Best food for baby with cold

Foods to Eat & Avoid during Cold and Cough for Babies and Kids

If your bundle of joy has a cold and cough, it must be really hard for you to see him suffer. Your child may have a poor appetite during this time and he may even refuse to eat. But not getting adequate nutrition can slow down his body’s natural response to fight infection. You must make sure that he eats the right food to get him immune system back on track. Read this article to find out which foods you can give (and avoid) to your child when he has a cold or cough.

Video : Foods to Eat or Avoid During Cold and Cough for Babies and Kids

Giving nutritious foods to a baby which can be digested easily by him would be the best option. Here are some foods you should include in your child’s diet if he has a cough or cold:

1. Breast Milk

If you have a newborn or a baby below six months of age, breast milk will be the only source of nutrition for him. Breast milk, being a good source of antibodies, can strengthen the immune system of a child. Check to see if your baby is congested before you start feeding your child, as congestion can prevent your infant from feeding adequately.

2. Barley Water

Suitable for infants who are at least six months old, barley water is a great remedy for fever, cold, and cough. However, it is not suitable for children with gluten allergy and caution must be exercised if a family member has such an allergy. This is because the allergy might have been passed on to your child and you could be still unaware of this fact.

3. Applesauce

Also known as stewed apples, these are easy-to-digest and can help a baby stay hydrated. They come in handy during a cough and cold as they replenish the body’s fluid supply.

4. Rice Water or Gruel

Recommended for babies who are above six months of age, rice gruel is a soothing home remedy for a cough and cold. Rice water boosts the immunity of a child thereby helping him combat any infection.

5. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a rich source of nutrients and strengthen the immune system. They also help the body in producing white blood cells. Sweet potatoes can be consumed in the form of porridge or you can mash and puree them for your little one aged six months and above.

6. Carrots

Carrots have medicinal properties and eating carrots can enhance the immune system and keep away bacteria and viruses. You can steam and mash the carrots to give it to your baby. You can also puree them or make carrot soup. However, give it your baby only if he is above six months of age.

7. Pomegranate Juice

The antioxidants in pomegranate juice can help subdue your child’s cold. Make pomegranate juice and add a bit of pepper powder and dry ginger powder to it. Give it to your baby if he is 6 months or older. This juice will help provide him relief from a cold and cough.

8. Moong Dal Porridge

Moong dal porridge is a wholesome and filling food for babies suffering from cold. It can be given during lunch or dinner. Suitable for children seven months and older, it is a soothing dish that you little one will enjoy.

9. Curd Rice

If your child is over eight months of age, you can feed him curd rice with a little seasoning of ginger and cumin seeds any time he is unwell. If your child has a cough or a cold, ensure that the curd you serve him is at room temperature and not too cold or sour.

10. Idli and Dosa

Steamed idli and dosa make great comfort food and can be given to kids when they are unwell and don’t feel like eating. You can give idli or dosa at any time of the day to your child if he is eight months or older. You can also offer chutney or some homemade jam as a dip.

11. Sabudana Porridge

Sabudana is also known as sago; it is a good source of starch and can give your child a dose of energy. As it easy to digest, it is a preferred choice for children when they are sick. You can make sabudana porridge, serve it with vegetables, or you can simply give the water. It is good for babies aged seven months or older.

12. Broccoli

Rich in antioxidants, broccoli is a good pick for combating infections. It energizes the body’s immune system and is suitable for children over eight months of age. You can make broccoli soup or puree for your little one. He will soon feel better.

13. Tomato Soup

Almost all of us like tomato soup; it is tasty and healthy. And the good thing is that it can be even given to children older than eight months of age. It constitutes a healthy dose of Vitamin C – you can mix some mashed rice in it before offering it to your baby.

14. Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes taste delicious and can be quite filling for a baby. Made from boiled potatoes, they usually appeal to children of all ages and can be introduced from eight months onwards.

15. Dalia

Being soft food, it can be swallowed easily, especially if a child has a throat irritation or pain. It can be made without milk to speed up the digestion process when a baby is sick. Dalia can be given to babies who are eight months and older.

16. Citrus Fruits

Drinking orange juice or lemon juice can help prevent cell damage while easing congestion and thinning out mucus. Make the juice with lukewarm water and add a dash of honey. It is generally recommended for children who are one year or above.

17. Turmeric Milk

A little turmeric powder mixed in warm milk with a dash of pepper acts as a natural antibiotic and can cure a cold as well as throat infection in babies who are one year or above.

