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How to decode your baby’s cough

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No parent likes watching their baby cough, so it’s natural to want to find the best baby cough remedies. But first, it helps for parents to understand what causes a cough.

(You can also take a look at our baby cough remedies comparisons to find out the most rated products.)

What causes a cough 

The most common type of cough is from a respiratory tract infection, like a cold. However, there are some other causes for your little one’s coughing.

These include:

  • bacterial respiratory tract infections (these are rare)
  • irritants in the air, like pollution, smoke or the air being too cold
  • allergies and asthma

When working out the cause of a cough, doctors may ask you to listen to the different sounds your baby makes.

Baby with a dry or mucus cough

When your baby has a cold, the mucus produced can drip down the back of the nose and throat, causing a cough. This is especially common at night when they lie down. 

A cough that follows a cold could also be dry, which is very normal and should clear after about a week.

Baby with a wheezing cough

If your baby is making a wheezing sound when they breathe, this could could be bronchitis. The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne says, “Bronchiolitis is a cause of cough in children under 12 months of age, and is due to viral infections. The illness starts in the same way, with the symptoms of a cold.

“The difference is that after a few days, the baby may start to work harder to breathe and develop fast, noisy breathing (wheeze) with cough and fever.” 

Baby with a barking cough

A baby with a barking cough could be croup, which is usually caused by a viral infection and affects the upper airway.  

The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne says, “Croup begins with symptoms of a cold and then causes swelling of the voice box (larynx) and windpipe (trachea). The swelling of the upper airway can cause a harsh noise when the child breathes in, called ‘stridor.'”

Home remedies for a baby’s cough

Similar to when your baby has a cold, antibiotics aren’t effective for treating a cough caused by viral infection. Paracetamol can be offered for babies who are over one-month-old. 

Additionally, a baby nasal spray with an aspirator may help to remove mucus from your baby’s nose, and stopping it from dripping down their throat. (Read baby nasal spray reviews.)

It’s thought that 1-2 tsp of honey before bed could reduce the severity and duration of a cough in children over 12 months.

You can also read baby cough remedy reviews from other parents to help you find the right one for you.  

As always, if you’re worried about your baby’s cough, or they have a fever – you should make an appointment with your healthcare provider. 

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