Common Cold in Babies, Symptoms and What to do

Published : 30/05/2024

Last updated: 30/05/2024

Babies in their first and second years are still in the midst of developing their immunity system and therefore attract infections easily. According to American Academy of Pediatrics(AAP), even healthy children tend to catch 8 -10 colds during this time [1].


Most of the time they fade away between 7 – 10 days. Sometimes however, colds can overlap, meaning they can catch another one before the first one subsides.


If you are a new parent you will be exhausted just by following the signs and symptoms and if your baby is three months old do check with your pediatrician. Afterwards you’ll get used to it.


Here are the the things you must know about common cold in babies, causes, symptoms and possible remedies.

Cold Symptoms in Babies

  • Runny nose (watery in the beginning, then yellow or green-tinted)
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sneezing
  • May have mild fever 
  • Dry cough (may get worse at night and by the end of a cold)
  • Sore or scratchy throat (not so easy to spot in a baby)
  • Fatigue or crankiness
  • Appetite loss

Causes of cold in babies

Cold (Upper respiratory infections) are mostly caused by viruses. And infections due to viruses can be caused by droplet transmission from sneezes and coughs, sometimes by contact from kissing or cuddling or maybe from contaminated objects.


Usually these frequent colds can be heavy on the nose, but they are not always harmful. These colds however can boost your little one’s immunity system, making them less prone to infections later.

How long does the cold last

The incubation period for most infectious viruses that causes cold is around four days. Generally these are contagious a couple of days before symptoms can appear, but can also be passed when the cold has taken effect.


Once the cold is underway they can last from seven to ten days, and sometimes up to three weeks.


Usually third day of cold is worst and has most symptoms, and yes the baby will be really cranky around this time.

Treatment tips

Before giving your baby any medications always check with your pediatrician, and make sure it is meant for babies. Since medicines with similar names are sometimes available for adults as well. To help relieve baby’s cold symptoms here are some common remedy tips:

  • Monitor the mucus and use a suction bulb to gently extract the excess mucus. OTC saline nose drops can soften mucus before suctioning[2].

  • Use humidifier to heighten humidity in your baby’s room to reduce the congestion and make breathing easier.

  • To prevent soreness of baby’s nose use petroleum jelly

  • Give your baby warm fluids to make them feel warm and to help make-up for dehydration due to fever or runny-nose.

A Gentle Nudge from Mammas Journey

If your baby is under three months and is experiencing their first cold [3], or they seem lethargic, maybe refusing to eat or drink, Develops a very high fever and the coughing is getting serious, or has symptoms lasting for more than 10 days. It is advised to contact your pediatrician

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