baby yawning
baby yawning

Baby Coughing: A Modern Dad's Guide to Soothing Your Little One

Discover essential guidance on how to handle your baby's cough with care. Our comprehensive article offers expert advice and safe remedies to provide comfort and peace of mind when your little one is coughing.

6 min read

Modern Dads, one of the most heart-wrenching sights and sounds for a parent is when your baby starts coughing. You want to provide comfort and relief, but you're also concerned.

It's important to remember that this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you're worried about your baby's health, please consult your pediatrician.

However, as a Modern Dad, you can take certain home-based actions to ease your baby's discomfort when they're coughing. We'll explore these remedies and offer some insights on when to seek professional help.

Before we delve into remedies, let's understand the common types of baby coughs:

  • Wet Cough: Often associated with mucus or phlegm. It can be a sign of a cold, flu, or respiratory infection.

  • Dry Cough: A dry, non-productive cough may be due to irritants in the air or a mild viral infection.

  • Croup Cough: Recognized by a distinctive "barking" sound, croup is usually caused by a viral infection.

  • Whooping Cough (Pertussis): This severe cough can cause severe, prolonged coughing spells and requires immediate medical attention.

Understanding Baby Coughs

It was a crisp autumn evening, and a subtle unease had settled upon our home. We were getting ready for bed but I kept hearing an unusual sound from my daughter.

Aurora was tossing and turning, clearly distressed. The sound she made as she coughed was a distinctive barking cough. The coughing spells worsened as the night wore on. My attempts to soothe her with a humidifier and elevation of her head was helpful but insufficient.

The following morning, I took her into the clinic as soon as they were opened. The medical staff swiftly assessed her condition and diagnosed her with croup. It was a viral infection causing inflammation and narrowing of her airways, explaining the barking cough and the difficulty in breathing.

The doctor prescribed a dose of oral steroids to reduce the inflammation and provide relief. Within what seemed like an eternity but was actually a matter of hours, her breathing began to ease, and the barking cough diminished. We were sent home with instructions to continue using the humidifier and to monitor her closely.

My Personal Story

Aurora's experience with croup highlighted the importance of seeking professional medical guidance when our children's health is at risk. The distinctive cough, coupled with labored breathing, was a clear sign that this was beyond the scope of home remedies.

Throughout this ordeal, one thing became abundantly clear: the power of parental comfort. While medical professionals provided the necessary treatment, it will be our love, soothing words, and constant presence that help our children find solace during those difficult nights.

Experiencing croup cough with my daughter was a challenging and unforgettable journey. As a Modern Dad, it taught me the importance of staying calm in moments of crisis, seeking professional help when needed, and, most importantly, being the comforting presence that our children rely on in times of distress.

My Lesson From This

Always consult a pediatrician if:

  • Your baby is less than three months old and has a cough.

  • The cough is accompanied by a high fever, rapid breathing, or wheezing.

  • Your baby's cough is persistently worsening or lasts for an extended period.

  • You observe any other concerning symptoms.

When to Consult a Pediatrician


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Now, let's discuss some home-based remedies that may provide relief for your baby's cough. These remedies are not medical advice but can help ease discomfort.

1. Humidifier or Steam: Using a cool-mist humidifier or running a hot shower to create steam in the bathroom can help soothe your baby's irritated airways.

2. Elevate the Head: Elevating the head of your baby's crib slightly can ease breathing. Ensure the crib remains safe and comfortable.

3. Hydration: Ensure your baby stays well-hydrated. Offer small sips of water (for babies older than six months) or breast milk/formula.

4. Honey (for babies over one year old): A spoonful of honey before bedtime can help with nighttime coughing. However, this remedy is only safe for babies over one year due to the risk of botulism in younger infants.

5. Saline Drops and Aspirator: Saline drops can help clear nasal congestion. Use an aspirator to gently suction mucus from your baby's nose.

6. Rest and Sleep: Encourage your baby to rest and get adequate sleep. A well-rested baby can recover more quickly.

7. Warm Baths: A warm bath before bedtime can relax your baby and provide some relief.

8. Avoid Irritants: Ensure the air your baby breathes is clean. Avoid tobacco smoke, strong odors, and allergens.

9. Offer Soft Foods (for babies on solids): If your baby is eating solid foods, offer foods like mashed potatoes or yogurt that can soothe the throat.

10. Love and Comfort: Sometimes, all your baby needs is your love and comfort. Gentle cuddling can go a long way in soothing distress.

Home Remedies for Soothing Baby Coughs

Pure Enrichment Cool Mist Humidifier


  • Ultrasonic cool mist technology safely and quickly moisturizes dry air for up to 25 hours of continuous operation in medium to large rooms

  • High and low-speed settings combined with a 360° mist nozzle help you regulate the humidity in your home all year long for relief from congestion, coughs, cold-like symptoms, allergies, dry skin, and sinus issues.

  • Optional night light is a big plus because I prefer absolute darkness when sleeping


As a Modern Dad, you want the best for your baby. Coughing can be distressing, but by offering these home remedies, you can provide comfort while you wait for the cough to pass.

Remember that this article is not medical advice, and if you're concerned about your baby's health, consult your pediatrician. They can provide expert guidance and ensure your baby receives the necessary care and attention.

In the end, it's the love, care, and presence of a Modern Dad that provide the most significant comfort to a baby in need.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Is it safe to use a humidifier in my baby's room, and how does it help with their cough?

Yes, it's generally safe to use a cool-mist humidifier in your baby's room. The added moisture in the air can help soothe your baby's irritated airways and relieve dry coughing. Ensure that the humidifier is kept clean and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

2. What's the proper way to elevate the head of my baby's crib, and why does this help with coughing?

You can elevate the head of the crib slightly by placing sturdy objects (like books) under the crib's legs at the head end. This elevation can help reduce post-nasal drip and ease breathing. Make sure the crib remains safe and your baby's sleep environment is free of hazards.

3. Can I use honey to soothe my baby's cough, and when is it safe to do so?

Honey can be used to help with nighttime coughing in babies older than one year. It's not safe for infants under one year due to the risk of infant botulism. You can offer a spoonful of honey before bedtime to soothe their throat and reduce coughing.

4. How can I clear my baby's nasal congestion using saline drops and an aspirator?

Saline drops can help thin mucus in your baby's nose. Gently insert a few drops into each nostril, and then use a bulb syringe or nasal aspirator to suction out the mucus. Be gentle to avoid causing discomfort or injury to your baby.

5. What should I do if my baby's cough persists or worsens despite these home remedies, and when should I seek medical help?

If your baby's cough continues to worsen or doesn't improve after several days, or if you observe other concerning symptoms like high fever, rapid breathing, or wheezing, it's essential to consult your pediatrician. They can provide professional guidance and ensure your baby receives appropriate care.

Remember, this article offers home-based remedies but is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you're concerned about your baby's health, consult with your pediatrician for expert guidance.