Food for cold in babies

Babies & Toddlers With Coughs or Colds: Drug-Free Relief

Written by WebMD Editorial Contributors

When you have a cough or cold, you might reach for over-the-counter (OTC) drugs to ease your symptoms. But you can't do that for babies or toddlers. Cough and cold medicines that are safe for grownups can cause serious side effects -- even life-threatening ones -- in children under age 2.

If your baby or toddler is sniffling or coughing, try these methods. They’re all drug-free and safe for the tiniest of patients:

Try Saline Drops

When your child's nose is stuffy, they may have trouble breathing, sleeping, and eating. Saline nasal drops can thin the mucus in their nose and shrink swollen airways. Use them two or three times per day; any more often could make their nose sore. Nasal saline gel can be used to calm congestion.

Saline drops may make it easier to remove mucus from your child's nose. For babies, try a suction bulb or nasal aspirator. If your toddler can blow their nose with your help, give that a try.

Increase Fluids

When your child isn't feeling well, give more drinks than usual. Extra fluids can thin out their mucus so their nose won't be as stuffy and they’ll cough up all that gunk more easily.

Most drinks, like water, juice, and milk, are fine. Warm liquids like chicken soup, or apple juice can soothe a sore throat. Be sure they’re warm, not hot, to avoid burns. You can also offer an oral rehydration solution such as Pedialyte, or popsicles.

Babies under 6 months should only drink breast milk or formula, not water or juice. But you may offer more milk than usual for coughs or colds.

Give a Little Honey

It soothes sore throats and eases coughs. It may even work better for children than OTC cough medicines. Give your child 1/2 teaspoon of honey before bedtime. But never give it to a child less than a year old. It can make them very ill.

Use a Humidifier

Moisture in the air makes it easier to breathe, so run a humidifier in your child's bedroom at night. Cool-mist models are safer than those that produce steam. Follow cleaning instructions on the device to prevent mold.

Lower Fevers

Some colds and coughs come with a slight fever. If your baby or toddler has a fever, follow these steps:

  • Babies under 1 month: Call your pediatrician. Fever isn’t normal.
  • Babies under 3 months: Call the doctor for advice.
  • Babies 3 to 6 months: Give acetaminophen every 4 to 6 hours as needed. Follow dosage guidelines closely, and only use the syringe that came with the medicine, not a household spoon.
  • Babies 6 months or older and toddlers: Give acetaminophen every 4 to 6 hours or ibuprofen every 6 to 8 hours. Don't give both drugs at the same time.

Serve Easy-to-Swallow Foods

Babies and toddlers with scratchy, sore throats often don't want to eat because it hurts to swallow. Feed them foods that go down more easily.

Toddlers and babies who eat solids may prefer soft, smooth foods. Try ice cream, ice pops, flavored gelatin, pudding, yogurt, or applesauce. If they prefer warmer foods, try chicken broth or freshly made pudding. Babies 6 months and younger should stick with breast milk or baby formula.

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


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.

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;
  • 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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Information from the site:

What to feed a child with a cold and SARS

At the age of 1 to 6 years, the diagnosis of ARVI 6-10 times a year is a common thing. But parents do not need to be afraid of every sneeze. They should know how, at the first signs of illness , to create conditions that will help the sick baby to recover as quickly and without complications as possible. Of great importance is the rational nutrition of a child with a cold and SARS. What is meant by it?

Experienced doctors, answering the question of how to properly treat ARVI and influenza, will advise parents to provide their children with:

  • fresh, clean indoor air;
  • copious warm drink;
  • temporary bed rest;
  • proper nutrition.

There is an opinion that recovery is 90% dependent on diet and healthy sleep. Indeed, often a strong children's body can easily cope with the disease itself, without medicines. But how to feed a child with ARVI and a cold, so as not to harm him?


It is no secret that during illness, the appetite of children disappears - the young body is strenuously fighting infectious agents, and the digestion of food requires additional effort and energy.

Parents need to understand: they should not be forced to feed the baby, a short diet and slight weight loss do not pose a threat to his health, since the body has certain reserves of strength in case of illness. After recovery, the child will quickly gain the lost kilograms.

Another thing is drinking. It is necessary to give a sick child to drink as much as possible - from 1.5-2 liters per day. This will alleviate his condition, and most importantly, will contribute to the speedy removal of toxins from the body. Offer the crumbs a delicious fruit drink, warm tea, berry compote or jelly, rosehip broth, cocoa or milk (focus on the preferences of the baby).

Proper nutrition of a child with colds and SARS involves small portions of light and well-digestible food. It is best if the child asks for food himself, and no matter what time of day. Try to offer him something tasty and healthy, it is best that these are his usual dishes.

Why should a menu that is not familiar to a child be avoided? The fact is that the possibilities of digestion during illness are reduced, and instead of the expected benefits, new fruits, sweets or delicacies can cause disorders, and, accordingly, an additional serious burden on the body.

  • Make sure that your baby's diet includes vegetables and fruits that will provide the body with vitamins and microelements. Apples, pears, kiwis, lemons, coleslaws, carrots and beets will help stimulate the body's defenses.
  • Explaining how to feed a child with ARVI and a cold, the pediatrician will certainly mention well-known antimicrobial products: garlic, onion, ginger.
  • The baby needs as much liquid as possible, so juicy fruits such as watermelon, melon, etc. will be very useful.
  • Fried, spicy and salty foods should be avoided during this period. The most appropriate would be broths, steamed meat and fish, stewed vegetables, legume dishes, scrambled eggs, fermented milk products (yogurt, kefir, cottage cheese).
  • Do not get carried away with sweets, as sugar reduces the activity of leukocytes - cells that fight infection. Replace the usual treats with natural honey. Also, a baby with a sweet tooth can be pampered with dark chocolate, baked apples, fruit jelly and even ice cream.

As for drugs, the decision on the appropriateness of their use must be agreed with the doctor.

In most cases, you can get by with the usual salt baths for the nose, which will help remove mucus, and products, correcting the body's own immune defenses . The latter include the drug Anaferon for children , which has been used in pediatrics for more than 10 years. This is immunomodulator , which provides gentle support to the child's immune system and is recommended for children who often suffer from acute respiratory viral infections.

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