Food to give baby during cold

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:

A cold in a child: how to treat it correctly

Many parents are ready for the fact that babies will catch common, including seasonal infections, which is typical for childhood. Some parents study the methods of treating ARVI and colds in advance, read about it from experienced mothers in blogs and diaries, consult with doctors they know, and watch medical programs. But even despite the fact that the child's body from birth has a powerful immune system, this protection is imperfect. Therefore, no matter how informed the mother is, when the child becomes ill, she has a lot of questions that require qualified answers.
What is ARI and SARS
Most often, children are faced with acute respiratory diseases, abbreviated as acute respiratory infections or colds. This is especially evident when visiting children's groups, where they come into contact with other kids, and actually exchange various pathogens. The mothers of "kindergarten" children are very familiar with the phrase: "We go for 2 days, then 2 weeks - on sick leave."
A cold can be both viral and bacterial, even fungal and of a different nature, in 70-80% of cases it is of a viral nature. It is impossible to establish the origin of a cold with accuracy on a pediatric examination, as well as “by eye” to distinguish one infection from another. However, there are certain signs that indicate the action of viruses, harmful bacteria and other pathogens. For example, nasal mucus is indicative of an acute respiratory viral infection, which usually begins with mild malaise, decreased appetite, moodiness, and sleep disturbance in a child. This is a prodromal period, it lasts from several hours to 1-2 days. And such a viral infection as the flu begins acutely, immediately with a very high temperature, intoxication, there is almost no prodromal period, dry cough appears in the late stages of the disease. Often SARS passes with catarrhal symptoms: nasal congestion, change in tone of voice, "circles", "blue" under the eyes, runny nose, discharge from the nose, cough, sore throat and swallowing.
What to do?
First of all, you need to remember that parents should not panic if the child has a fever and other unpleasant symptoms of a cold. Any mood of the mother is transmitted to the baby. A cold with a competent approach is simply MUST pass in 5-7 days without complications. And it is important to know that the treatment of a cold is complex, which includes the main drugs - antiviral, antibacterial, etc., as well as symptomatic therapy. You should not rely on just one medicine as a panacea, a magic pill from advertising or the advice of a pharmacy worker.
How to treat?
Antivirals. There is a lot of misinformation about antivirals now. They are credited with mythical side effects and actions. If this comes from a doctor, then he must provide data confirming his point of view in official sources, which are state medical institutions, major scientific journals.

Antibiotics. As for antibiotics, their use is currently limited by very clear indications, contraindications, age of the patient, etc. In addition, antibiotics, especially with uncontrolled, frequent use, contribute to the formation of new strains of harmful bacteria that are difficult to treat. Usually, against the background of antibiotic treatment, it is customary to prescribe biological products - live microbes that make up the human intestinal microflora. But there is an opinion that the antibiotic has a detrimental effect on these bacteria, and such therapy does not bring the desired result.

Auxiliaries . In the treatment of colds of any origin, symptomatic therapy is used, the action of which is directed against the symptoms of the disease. They are called auxiliary, as they help to alleviate the course of a cold. They do not get rid of the cause of ARVI, but the child's own antibodies work against viruses.

How to treat a runny nose? In case of a runny nose, a nasal toilet with saline solutions is performed. The procedure is simple, but requires certain skills and care. To do this, you should seat the child with his back to him, first clean his nose. In babies, this can be done with cotton buds (in children under six months old, only with ordinary cotton turundas), and at an older age, children can already blow their nose. After that, you need to raise the chin, holding the child's face with his palm in a raised position. Using a pipette, drip saline solution into both nasal passages, lower the child's head forward. Part of the medicine may spill out of the nose, but the result of such a procedure will still be achieved. If there are no special recommendations from the pediatrician of the sick child, you can use a pipette and normal saline. But preferably a sterile solution based on sea water. It is a delusion to think that washing a child's nose will be addictive or the snot will flow out on its own. Part, of course, can leak out, but if you do not clean your nose, there is a high risk of infection spreading to the lower respiratory tract, the development of complications such as inflammation of the trachea, bronchi, and lungs.
If the runny nose is profuse, watery, painful, accompanied by nasal congestion, vasoconstrictor drugs (based on oxymetazoline, xylometazoline) are used in the form of drops at bedtime, before walking with the child. This helps the baby to have a good rest in a dream without waking up, and on a walk it is normal to breathe through the nose without taking cold air into the mouth. It should not be instilled into the nose of a child in a supine state, since there is a high probability of a change in pressure during such manipulation and there is a risk of otitis media. All instillations must be done while sitting. The use of special preparations in the form of soft (spray with limited jet pressure) should be carried out with great care, since there is also a risk of promoting the spread of infection under pressure.

Antipyretics . Often there are questions about the use of antipyretics, for children - these are drugs based on paracetamol or ibuprofen, for babies - in syrup, suppositories. It should be noted that if there are no special recommendations in this regard, it is necessary to reduce the temperature above 38.3 - 38.5 ° С. If the child feels well, plays, has an appetite, and, in general, tolerates temperature well, antipyretic drugs can not be used. If the parents see that the child's condition is bad, he refuses to eat and drink, becomes lethargic, vomiting occurs, headache, the temperature rises further, you can start giving antipyretics even at a low temperature.

