Dealing With Baby’s First Cold: The Importance of Staying Calm

My little one had his first cold a couple of days ago, at a tender age of 7.5 months. And to be honest, I am super proud of myself for the way I handled it.

My husband and mom were urging me to take him to the doctor right away. But with a fever of 38.5C, I knew I had to let him try to fight it off himself. You have to remember (it’s easy to forget when you’re scared, though) that babies have no immunity of their own. All they get is your immunity at birth and during breastfeeding.

But once that cold or flu kicks in, you need to let their bodies fight and create their own antibodies. Otherwise, you may be doing them a bear favor.

Take my former assistant as an example. She used to take her baby boy to the doctors’ as soon as he started coughing. Naturally, they’d prescribe him antibiotics, because why would they look into it some more?

Fast forward three years, he’s now resistant to most of them and gets sick as soon as he’s in contact with anyone.

How do you treat a baby’s first cold?

My husband kind of took my lead and trusted me, but my mom was freaking out.

  • “Drench him in alcohol!”
  • “Don’t shower him, it’ll only make things worse!”
  • “Give him the OTC medicine right away!”
  • “You’re taking him for a walk, are you insane?!”

Now, I’m not some new-age mom who hates doctors and thinks essential oils cure all illness. When my 7 month old got his first-ever cold, I was tracking his fever every 15ish minutes, knowing darn well that if it were to hit the 39C mark, I would be taking him to the doctor’s in no time.

I let his body fight it off until it was 11pm. We gave him a lukewarm bath, and his temperature wasn’t that high at that point, but I wasn’t going to risk falling asleep and it skyrocketing. So I did end up giving him the medicine, and it did help for a while.

Next morning, the fever returned, but never went above 38C. Throughout it all, I felt so sad and hurt. It was so heartbreaking to see a happy, energetic child just laying down, sleeping, not playing or moving around at all.

I really wasn’t heartless about it, I just pushed through it in order for him to develop the immunity he needs.

The next morning, I took him outside, knowing fresh air will do him good.

After a few hours, the fever went down and never came back up.

And that was it. It was all over in some 24 hours, with no alcohol, doctors, or being trapped inside.

I’m never going to be one of those “ah, mother knows best!” people. Some mothers don’t. Some mothers are scared, others are brainwashed with whatever, and despite their best intentions, they can harm their child one way or the other.

But I was adamant about giving his body the chance to grow stronger, while being sure to track his condition and react if anything were to happen.

As it turns out, it was for the best, and I couldn’t be more proud about how it turned out. The very next day, he was back to sitting, playing, and moving about!

Questions I Get

How long will babies first cold last?

If your baby’s cold doesn’t resolve in up to two weeks, you should definitely contact a doctor.

How can I help my baby sleep with a cold?

Clear their nasal passages often. From my experience, that’s pretty much all you need to do. Having fever and being weak in general will make your baby sleepy anyway — just make sure they’re being comfortable and that the room temperature is right.

Can a newborn beat a cold?

Absolutely, but their immune systems are especially underdeveloped, so I’d suggest taking them to the doctor ASAP.

Is baby’s first cold the worst?

Likely! My little one hasn’t had one since (he’s about to turn 1 year old now), but once you’ve faced it for the first time, especially if they were very young, you’ll survive the next one more easily, and will have more confidence in yourself.

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