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Natural Cough Remedies for Babies

By Kristy Wolanski ; Updated August 14, 2017

When the common cold and its cough creeps up on baby, it can be challenging to relieve the symptoms. Reaching for over-the-counter medicine can be dangerous, says Catherine Tom-Revzon, pediatrics clinical pharmacy manager at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore in New York City. The potential side effects from these medications often outweigh the potential benefits. Curing baby’s cough with natural remedies can prove to be safer and more cost effective. As always, consult a pediatrician before administering any type of treatment.

Moist Air

Often coughs are triggered by post-nasal drip that thickens and sticks to the back of the throat or by the need to clear the lungs. According to, using a steamy shower, a humidifier or a vaporizer to add moisture to the air will loosen mucus and allow for better drainage of the nasal passages. Try using the machines while baby sleeps. If using the shower, have the baby breathe 15 minutes in the steamy air. If you are using a vaporizer or humidifier, clean it at least once every three days for hygienic efficiency.


This remedy is for babies older than 12 months. Honey has long been thought to have medicinal properties. According to, “recent studies show that honey is better than cough medicine for relieving coughs and helping a sick child sleep better.” The recommended dose is 1/2 a teaspoon, as needed, for babies ages 1-6.

Warm or Cold Liquids

Try either a warm tea or cold juice or freezer pops to thin out and loosen mucus on the throat. Do not use dairy or other thicker liquids that can cause mucus to build up. Clear liquids will also help keep baby hydrated. Avoid caffeinated beverages because it can cause dehydration and make the back of the throat feel sticky and irritated.

Chicken Soup

According to Dr. Steven Rennard, a pulmonologist at the University of Nebraska, chicken soup has been found to “prevent excessive buildup of virus-fighting cells called neutrophils, which trigger the inflammatory responses.” Offer warm soup broth to baby as often as he will accept it until symptoms subside.

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