Q: Please ma’am, my baby is 3 weeks old. I was induced and since I gave birth the baby has had cough. He’s gone through the third prescription now, but they have all failed.
A: Thanks for writing in.
I’m not sure what prescription the baby has been on. Cough syrups? Antibiotics? When you say prescription, do you mean it was prescribed by his paediatrician?
Generally, cough could be due to common cold, allergies or other irritants in the environment, croup, whooping cough etc.
If your baby has a common cold, giving an antibiotic does not help as it is not a bacterial infection. Indeed, giving antibiotics when they are not needed can make organisms develop antibiotic resistance. Cough syrup is also not a great idea as it may contain substances that could speed up baby’s heart rate. A common cold is a viral infection. With or without medication, the infection will run its course and resolve.
So what can you do? Your baby probably also has nasal congestion too. So:
Try to prop up baby’s head when he’s sleeping at night.
Use an air humidifier to make it easier for your baby to breathe. If you don’t have an air humidifier, you can run a warm shower and take baby into the bathroom to inhale the steam. Be careful that the air is not too harsh and of course, we don’t want to deal with burns.
Be sure to give baby sufficient fluids. At his age, he should still be on exclusive breastfeeding. So, breastfeed judiciously. If nasal congestion interferes with breastfeeding, you can use a cup and spoon to feed the baby. The mouth breathing practised by these children due to nasal congestion exposes them to dehydration and so there is a need for adequate fluid intake.
A suction bulb can help remove mucous from the nose especially if it’s interfering with breathing.
If baby’s cough lasts more than 2 weeks or he develops your fever, please get him to his doctor.
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