one he couldn't tolerate. Also if you are giving cereals they sometimes can cause constipation, and "constipation is the thief of health". Fruits and yogurts without sugar added are great for cleaning out the gut, and providing probiotics to boost the immune systems at any age. You can also find good quality baby vitamins at almost any health food store. My kids really showed improved health as infants when I would add the baby vitamins. And be sure to give him MORE liquid - I would give watered down apple juice with added vitamin C. Some folks never give juice at that age, but it worked for my kids if they would get congested, especially in hot weather when they can get dehydrated easily.
Hope this helps!
PLUS! if you have trouble positioning the baby to suction out his nose, I have a tip that really helps. First, only use the kind of nasal aspirator with the (removable) clear plastic tip that is NOT sharp (the pokey ones they give you at the hospital are scary looking to me!). Second, you can make your own saline solution with a formula of one teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water. You will only use a few drops so use what you need and store the rest in a tightly capped jar in the fridge till you need it again (and re-warm only the amount you need). And THIRD - Positioning the baby is the trickiest part, especially if you have to do it by yourself. Here's how: Wrap the baby tightly in a receiving blanket (Like when he was a newborn, so he can't use his hands to push you away) then (if you are right handed) sit on a chair (or the toilet with the lid down)and cross your left leg over your right with the ankle resting on your right knee. Explain to the baby in a calm tone of voice beforehand (and again as you are doing it), that this is going to help him breath better, and get out the boogers (or mucus if that's what you call them). Then place the baby on your lap with his head on the left knee area, and with your left hand holding his head steady you place only 2-3 drops of saline solution in one nostril only, then use the suction. (So as not to alarm the baby I would always demonstrate the aspirator first, and say, "See? I'm going to count to three and then suck out the boogers like this". And let him hear the sucking noise in the air in front of him first so he wouldn't be scared when it happens on his nose) Then as I'd count to three I would squeeze the bulb and then place it on the nostril with the saline drops (on three)and release it. Then repeat with the other nostril (saline first, then aspirate). Usually if the baby was tightly wrapped he couldn't wiggle out and I could do it pretty quickly. As long as you keep a cheerful and calm tone in your voice and manner the whole time it will ease the process considerably! And he might even learn to count!
Best to you and your little one,

Are you breastfeeding? If so, just continue to nurse him, clear out his nose as best you can and keep him comfortable. If the symptoms don't get better in a few days, take him to the pediatrician.

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