Monday, January 28, 2013

Baby Gear: Cough & cold supplies

There is nothing worse than seeing my precious little baby sick with a cough or cold. But unfortunately it's a part of growing up and building up immunity. My daughter goes to daycare so she is more likely to get coughs, colds and flu-like symptoms, than babies that stay home with a parent because she is exposed to many more people.  But in the end it balances out because eventually the children that didn't go to daycare will still get sick more frequently when they first start kindergarten since their immunity is not as strong as those who started daycare as infants. Either way, children are certified experts at spreading germs to each other, so getting sick is unavoidable. My baby was never sick until the first month she started daycare. She got her first cold when she was 3 and half months old. It was terrifying to say the least, especially when I realized that most medicines for colds are for children over the age of 2. But having the right supplies on hand helped us get through it. This is our list of cough & cold supplies.

Nasal aspirator
Cold/Hot Humidifiers
Rectal Thermometer
Baby ointment
Fever reducers & pain killers
Medicine dispenser

Nasal aspirator    A nasal aspirator helps remove mucus from a baby's nose, since they are unable to blow their own nose. Most baby health kits include a nose bulb which, if used properly can do a good job, but I always felt that a nose bulb is never 100% clean inside, since you really can't see whats going on in there to verify.

So I was glad when I came across the NoseFrida Snotsucker, and although the name leaves much  to be desired, it gets the job done! It is an innovative Swedish product designed to do just what the name suggests; to suck snot out of a baby's nose.


The tip of the blue piece goes in your baby's nose and you suck on the red mouth piece and all the good stuff comes out! The blue foam filter at the base of the snotsucker ensures that none of the mucus from the baby's nose comes into the tubes or into your mouth.  I bought this before my baby was born, because I thought it was great idea for a product and I knew for sure I would need to blow my baby's nose at some point.  My baby hates this product with a passion,  but I love it because it makes her feel so much better instantly and its important not to leave mucus in a baby's nose as too pressure from congestion can cause ear infections.  It is also super easy to clean and disinfect.

Hot & cold humidifiers:  Humidifiers are tricky, some people swear they make things worse and increase your child's chance of developing asthma, whilst others believe they really help make things better. Her doctor told me that both hot and cold humidifiers can be good depending on how they are used, but steam humidifiers are better because warm air is cleaner. She stated that as long as we cleaned it religiously and always put fresh water in it, we shouldn't have any problems. Before I even got pregnant, we owned a Venta Airwasher which is basically a humidifier and purifier and works great in the winter when the heat is on and the air gets too dry. 

It is an awesome product and really helps me, since I have asthma and struggle to breathe at night. It is a bit expensive, and I wouldn't have bought it at that price of $400 but we received it as a gift so I didn't complain!
The first time my baby was sick and congested the doctor recommended that I take her into the shower and run the hot water until steam filled up with room. She assured me the steam would help my baby breathe easier. She was 100% right but I felt like this method wasted a lot of water and wasn't the most effective. The first time I tried it, I sat down on the toilet seat rocking my crying baby and waiting for the steam to build up and after almost 10 minutes I couldn't feel anything, so I stood up to leave and realized that I could only feel the effects of the steam while standing up. Of course it's basic physics; hot air rises and cold air sinks, and I should have known better than to sit down. But by this time I felt like I had wasted so much water just leaving the shower running for so long so I decided it was best to go out and buy a steam humidifier.
My local pharmacy only had one option available which was the Vicks Warm Steam Vaporizer
This is so much better than running a hot shower! With just 1.5 gallons of water, this vaporizer can provide steam for hours! And I don't have to hold her standing up for us to feel the effect of the steam. It really does make a big difference, and helps relieve congestion. I like it so much that I use it when I have a cold too. The one annoying thing about it is the shape of it, it makes it hard to completely empty it, because it has ridges around the rim, so even if you turn it upside down, some water and residue stays inside. I have to shake it around get everything out. Other than that its great and I would buy it again, it only cost me about $20 and I think its even cheaper now. 
Saline : This is an absolute life saver. Saline is basically a salt water solution that can be sprayed or dropped into the nose to help loosen and clear mucus. It can also be inhaled in a vapor form with  a nebulizer.  We use saline in all its forms, we have prescription sterile vials of saline that we use in her  nebulizer when she is really badly congested, we also have spray bottles, squeezy bottles and even saline wipes.
First we started out with a squeezy bottle saline spray/drops by Little Remedies
The bottle says it can be used as a spray or as drops depending on whether you hold the bottle upright or turn it upside down, but I had a hard time using this in the beginning. It's really not ideal for a smaller baby because too much of the saline comes out at the time and it all runs out of their nose and doesn't stay in there to do the job. It works better for an older child and now that my baby is nine months old, I'm liking it more and more. I also use it to moisten cotton swabs which I use to clean her nose. But when she was still a tiny baby her pediatrician advised me to ditch the squeezy bottle and find a saline spray that has a real spray nozzle. She told me that a bottle with a nozzle would be much more effective at getting the saline higher up into her nose.
I looked everywhere for a spray bottle, and by everywhere I mean all the aisles at my local Walgreen's... it was just tough shopping at multiple places with an infant so I tried to get everything in one place. So anyway I stumbled upon this Sinucleanse Kidsmist saline spray bottle.

