Home Remedies for Dry Cough in Babies
Spells of dry cough is a heart-breaking problem for tiny babies. The repeated coughing is a huge strain on their frail chest and a catastrophe to their suckling, eating and sleep. Here we present to you some ways in which you can put an end to your baby’s bad cough.
What causes dry cough?
Dry cough may be caused by:
- Sleeping with mouth open, either as a habit or because of blocked nose.
- Inhaling harsh air loaded with perfumes, mosquito repellants, room fresheners, mosquito coil smoke, incense smoke, cigarette smoke, or vehicle smoke.
- Very hot and spicy food.
- Screaming for too long.
- A dry climate or lots of pollutants and allergens in the air.
- End stages of common cold, bronchitis.
- GERD – Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease.
- A dry cough could be a side effect of other medication.
Remedies for Dry Cough
If you can understand and single out which factor above is causing the cough in your baby, you can use the appropriate remedy for its cure, given below. If you are not sure, please find general dry cough remedies listed on an age basis in the next section.
Common cold can block sinuses and nostrils causing the baby to breathe through the mouth, which dries out the throat, causing dry cough. Use an OTC pediatric nasal saline before sleep to ensure that the baby breathes freely through the nose. Mucus also tends to dry up and thicken at the end stages of the cold. Thick mucus is hard to expel; its presence in the airways keeps babies repeatedly coughing, causing unfruitful dry cough. Using a humidifier in the baby’s room can loosen up the phlegm and reduce the cough sensation.
Look at our article here to find cold remedies.
GERD, Eating Problems and Spicy Food
GERD or Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease is a condition where the stomach content is regurgitated back, causing the little one to spit up funny smelling half-digested food. This reflux is seen in babies worldwide and usually disappears by the time they are 18 months old. If your baby loves hot spicy cuisine, the hot food mixed with stomach acid will burn his/her throat when regurgitated back, causing dry cough because of an irritated throat. If your baby is breastfeeding, your milk is an excellent remedy to soothe the throat.
Limiting the quantity of pepper, chillies and oil in baby’s food is good practice. If your baby has anyway tasted a right amount of your delicious hot macaroni or biriyani or chaat, keep all liquid food away for a half an hour, especially water. Only let them drink water/liquids in small sips for another hour (milk is great). This will help control the reflux.
You can give a small spoonful of ghee to coat the throat and soothe the irritation.
If your baby has been on a hunger strike, the regurgitated stomach acid can cause irritation and dry cough. Avoid feeding him/her spicy food immediately after a fast.
Dry Cough Remedies by Age
0 – 3 Months
Breast milk is surprisingly versatile and can soothe your newborn’s dry cough quickly. Feed your little one breast milk exclusively to make him feel better quicker. If your little one’s nose is congested, you can use a drop or two of breast milk in each nostril and suck the mucus out with a nasal aspirator. Use a humidifier as necessary. Clean and disinfect the aspirator, saline dropper and humidifier every day.
If your little one seems to be having coughing spells because of excessive reflux and spitting, try feeding him upright and keep his head elevated. Do not forget to burp after every feed.
Avoid heavily scented talc, powders, lotions, cologne, fabric softeners, disinfectors or perfumes for the baby. Take your baby away when you dust her room.
6 Months +
The dry cough may leave your baby’s throat parched; so give your baby adequate warm water, warm milk or warm unsweetened juices to keep her bouncing. Breast milk is also super important, so schedule some extra feeds to stop her cough.
If you are giving your baby cow’s milk, add a pinch of turmeric to warm milk to comfort the itching throat. You can also do the same with breast milk.
Honey is an excellent remedy for dry cough. You can give a teaspoon of honey twice a day to keep the cough at bay. (Honey may sometimes contain pollen and could be allergic).
Keep your baby’s head elevated with a small pillow and use a humidifier as necessary.
8 Months +
If you have introduced solid food to your baby, you can use half a teaspoon of ghee to coat the throat and to stop the cough. Do not give your baby anything to eat for some time after giving the ghee for more extended relief.
Hot soups are another good remedy to alleviate dry cough. Any warm soup goes (chicken, mushroom, or veggies), so explore and make your kiddo’s favourite soups to calm him through the cough. You could add a tiny sprinkle of pepper if your baby has a cold.
1 year +
In addition to the above said remedies, you can give your little one herbal teas to comfort her raging throat. Boil an inch of ginger in half-cup water; add some honey and serve it warm.
Sucking on Palm Sugar pacifies dry cough. Try this only if you have introduced hard candies to your baby. You can also make your own Baby Dry Cough Drops. Take about 2 teaspoons of grated jaggery, ¼ tsp of pepper powder and about ½ tsp ghee. Mix everything well and knead to make small balls. You can grease your palms with ghee if the mix is too dry. Give your baby one or two balls at a time before going to bed for a cough-free sleep.
2 years +
Is your kiddo a gargle master? Add about 3 or 4 spoons of salt to a cup of warm water and gargle with it twice a day to keep dry cough at bay.
Little ones get sore very quickly from repeated coughing. Use warm coconut oil to massage their chest before putting them to sleep. Avoid excessive handling and keep them away from direct gushes of air (avoid window seats/ two wheeler travels/ high-speed fans / very chill AC). Babies may find eating/ suckling hard due to cough. But hunger will only make them tired and grumpy and increase throat burn due to reflux, and dehydration will amplify dry cough. So set reminders and give your baby a sip of warm milk/soup/juice every 20 minutes if he/she has not eaten properly. Large medicine droppers can be handy for this task.
Small babies may sometimes choke or vomit when coughing. Keep the head elevated with a small pillow or a few layers of towel. If you find the cough worsening even after 4 days, take your baby to the doctor.
We hope these remedies help you bring back the smile and play. Get well soon!