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  • Post last modified:January 6, 2021

Mom’s Question:

My son is one month old only and had a bit of a runny nose and a cough. He has no fever and eats well. But I heard that newborn babies should not be ill.

Should I take him to the hospital?


Baby Helpline :

What To Do When Newborn Gets A Cold

I completely agree with you, newborn babies should not be ill. Babies are more susceptible to suffer health complications due to their immature immune system. In fact, some diseases are more harmful in newborns because they can lead to severe health conditions. Diseases such as a cold or flu that will not normally cause complications in adults will do so in newborns.

However, from the signs that you described, it seems that your baby has an uncomplicated cold that will be resolved in a few days on its own. Nevertheless, you will have to keep an eye on your son’s evolution and try to keep him hydrated and comfortable.

Warning Signs Of Serious Respiratory Illness in Newborn Babies

If a newborn gets sick it is important to recognize some warning signs that need urgent attention because they might be the signs of health problems such as pneumonia. If your baby has:

  • nasal flaring,
  • abnormal movements of the thorax,
  • or if your baby is grunting,
  • does not want to feed,
  • is irritable or
  • has more than 60 breaths per minute,

…you should bring your baby immediately to the hospital.

It is also advisable to check his temperature every time you change his diaper because newborns have difficulties regulating their temperature. If your baby is too cold or has a high fever you have to call your doctor immediately.

Even if it is just a cold, a newborn baby can get dehydrated quickly, which is dangerous. With the runny nose, feeding may be difficult for your child.

If his appetite is affected, try feeding him often and in smaller amounts and use saline drops with a nasal aspirator prior to feeding. Also feed him in a slightly more upright position, again to make the breathing easier.

Breast milk is really beneficial in your situation because it contains immunoglobulins your body is making and will help the cold to fight the cold quicker. Using your breast milk instead of saline drops is also an option.

If it doesn’t get worse than a little bit of coughing and a runny nose, you probably don’t have to do anything. But, if you are worried, call or visit the doctor anyway. And do not give your baby any type of medication without consulting a doctor.

I hope he gets better soon,

(Answer approved by our Medical Reference Team)

More Sick Newborn Babies

Find answers and comments below.


Sep 14, 2018

Humidifier might help
by: Natalie


My baby got sick one time while she was about a month old with a bad cold. I had taken her to the emergency room and they checked her out. The reason I took her was that I was scared because it was very difficult for her to breathe.

They couldn’t do anything about it because you can not give any medications to a one-month-old.

I would advise using a humidifier, you could rub a little bit of Vicks, Vapor Rub on the top of the head and use the saline water to decongest the baby. Just watch the baby at all times and if you feel you need to take the baby to the hospital, please do so.


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