18. Mushroom Soup

The health benefits of mushrooms are plenty, and their ability to keep infections away is well known. You can give warm mushroom soup to your baby; it is great comfort food for toddlers with a cold and cough. It is usually given to children who have attained the age of one.

19. Poha or Beaten Rice

It is soft and can be chewed by babies easily. Poha is also easy-to-digest and makes for a filling meal, especially for a child who is unwell. You can give poha to your child if he is 1 year or older.

20. Tulsi Water

Tulsi or Indian basil can provide relief from a cold and cough. Boil a few leaves of tulsi in half a litre of water for about 5 minutes. Strain and give it to your child. You can give it to babies above 6 months of age.

21. Garlic Lentil Soup

Just like rice water, dal ka pani is good for babies. But if your baby is suffering from a cold and cough, you can give him garlic and lentil soup. Garlic has antiviral properties and can boost the immune system. Its antiviral properties can prevent infections as well as speed up the healing process.

22. Ajwain Water

Giving ajwain water can also provide relief from cough and can clear chest congestion. Boil a tablespoon of carom seeds in water for some time. Let it cool then strain the liquid, then give it to your baby at regular intervals.

Foods to Avoid During Cold and Cough

There are certain foods that you should avoid including in your child’s diet if he has a cold and cough. This is because some fruits and vegetables are likely to have a cooling effect and can lead to respiratory infections. These include:

1. Refined Sugar and Sweets

Too much sugar is not good for anyone, especially for babies and toddlers. Hence, sugar and sweets laden with sugar should not be given to a child when he has a cold or cough.

2. Dry Fruits and Nuts

Your child may find it hard to chew or swallow dry fruits and nuts if he has a cold or cough. There is also a risk of pieces getting stuck in his throat if he coughs while eating. So it’s best not to give dry fruits and nuts. However, you can give them in powdered form – add the powder to his milk and porridges when he is sick.

3. Spicy and Oily Foods

Spicy or oily food can irritate the throat and worsen your child’s cough and cold. Thus, it is best to not give them to your kiddo.

Tips to Feed a Child Suffering From a Cough and Cold

If your munchkin is unwell, he is bound to get cranky and may fuss while eating. Here are a few things you should keep in mind to make sure he gets the required nourishment:

  • Babies aged six months and younger should be breastfed or can be given formula if they have a cold and cough.
  • Babies who are 6 months and above should have frequent small meals instead of big meals thrice a day.
  • If your baby’s doctor prescribes oral rehydration solution (ORS) to your toddler, be sure to give it to your child as and when required.
  • If your baby does not want to eat something, give him what he wants to eat. Do not force-feed your sick child.
  • If your baby is above six months of age, make sure he stays hydrated. Offer him different types of fluids. These can include water, milk, broth, and fresh fruit juice made with slightly warm water.

These are just some general guidelines you should follow if your child is down with a cold or cough. However, if there are symptoms like wheezing or ear pain, then it is best to consult a doctor immediately as it can be an ear infection or something more serious. Also, do not introduce any new foods when your baby is ill as these can aggravate the symptoms or cause allergies, worsening the matters. Consult your doctor if your child’s condition doesn’t improve over a couple of days. Since dehydration is a possibility because of infections, so keep an eye on your child, note these early signs to ensure you can get your child the help he needs immediately.

Also Read:

Cold and Cough Medicine for Infants and Children
Home Remedies for Children’s Colds and Flu
How to Deal with Dry Cough in Babies

Foods to offer during cold & cough in Babies, Toddlers and Kids

Breastfeeding is much recommended when the baby is sick, as antibodies in breast milk help to fight the baby's illness and also it is easily digested. It's especially important when your baby is less than six months.

If the baby has a runny nose and congested, breastfeeding the baby is a little tricky, hence feed the baby in upright position & try using saline drops (after consulting with the doctor) to clear out a runny nose before breastfeeding. That might help the baby to take the feed.

2. Barley Water (6 Months+):

Barley water is a world-known remedy for cold, cough and even fever. But be sure to feed your baby with barley water in moderation and make sure your family has no history of allergy to gluten. Make barley water thick by adding less water and feed warm when your baby is down with cold or fever. Check out barley water recipe here:

3. Rice Gruel (6 Months+):

Rice gruel/Rice water/Watery rice soup is another common home remedy for treating cold and fever, as it helps to boost the immune system. It's also a natural energy drink for the child who is fighting the infection.  Check out the rice gruel recipe here:

4. Turmeric Milk with pepper & palm candy (1 year +):

Turmeric and pepper are the best natural antibiotics that help to get rid of cold, dry cough and throat infection. Avoid any milk or this turmeric milk if your child is taking antibiotics and the doctor advised the same. Check out the preparation of Turmeric milk recipe here with the detailed steps.

