Does motherhood makes us a soft-hearted person or is it just me? Not a day has gone by when I haven’t cried after being a mom. And most of the times it is just because of that overwhelming emotion that you feel when looking at your sweetheart’s adorable face while she is asleep!!So can you imagine the pain I (every mom out there) must feel when my baby is not well?
I still remember Pearl’s first fever. While the fever subsided after 3-4 days, the cold and cough that followed were too adamant to go away! She was just 4 months old and it seriously broke my heart to see this tiny little, always smiling baby in pain. Her voice cracked (I never knew it could happen to babies too!), she couldn’t sleep all night and the poor thing could not even nurse properly. She would find it difficult to swallow the milk because of the stuffy nose.
“The pain of watching our babies in pain is just too much to bear.”
I was at my Parent’s home at that time and seriously on the verge of a breakdown. Thats when my mom being a “MOM” worked her magic with some age old home remedies to cure cold and cough in babies. She said she used them when I was little and her mom used it on her. So you see it has been in the family since generations.
Initially, I really had my doubts but at that point I could do anything to help my sweetheart recover, so I gave them a try. It wasn’t an instant cure obviously but she was definitely getting better.
Today after almost a year, she is again down with severe chest congestion and dry cough. I tried all the home treatments that my mom taught me and it worked this time too. She hasn’t fully recovered yet but she is getting there. Now as I write this, I see here sleeping peacefully for the first time in last five days. By now it has been four hours straight without getting cranky and waking up crying.
May be her medications are finally kicking in, or the weather is good tonight but I seriously think these home remedies also have a hand in her recovery. Now that I have tried and tested them all on my baby, I can safely share them with you all. Because the pain of watching our babies in pain is just too much to bear. So here you go-
1: Betelnut leaf (Paan Ka Patta)
Take a betel nut leaf and apply mustard oil on it on both sides. Now heat a tava and slightly roast the leaf on both sides until you can see and smell the juices oozing out. Don’t brown them for they will get dry and wither away.
Once the leaf starts bubbling, take it out of the tava, cool off and put it on your baby’s chest. Repeat a couple of time, then leave the leaf on the chest and tie a soft cloth to keep it intact for a couple of hours.
Pearl never let me tie it on to her chest. She would pull the cloth away every single time. So I would just keep warming up the leaf and applying on her chest a few more times than actually required.
*Please put the leaf on the inside of your wrist first to check the temperature before applying it on your baby. It should be warm not hot or else you it could cause scalding. If you are too worried, just put a muslin cloth on the baby and put the leaf over it to avoid any burns.
**If the leaf isn’t large enough to cover the baby’s chest, you may use two leaves at a time.
2: Vaporizer (Or the good old hot shower)
There are a lot of options for humidifiers and vaporizers available in the market today but back when my baby had her first cold and cough, I did not have one. (Although it was just a year ago). So let me tell you my substitute for it.
I closed the bathroom door and window and turned on the hot shower. Within minutes it got all steamy in there. I sat there (obviously away from the shower) holding Pearl for good 15 minutes.
The steam helped to clear her blocked nose and soothed her. I could feel it because she instantly felt calm and slept for two hours at a stretch when I came out and put her to bed.
Another way is to fill a thermos flask with boiling hot water. Put a calpol capsule in it and let the steam and the smell of the calpol fill up your little one’s room.
*Be very cautious. An open bottle full of boiling water near your baby can do more harm than good if left unattended.
3: Mustard oil (Sarson Tel)
Take a spoonful of mustard oil on your palms and rub until it is warm. Now gently rub this oil on your baby’s chest, back and feet.
Alternatively you could chop a few cloves of garlic and add them to about 1 cup of mustard oil. Bring it to boil and let it simmer for a few minutes. Now cool it off and store it in an air tight bottle. Use this wonder oil to massage your baby whenever she has cough or cold.
4: Garlic and Carom seeds. (Lahsun and Ajwain )
Dry roast a couple of garlic cloves and spoonful of carom seeds on a hot tawa. Now collect them on a muslin cloth and tie a pouch out of it. (I call it jaadu ki potli;)) You can warm the potli and rub it on your baby’s chest and feet whenever required.
When Pearl has a severe cold and nothing works, I keep this hot tava in my room away from the bed. The vapour coming out of the carom seeds and garlic opens up her nasal passage instantly.
*Carom seed splutter a lot when roasted so keep a safe distance while doing it.
** If you are keeping the tawa in the room, you may want to cover it with a glass lid or a steel sieve to let the vapour out but avoid carom seeds from spluttering and harming your baby in any way.
5: Basil infused water (Tulsi)
It is more of a prevention thing than an actual remedy. Fill your baby’s sippy cup with boiled and cooled drinking water and a couple of thoroughly washed tulsi leaves. Let her sip this water mix throughout the day.
Tulsi has great anti-bacterial properties and is highly effective to keep cold and cough at bay.
This is my personal morning routine throughout the flu season.
6: Flour and Jaggery soup (Raab)
Whenever our babies catch a cold or cough, it is our tendency to switch their meals to vegetable soups. While veggie soups are easier to digest and are great to temporarily soothe their sore throats, it doesn’t do much to cure your baby’s cough.
Try this flour and jaggery soup instead-
Heat 1tsp of ghee in a wok or kadhai. Add around 1-11/2 tsp of wheat flour to it. Roast the flour in a low flame until it turns reddish brown. Don’t neglect this step or else the flour won’t cook through.
In a pan, take a cup of water and add 2 tsp of grated jaggery, 1 clove and a pinch of carom seeds and turmeric to it. Bring this mixture to boil. Strain the water and keep it aside.
When the flour has completely turned dark reddish brown, add water and mix continuously to avoid any lumps. It should have a runny consistency.
Have your baby or toddler have this magic potion every time they catch a cold. It is wholesome, soothes the throat and loosens up the phlegm accumulated in your baby’s chest.
*It is effective for babies, toddlers and adults alike. So next time when you catch a cold, you know how to treat yourself mama!!
7: Turmeric Milk (Haldi)
“Haldi wala doodh” is probably our national drink in the flu season. You hear your mother or grandmother suggest it every time someone catches a cold in the family.
Turmeric is the best and the safest anti-microbial agent out there and yes, its effective for babies and toddlers too.
For toddlers more than a year, you can add a pinch of turmeric and some grated ginger to their regular cow’s milk.
For babies less than a year, add a pinch of turmeric to your breast milk or formula. Avoid ginger just in case you have not introduced it to your baby yet.
“There is no better feeling than the one of putting a baby at ease”
There are many other home remedies to treat cold and cough but I haven’t tested them personally so I cannot vouch for them. These on the other hand are my go-to solutions and have worked for Pearl every time she is sick.
Do let me know if any of these treatments work for your child. For there is no better feeling than the one of putting a baby at ease.
Do you have any other age-old home remedy in your family for cold and cough? Let me know in the comments below!
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