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Ask any parent and she'll tell you that one of the worst parts of having a baby with a cold is the sleep disruption -- hers and yours. But you shouldn't give any over-the-counter cold or cough meds to babies under 2 (certain ingredients can cause serious side effects, including increased nausea and vomiting, hallucinations, and rarely, even seizures). What you can do:
• Spritz a little saline spray up baby's nose at bedtime to loosen mucus, and then suck it out with a nasal aspirator. This should allow her to breathe easier long enough to doze off (you may need to repeat the process in the middle of the night).
• Place a humidifier in your baby's room to moisten the air and loosen congestion.
• Elevate your baby's head, which can minimize the discomfort of a stuffy nose. It's fine to let babies less than 3 or 4 months sleep their car seat. After that age, babies should go down in the crib -- they tend to sleep better when they can stretch out and roll around -- but you can place a folded towel or crib wedge under the mattress to raise your baby's head (never place anything directly in the crib, however; this can be a suffocation hazard).
Copyright 2005 Meredith Corporation. Updated 2009.
The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.