 The box includes a few vials of saline solution that contain no preservatives. All you have to do is break open a vial and pour it into the bottle. The spray bottle delivers a precise measure of saline in a fine mist into the babies nose. So much better than the squeezy bottle. Eventually though, I got irritated with this contraption because, I felt like it was making me waste the solution. You have to discard anything that you don't use within a week and I never used all of it within a week. Then after each week of use I would have to take it apart , wash it and disinfect it, which just feels like extra work to me. So I kept my eyes open for a better spray bottle. Soon enough I found a Sterile Saline Nasal Mist by Little noses
Its not as good as the sinucleanse mist and the nozzle is a bit big for a baby's nose but it is convenient and doesn't require washing and disinfecting so I can keep it in her diaper bag for days out when she is ill.
We also love Boogie Wipes, which are basically saline wipes designed to be used for cleaning and wiping small stuffy noses. They are gentler and much more effective than using regular dry tissue or  dry cloth. They are especially great when you are outside of the home.
Rectal thermometer   This is an absolute must  have. There are several types of baby thermometers such as ear, forehead, oral, and underarm thermometers but for the first few months, the most accurate thermometer is a rectal thermometer. In the beginning I thought I wouldn't want to use rectal thermometer, and I know many other new moms also feel unsure about a rectal thermometer. But ultimately when you have a sick baby you will not want to waste time with a forehead or oral thermometer that gives inaccurate readings.  That's when you  really appreciate having a good quality rectal thermometer that tells you the true temperature of your baby. My husband and I first bought the 3-in-1 exchangeable tip safety first thermometer because I liked the concept of it.
But when I got home I looked at it closely and it seemed really cheap. I also realized it had a lot of negative reviews online,  so I decided I wouldn't even waste time with it. I took it back to the store and got my money back.
I then decided to buy the Vicks baby rectal thermometer, it came highly recommended by Mrs Bee of Hellobee and I like a lot of her product recommendations so I decided to try it. 

 It is as awesome as a rectal thermometer can be. It has a very short probe, so you can't hurt your baby using it, and it gives a very fast readout on an easy to read display that lights up. Mine stopped working after a few short months and I wasn't thrilled with their customer service, but they weren't the worst company I've dealt with and they did mail me out a new one, so I won't complain too much.
Our daughter's pediatrician suggested this non-medicated ointment. It contains aloe vera, eucalyptus, and scents of rosemary and lavender and is not supposed to irritate the skin. Nevertheless the doctor advised us to rub it on the outside of her clothing over her chest area. I know some people slather this on their baby's back, chest and feet. But I didn't want to go overboard, so I only use it on her chest. I did notice later on that it leaves grease stains on her clothing. Her doctor believes it really makes a difference, but I can't tell for sure.
Sometimes her colds are accompanied by a fever and the first thing we do is to follow her pediatrician's advise and start taking off her clothes, leaving her in just her diaper.  Then we check her temperature again within 5-10 minutes. If her temperature was till 101 or higher then she would recommend a dose of an over-the-counter fever reducer.  She usually prefers that we start out with a milder option of acetaminophen (aka paracetamol in Europe and Africa). The most common brand of acetaminophen available to us is Tylenol but I avoid baby products by J&J so I opted to go for the Little Fevers version by Little Remedies.
It comes in several different flavors and my baby hates all of them.  She makes the absolute funniest sour faces when I try to give it to her, she hates the natural berry flavor the most.
On days when she has a persistently high fever, her doctor would recommend sparing doses of  infant Ibuprofen which is stronger and has a much longer lasting effect than acetaminophen.
For both of these the dosing really all depends on the weight of the baby rather than the age of the baby. So her doctor advised us to disregard the dosage chart on the box and follow her dosing tips which changes as my daughter's weight goes up. I also realized that the children's medication was in a very similar box to the infant version, so my doctor stressed that I make sure I was buying the infant version which is much milder.
Most infant medication includes a dispenser dropper or syringe in the box,  but usually the syringe included is an absolute pain in the neck to use. Some of them don't give you much control over the speed with which the medicine is released into the baby's mouth so you end up squirting too much at one time which increases the chance of the baby choking on it or just spitting the whole dose out.  I went online looking for something that would make my life a little easier because medicine time was becoming a nightmare and I was surprised at all the different options available. They even have Ava the talking elephant dispenser!
Ava the talking elephant dispenser
Dispensers by American Red Cross, Kidz Me, Safety 1st, and Munchkin
They all seemed to have mixed reviews but I decided to try the Safety 1st bottle dispenser
I liked the idea of it and I read on other reviews that I could replace the cheap nipple that comes with it,  with a Dr Browns nipple. Giving her medicine in this is so much easier than before.  I still measure the dose using the syringe that's included in the box of medicine since that is usually the most accurate and then I empty the syringe into this bottle. Sometimes  I add a little water if the taste is too strong for her.  Just like the reviewers had said, other nipples by brands like Dr Browns and Playtex Ventaire fit perfectly into this dispenser.


  1. who knew there were so many things out there to help with cold etc for babies. It must be still so hard for a baby when they are feeling unwell

  2. Yes because they don't understand why they feel bad

  3. Little help to help them grow well. Taking well care of them.