5. Dry ginger coffee or chukku kappi (2 years +):

This dry ginger coffee is a grandmas home remedy for cold, nasal congestion and sore throat. It always works great and gives instant relief. Add basil leaves to this dry ginger coffee for added benefits to treat cold and cough. Check out the preparation of dry ginger coffee recipe here with the detailed steps.

6. Besan Sheera (10 Months +):


7. Vegetable Clear Soup (8 Months+):

Vegetable clear soups are easily absorbed by the body. Hence it is best to offer during cold. Make it as a clear soup with spices like pepper & cumin seeds during cold. Check out vegetables soup recipe here:

8. Chicken Clear Soup (9 Months+):

The chicken clear soup is the best remedy for a cold that can clear a stuffy nose and gives instant relief from cold symptoms. When taken warm, it soothes a throat and makes the child comfortable. It also helps to relieve congestion. Check out the preparation of chicken soup recipe here with detailed steps.

9. Vegetables Dal Soup (7 Months+):

11. Apple & Carrot Soup (6 Months+):

Apple and carrots are rich in antioxidants which would be the right choice during colds. Make a warm soup with apple & carrot and sprinkle pepper powder when your baby is down with a cold. Serve your baby warm. Check out apple and carrot soup recipe here: 

12. Tomato Soup (8 months +):

Tomato soup is a great home remedy for cold, as it is loaded with vitamin C and it always works like a charm. Also, it tastes yummy! You can offer this tomato soup as such or mix with the mashed rice and feed your baby.

Check out tomato soup recipe here: 

13. Mushroom Soup (1 year +): 

Mushrooms are amazing immune system boosters and help prevent infections. Hence the mushroom soups are apt during cold and cough. You can avoid cream in this mushroom soup when offered during the episodes of cold and cough. Check out the preparation of mushroom soup recipe here with detailed steps.

Fruits and Vegetables:

14. Stewed Apple (6 Months+):

Stewed apples or applesauce is an ideal food to offer during fever as it's easily digestible. It also helps to keep the baby hydrated. Check out Stewed apple recipe here:

15. Steamed Mashed Nendran Bananas (6 Months+):

Like apples, steamed nendran/ Kerala bananas are also easily digestible, and hence it's ideal to offer during cold or fever. Check out Nendran banana mash recipe here: 

16. Pomegranate Juice  (6 Months+):

Antioxidants in Pomegranate fruit helps to fight the cold. Give pomegranate juice with little pepper powder & dry ginger powder for best results during cold and cough. Check out Pomegranate Juice here:

17. Mashed white Potatoes (8 Months+):

18. Sweet Potatoes (6 Months +):

Sweet potatoes are packed with immune-boosting nutrients that help the body to produce white blood cells. Give steamed, mashed/pureed sweet potatoes or give as porridge to your kid during this period.
Below are the recipes for sweet potato mash and porridge recipes.

Check out Sweet Potato Puree recipe here

Check out Sweet Potato Poha Porridge recipe here

19. Broccoli (8 Months +):

Broccoli is sure the best choice during cold and cough as it has antioxidant compounds to help fight disease. It also stimulates the body's immune system. Give steamed broccoli or as puree or soup. Below are the recipes of broccoli soup and broccoli potato mash

Check out Broccoli Soup recipe here (Avoid cheese/cream while preparing for a sick child)

Check out Broccoli Potato Puree recipe here

20. Carrots  (6 Months+):

Carrots help to boost the defensive power of the immune system against viruses and bacteria that fight the diseases by destroying microbes. Choose steamed, mashed carrots or carrot soup for best results. Below are the recipes of carrot soup and carrot puree

Check out carrot soup recipe here

Check out Carrot Puree recipe here

21.citrus fruits (10 Months +):

Citrus fruits protect the body from cell damage and boost the immune system. It also helps to relieve congestion and keeping the mucus thin. Make fresh juice with lemon or orange with lukewarm water & serve or add lemon juice to warm water and serve with honey(for babies below one year avoid honey). Below are the recipes for lemon juice and orange juice below:

Check out Lemon Juice recipe here

Check out Orange Juice recipe here

22. Vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables:

Vitamin C rich foods help to increase the production of antibodies and white blood cells which helps to fight the infection. It does not only help to get rid of the cold but also helps in preventing.

