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North West Regional Health

Caring for your sick baby

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When Baby is Sick

We all know that we do our best to keep our new babies healthy and comforted. We wash our hands, clean the counters, and try our best to limit the exposure to others that may not be feeling well. But no matter how hard we try, there may come that day when our baby does get sick. It is important to visit the doctor in cases of illness and to follow the recommendations that are made at the visit, but sometimes we just need to wait for the illness to pass, and with it, a return of our smiley, happy munchkin.

Babies can’t necessarily tell us what is bothering them in words, but we know when they are extra fussy, have a stuffy nose, or can’t sleep well because of a cough that they just feel crummy. As parents, we want to try our best to make sure that they get well soon, and that we do what we can to make them as comfortable as possible while they recover.

Every parent style is different, but here are a few tips that can make baby feel better during this time:

Draw a warm bath – Baby can feel warm and relaxed in a bath, and the humidity in the air can calm a cough and ease achy muscles. Bath time can be fun, but also relaxing, and after a bath and a quick dry off to ensure there are no chills, snuggling up and taking a nap may be a little easier.

Plenty of fluids – When babies are sick they may not want to take the bottle or the breast for their usual time. To ensure that baby does not get dehydrated, you may need to offer this more frequently. If you concerned that your baby may be getting dehydrated, it is important for you to contact your physician timely.

Massage – Babies love to be snuggled and gently rubbed. If your baby is congested or achy, a gentle body massage may ease some of those aches, along with helping them to relax. Sometimes a long backrub while relaxing on your shoulder in a comfy chair will be just enough to coax them to sleep for a bit.

Naps, naps and more naps – You may notice that your baby is sleeping more often, but for less time. Often when babies are not feeling well they become restless and have trouble staying asleep. It is okay if they need more naps; fighting off an illness is hard for that little body and hard on everyone else when baby isn’t sleep well. Maybe the family can catch a quick nap too!

TLC is the best medicine – Being held by Mom and Dad is the best medicine a baby can get. Snuggled up against a warm trusting parent and feeling the calm in your world will do wonders to helping a baby recover faster.


Creating calm, healing home for your baby is as easy as that – so many of the things that you do anyway can be part of the road to recovery for your little one.