When a baby has a cough at night time, it can leave parents feeling utterly helpless. Babies are prone to coughs when they have a cold because of post-nasal drip. If they aren’t able to expel mucus, this will drip down the back of the throat and trigger their cough reflex. The cough further irritates the throat and can lead to the hacking cough that parents dread.
Popular baby coughing at night remedies
Finding the right baby coughing at night remedies is often a case of trial and error. Many parents find they have to try a combination of remedies to help their baby find relief. These remedies might not make your child’s cough better overnight, but they can help to prevent it from getting worse. These remedies make use of the most popular mother and baby items you should always have in your medicine cabinet.
When to call the doctor
There are a few signs to look out for with a child’s cough. These can be a sign of something more serious and would warrant a trip to your GP, or the ER. These include:
Shortness of breath
A high fever
Blood when coughing
Unable to open mouth
Swollen tonsils on one side
Other symptoms to be aware of as a new parent include:
Any cough in a newborn in the first couple of weeks
A cough lasting longer than 8 weeks
A cough that gets worse over time
A cough with night sweats and weight loss
Any cough with wheezing or rapid breathing
If you are concerned about your child’s cough, the best thing to do is call your GP for advice and support. A parent always knows their child best, so trust your instincts.
Add moisture to the air
Dry air will aggravate cold symptoms by drying out the airways and creating thick mucus. In the winter, central heating can dry out the air. Using a humidifier in your child’s bedroom can help to relieve a tickly cough.
If you don’t have a humidifier, you can use your bathroom as a steam room. Leave the shower running on hot for a few minutes and allow the steam to build up. Stand in the humidity and gently pat your child’s back to help loosen any mucus.
Use saline drops
Saline drops help to moisten the mucus in your child’s nose and make it easier for them to clear the mucus when they cough. This method is great for post-nasal drip, which can produce a wet cough and rattling sound in their airway. This barky cough is usually worse when they wake up.
To use saline drops, simply put two or three drops in your child’s nose a few times per day. They may sneeze in reaction to the drops, but this is normal.
If your child is unable to expel mucus, you can give them a little help by using a bulb syringe. A bulb syringe will painlessly remove excess mucus from your child’s nose and allow them to breathe a little easier.
A suction bulb is very easy to use. Start by pressing the bulb end to remove the air. Insert the suction end into your child’s nostril about one quarter to a half-inch. Angle the suction end towards the back or side of the nose. When you release the bulb, the mucus will be pulled into the syringe.
Clean the syringe before repeating the process with the other nostril. Clean it completely before storing it.
You can repeat the process of suctioning the nose a few days throughout the night, but remember that this can irritate the nostrils too.
Offer plenty of fluids
If the cough is caused by thick mucus, offering your child fluids will help. You don’t need to increase the fluid amount, but you should make sure it remains consistent. Young babies should have formula or breast milk. Older babies can have clear liquids such as water or unsweetened juice.
Keeping your baby hydrated is one of the best remedies for nighttime coughing. Regular feedings will also help to soothe a sore throat caused by coughing.
Think about irritants
If your child doesn’t have a cold, look around your home for other irritants. Your child might be sensitive to dust, dust mites or pet dander. Keeping pets out of your child’s bedroom, using an air purifier, or switching to a HEPA air filter vacuum cleaner can help.
You can also upgrade your child’s bedding to allergen-proof mattress protectors. Air quality can also cause coughs in babies and young children. Monitor the air quality in your area and keep windows closed if the air quality is poor.