How to treat a cough? Questions about cough are the most frequent and sometimes the most difficult at pediatric appointments for SARS. It is best if the doctor dynamically observes the coughing child. In this case, the specialist can distinguish changes in the tone of the voice, a barking component, a dry or wet cough, wheezing, localization of wheezing. If the pediatrician recommends taking an x-ray, you should not refuse such an examination, this will help to make the correct diagnosis and prescribe adequate treatment. Currently, in the treatment of cough, inhalation drugs are widely used - through a special device - an inhaler. This tactic reduces the systemic effect of the drug on the child's body, where the drug reaches the point of its application - large and medium bronchi, and even alveoli. Inhalers can be used from the very birth of a child, but it is necessary to pay attention to the type of device, the medicinal substances recommended for it, their dosages and the frequency of use.
Activities before the doctor arrives
Sometimes, especially during the season of high incidence of flu and colds, there are difficulties with a doctor's visit, you have to wait for an appointment, the doctor does not have time to come as quickly as parents would like. There are steps that can be taken before the arrival of a specialist. It is necessary to measure the temperature of the child and write down the data on the thermometry performed in a diary, which is then shown to the doctor. If the temperature is high, do not wrap or even dress the child warmly. At home, you can generally strip to your underwear. Disposable diapers are also recommended to be removed from babies. Do not forget about physical methods of cooling - you can wipe it with cool water, you can put a cloth moistened with water on the head, stomach, places of the main vessels. A sick child should be given plenty of fractional water, even if he refuses to drink, it is necessary to constantly offer from a teaspoon, moisten his lips.
There are no children who do not get sick. Everyone gets sick, only some often, while others not so much. The main thing to remember is that any medicines should be prescribed by a doctor at an internal appointment, after examination.

A cold in a child at 2 years old - how to treat it? Treatment of SARS and colds

At the age of 2, the baby's immunity is at the stage of formation, in addition, at this time he is already in contact with strangers (for example, in kindergarten), which increases the risk of infectious diseases. Parents need to know how to act at the first sign of SARS, and what antivirals and cold medicines for children 2 years old will be preferable.

A familiar situation - the child went to the kindergarten absolutely healthy, and in the evening begins to squish his nose? The very fact of the disease is not as scary as some parents perceive it. Thanks to the penetration of foreign agents, which are pathogenic microorganisms, the child's body trains. Thus, a specific immunity is formed that provides protection against certain viruses.

The task of moms and dads is to create such conditions so that the disease passes as quickly and softly as possible for the baby, and the treatment must be brought to full recovery in order to prevent the transition to a chronic form.


Since young children get colds six or more times a year, most parents are well aware of the "standard" signs of an impending illness:

  • runny nose;
  • rapid breathing;
  • cough;
  • lacrimation;
  • temperature increase up to 38 0 C.

In addition, the sick baby becomes capricious and irritable due to difficulty breathing. All this is the natural consequences of the infection, which will subside in three days. If, in addition to these symptoms, you notice that the baby’s stool is disturbed, the skin color has changed, rashes appear, the temperature has risen to 38.5 0 C or, conversely, dropped to 36 0 C, you should immediately call a doctor.

  • It is advisable to consult a doctor in cases where, along with the usual symptoms of the disease, additional symptoms that are not typical of a cold appear, and also if after three days there is no improvement.


The first thing the parents of a sick child need to do is to release him from going to kindergarten and provide half-bed rest. This will help stop the disease at an early stage, as well as get rid of the infection of other children, because on the first day a cold is incredibly contagious.

When a child has a cold at 2 years old, doctors, answering the question “How to treat?”, Do not advise parents to use aggressive medications.

  • Bring down the temperature if it rises above 38.5 0 C, or if it lasts more than three days. An increase in temperature during a cold and SARS is a normal reaction of the body, an indicator that the fight against the virus is underway. At elevated temperatures, the reproduction of viruses slows down, and immunity is activated. The task of parents is to create conditions under which the baby will more easily endure temperature changes. If the child has chills, hot drinks should be given and warmer clothing should be given. During the heat, on the contrary, you need to open the baby a little and carry out warm rubdowns.
  • The use of antibiotics is effective only in case of bacterial infections. If the disease is of a viral nature, then taking these funds instead of help will only harm health. Before deciding on the use of an antibiotic in a child, it is imperative to consult a doctor.
  • Nasal drops should be used with great care. All of them are vasoconstrictors that are addictive when used for more than 3-4 days and have a lot of side effects. Prolonged instillation of the nose with such drugs leads to the fact that the vessels stop working normally, and a chronic runny nose develops.


If there are so many prohibitions and restrictions, what to do and what drugs to use for the treatment of acute respiratory viral infections and colds in children of 2 years old in order to ensure a speedy recovery without complications?

  1. First of all, create favorable conditions for the child's immunity to fight the disease itself. For this you need:
    • regularly carry out wet cleaning in the room, ensure its ventilation, use air humidifiers - viruses "do not like" clean, cool, humidified air;
    • provide the baby with frequent plentiful drinking, while using drinks whose temperature is as close as possible to body temperature;
    • provide a balanced diet, focusing on the baby's appetite (do not force feed!).
  2. To make your baby's breathing easier and help clear mucus, rinse your nose with saline solutions that help relieve swelling.
  3. Use gentle antiviral agents such as Anaferon for children. A feature of the drug is an immunomodulatory effect, which implies a mild correction of the immune system. The drug has been used in pediatrics for more than 10 years for the prevention and treatment of viral diseases in children from 1 month old.
  4. Additionally, depending on the condition of the baby, the doctor may prescribe expectorants, mucolytics (to remove sputum) and antitussives.

See also