Serving suggestions:
  • Offer fruits as a puree or cut fruits or make juice with lukewarm water or as a smoothie with coconut milk.
  • Offer vegetables as steamed or mashed
Fruits that are rich in Vitamin C:
Vegetables that are rich in Vitamin C:
  • White potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Turnips
  • Bell peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Green peas

Wholesome & Filling Foods:
23. Moong dal Khichdi (7 Months+):

Moong dal khichdi is a filling and soothing food that makes your baby or toddler feel better during cold or fever. It's a light and healthy meal option when the little one is down with a cold. Check out moong dal khichdi recipe here

24. Curd Rice (8 Months+):

Curd rice seasoned with cumin seeds and chopped ginger is the best food to offer when the baby is sick. Make sure the curd is at room temperature, not sour or chilled. Check out curd rice recipe here ( make it without milk for easier digestion)


25. Oatmeal Porridge (8 Months+):

Oatmeal porridge is a soft and easily digestible food for kids who are suffering from cold and fever. Also, it's very easy to swallow when the child has a sore throat. Check out oatmeal porridge recipe here (you could make it without milk for a lighter version)


26. Dalia Porridge (8 Months+):

Dalia porridge is another soft food you could prefer feeding your baby when he is sick. It's easy to swallow and coat a painful throat while providing nutrition. Check out dalia porridge/ broken wheat porridge recipe here (make it without milk for easier digestion)

27. Sabudhana (7 Months+):

Sabudhana or sago is full of scratch and is great for a quick boost of energy, hence it's considered as the best food to consume when the baby is sick. It's very easy to digest. You could serve sabudhana Khichdi with some vegetables or make sabudhana kheer without milk and nuts, cook sabudhana pearls in water and make as a porridge, offer as such or you can strain and feed the water alone. Check out the sabudana recipes mentioned above here

Sabudana Khichdi 

Sabudhana kheer

28. Idli or Steamed Dosa (8 Months+):

Idli or steamed dosa is an easily digestible and soft food, you can prefer as a breakfast/dinner during cold or fever. Serve with curd or plain dhal. Check out Idli and steamed dosa recipe here:

29. Idiyappam (8 Months+):

Idiyappam or rice noodles is another easily digestible breakfast or dinner option as it's made with rice and steamed. Serve it plain or with lemon juice. Check out Idiyappam recipe here:

Feeding a sick child

Publication date: 12/15/2016 08:22

April 22nd, 2016 Olga.

While the child grows up, he will be ill with various diseases more than once. About 80% is accounted for by SARS. Any disease (we are now talking about the flu, SARS) is characterized by poor health of the child - malaise, cough, runny nose, weakness, and maybe intestinal upset. And all this affects the appetite of the child. If a child has caught a cold, mothers always ask themselves the question: how to feed him properly? Proper nutrition of a sick child will help to quickly cope with the disease. nine0003

During an illness, the baby always has a poor appetite. There are physiological reasons for this:

  • at elevated temperatures, blood circulation in the stomach slows down. because the body sends blood to vital organs: the heart and lungs. The process of digestion and assimilation of food slows down and the child needs less food than usual;
  • during an illness, the liver actively fights toxins, the products of the vital activity of viruses and the decay of damaged cells, so a large amount of food carries an additional burden; nine0014
  • the toxins themselves poison the body and the child, when he feels bad, not at all before eating;
  • blocked nose, sore throat, difficult to swallow.

  • Nutrition should be appropriate for the child's age;
  • during illness, do not introduce new foods into the diet;
  • food should be sparing - liquid or semi-liquid;
  • make small meals if the baby does not want to eat, and the number of feedings can be increased;
  • if the child refuses to eat, let him drink more fluids (water, compote, fruit drink, rosehip broth). nine0014

From the diet during illness should be excluded:

  1. Hard-to-digest foods - fatty meat, whole grain cereals, fresh vegetables and fruits.
  2. Foods harmful to the liver - fatty dairy products, chocolate, vegetable oil, lard, confectionery.
  3. Rough, which can damage the mucous membrane - nuts, seeds, crackers, cookies.

Useful menu

During an illness, a child needs food that is well absorbed by a weakened body. Therefore, chicken broth, vegetable soups, stewed and boiled vegetables are perfect for feeding a child during SARS. nine0003

To avoid mechanical irritation of the stomach, choose foods that are low in fiber. What foods are low in fiber? These are potatoes, cauliflower, pumpkin, rice and semolina, animal products.

Potatoes are especially delicate in fiber, so include mashed potatoes in your menu more often. You can cook mashed potatoes with sausage, cheese. Beautifully decorate the dish.

