A Baby That Is Coughing & Congested

When your baby is sick with the flu or the common cold, coughing may keep her -- and you -- up all night. If your child's pediatrician approves, use natural remedies and at-home care to soothe cough symptoms 1. In rare cases a cough might be the sign of a more serious illness, like bronchitis or pneumonia. Take your child to her pediatrician to rule out any serious complications.


A coughing, congested baby is generally not cause for concern, but it could be. Usually, a cough is caused by a cold or the flu, but it might also be caused by croup, Respiratory syncytial virus, sinusitis, pneumonia, allergies, cystic fibrosis or whooping cough. If your child is 3 months old or younger, call your pediatrician immediately. Otherwise, call the doctor if your child's cough symptoms haven't improved within one week.

Home Remedies

If your child's cough is caused by a cold or the flu, soothe it with home remedies 1. Run a humidifier in your baby's bedroom while he sleeps to add extra moisture to the air. As your child breathes, he inhales the water vapor, moistening the vocal folds and preventing coughing at night.

Ensure your child gets proper fluids by continuing to breastfeed, if you already do. It it not necessary to give your baby additional fluids unless your doctor recommends it, but monitor the liquids he does drink so he gets adequate nutrition.

Prescription Treatments

Although a cold and flu will typically go away on its own, other diseases such as:

  • croup
  • pneumonia
  • bronchitis
  • whooping cough
  • respiratory syncytial virus
  • pneumonia
  • sinusitis
  • allergies
  • cystic fibrosis require prescription medication or antibiotics
  • depending on the illness


Do not give your baby over-the-counter cough medicine. Most cough medicines are not approved for use in children under the age of 4.Consult your baby's doctor before using any prescription treatment to treat your child's cough.

Clean your baby's humidifier every night as detailed on the manufacturer's instructions. Do not leave any standing water in the device when it is not in use. Humidifiers are a useful way to release additional water vapor into the air, but it could harbor dangerous bacteria if it isn't cleaned properly.

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