Animal protein must be present in the diet of a sick child, since it is a building material for protective antibodies. They are rich in lean meat - veal, beef, lean pork. For soups, use secondary broths from turkey meat, rabbit, chicken breast. nine0003

What else can you feed a child during illness? Yogurt helps out well, especially homemade, with the addition of berries.

Cook porridge for the child: semolina, oatmeal, you can also add berries from jam or defrosted.

A sick child needs vitamins. You can make vitamin drinks from rose hips, berries, cook jelly, dried fruit compote, berry juice. . Such drinks will alleviate the condition of the baby if the throat hurts. But with indigestion, milk should not be given at all. nine0003

To increase the appetite of the dish, it is desirable to arrange it beautifully so that the child immediately has a desire to eat it.

Nutrition for a convalescent child

After an acute period of illness, a period of convalescence begins, when the baby is on the mend and nutrition during this period plays an important role. The food of a recovering baby should be rich in energy in order to restore strength, contain minerals and vitamins, the food should be well absorbed.

As soon as the symptoms of the disease subside, do not rush to pounce on a child with enhanced nutrition, it will take a few more days to restore digestion. Continue to follow the diet, adding lean meat and fish, cheese, eggs, boiled vegetables and fruits to it. nine0003

Ideal for casseroles, puddings, steamed cutlets, vegetable soups. Introduce fruits and vegetables into the diet and do not forget about sour-milk products that will help restore the disturbed intestinal microflora. Let during this period the food be fractional, the child eat a little. And when the body gets stronger, the child will return to a normal diet.

Choosing tactics

When feeding a sick child, parents should remember that it is impossible to force-feed a child!

We provide a diet with easily digestible products. Some parents find it difficult to feed the baby during illness, he categorically refuses to eat. Psychologists advise not to turn feeding into a circus with musical numbers so that the child eats "well, at least one spoonful."

If a child refuses to eat once, it will not bring much harm to health. He will not remain hungry, but will ask for something anyway when his appetite wakes up.

And don't scold the baby if he doesn't want to eat. Appetite will be restored. nine0003

Information from the site:

Nutrition for children with colds and flu. How much to drink for a child with a cold

"How to help a child with a cold? How to make him eat at least a bite?" mothers are worried. No need to force! The fact that a sick child loses his appetite is quite natural and understandable. After all, he moves less, does not walk, and therefore he needs less nutrients. Sore throats make it difficult to swallow, and eating may cause nausea or even vomiting. In addition, the body mobilizes all the forces to fight the infection, not wanting to spend them now on digesting food. nine0003

Try to trust your child more and listen to his needs. Don't want to eat? Don't insist. Believe me, a day or two or a little more will pass, and the appetite will return to the recovering child.

In the meantime, just offer him more liquid, because at a high temperature, heat transfer increases, and the liquid evaporates more actively from the surface of the body. Taking warm liquid reduces intoxication of the body, relieves sore throat and helps to thin viscous sputum. Even if the baby is breastfed and does not receive anything other than your milk, now he needs additional fluid intake. Offer him warm water from a spoon every hour or two. nine0003

For an older child, let's drink exactly what the child asks for and drinks best. It can be tea with lemon or raspberries, a decoction of rose hips, chamomile, thyme, fruit drinks from cranberries, currants, lingonberries, plain water, milk.

And if the baby does not refuse to eat when he has a cold, what is the best way to feed him?

It is better not to give the child solid food, as this may aggravate the pain in the throat. It is worth giving up crumbling food - crackers, cookies. If the baby coughs while eating them, the crumbs can get into the respiratory tract. Food should be liquid or semi-liquid, it can be in the form of mashed potatoes. nine0003

Check out purees that your baby will love.

Prefer vegetable and dairy foods. Vegetables and fruits are rich in vitamins and minerals that speed up the recovery of the baby. Therefore, feel free to give your child those vegetables and fruits that he loves. They can be fresh, boiled, steamed or baked. Dairy products will also work. They are nutritious and easy to digest. If the disease proceeds with complications, and the child receives antibiotics that do not have the best effect on the intestinal microflora, fermented milk products will help the intestines. nine0003

If a child completely refuses complementary foods during the period of illness and agrees to eat only breast milk or formula, treat this with understanding. As the child recovers, he will return to complementary foods. By the way, introducing complementary foods after an illness is not worth it all at once, but gradually, but the intervals for introducing various products are much shorter than when introducing a baby to complementary foods.

Foods such as onions and garlic have a positive effect on the immune system. If your child is too young to eat these foods but is breastfed, use these foods yourself. Just make sure that the baby does not refuse the breast after eating these products, they change the taste of milk somewhat.

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