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Article: What You Need to do if Your Baby Coughing in Sleep?

What You Need to do if Your Baby Coughing in Sleep?

What You Need to do if Your Baby Coughing in Sleep?

Hey mama, I feel your struggle with the little one's cough keeping you both up at night. Ain't nothing worse than lying in bed trying to relax after a long day, and all you can hear are those sad little coughs coming from the kiddo's room. I know as a parent, your instinct is just to make it all better for them. You must be feeling frazzled trying everything to get that cough soothed so everyone can finally get some shut-eye. But you're not alone in this - let's put our heads together and see if we can come up with some new ideas. What have you tried already? Nothing is too small if it can give your bub and you the rest you both need. Why don't you pull up a seat, pour yourself a warm cuppa, and let's talk through our experiences. Together I'm sure we can figure out some ways to help get those sleepies back on track. You've got this mama - hang in there, we'll support each other through it.

What are some common causes of coughing in  babies during sleep?

Colds and respiratory infections: Colds and other respiratory infections are one of the common causes of coughing in infants at bedtime. These infections are usually caused by viruses and may be accompanied by symptoms such as nasal congestion, flu, and fever. Coughing is a natural response in infants to try to clear phlegm and secretions from the airways.

Asthma: Infantile asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that may result in coughing at night or during sleep. This cough is usually accompanied by wheezing and shortness of breath. Asthma usually requires a doctor's diagnosis and management.

Allergies: An allergic reaction may cause a cough at night, especially if the baby is allergic to certain foods, pets, pollen or dust mites. Allergy-induced coughs may be accompanied by symptoms such as nasal congestion, sore throat and sneezing.

Acid reflux: Reflux of stomach acid may irritate the throat and windpipe and cause coughing in babies. This may be more pronounced at night or during sleep, as stomach acid is more likely to enter the esophagus when the infant is lying flat on his or her back.

Teeth growth: During tooth growth, many infants produce more saliva, which is known as excessive drooling. Excess saliva may drip down the throat, causing throat irritation and leading to coughing. And the tooth growth process may cause a slight sore throat or irritation in infants. The infant's attempts to clear the discomfort from the throat may cause a cough.

Dry air: If the air in the room is very dry, the infant's throat and airways may become irritated, leading to a cough.

Pathologic cough: In some cases, the cough may be pathologic and related to lung or heart problems. This condition requires evaluation and treatment by a physician.

Sick Baby Boy

Tips for soothing a coughing baby back to sleep

Comforting touch: Gently stroke or pat your baby's back to provide soothing touch. This can help them relax and feel comforted, potentially reducing coughing and aiding in falling back to sleep.

Monitor room temperature: Ensure the room is comfortably cool, as overheating may worsen coughing. Dress your baby in lightweight, breathable sleepwear suitable for the temperature.

Stay hydrated: If your baby is on solid foods or has started drinking water, offer small sips to keep them hydrated. Staying hydrated can help soothe their throat and reduce coughing.

Elevate the head: Place a rolled-up towel or pillow under the head of your baby's mattress to elevate their head slightly. This can help ease congestion and reduce coughing.

Humidify the air: Use a humidifier in your baby's room to add moisture to the air. Moist air can help soothe their irritated airways and alleviate coughing. Ensure proper maintenance of the humidifier to prevent the growth of mold or bacteria.

Clear nasal passages: Use a saline nasal spray or drops to loosen mucus and clear your baby's nasal passages. This can help reduce coughing caused by post-nasal drip.

Natural remedies helping alleviate a babys cough

Honey and lemon: Not for babes under 1 since it can cause botulism. For older babies, mix a teaspoon of honey with lemon juice in warm water. Can be real soothing.

Steam it up: Run a hot shower and sit in the bathroom with bub for a few minutes so they can breathe in that steam. Helps loosen the gunk. Just be careful not to scald yourselves!

Saline drops: Put some saline drops in each nostril to help clear that stuffed up nose. Then use a bulb syringe to suck out the loosened junk. Might stop that post-nasal drip making them cough.

Stay hydrated: Keep bub drinking fluids like water to thin out the mucus and soothe their throat. Small sips if they can drink on their own.

Essential oils: Eucalyptus or lavender in a diffuser or very diluted for a gentle chest rub could help relieve their cough. Make sure they're baby-safe oils though.

Warm liquids: Over 6 months? Try broth, herbal tea like chamomile warmed up but not too hot. Could be soothing.

Hope some of those ideas give your bub and you some relief! 

A baby cry incessantly

When it may be necessary to seek medical advice?

You should seek medical advice if your baby experiences any of the following:

  • If the cough lasts for a long time, like more than a week or several weeks, or if the cough is getting worse.
  • If the cough is accompanied by difficulty breathing, wheezing, rapid breathing, or a feeling of tightness in the chest.
  • If your baby has a fever, is excessively sleepy, has a loss of appetite, vomits, or complains of stomach pain.
  • If the cough produces blood, has a foul odor, or is severe and persistent.
  • If your baby has underlying health issues such as asthma, heart disease, or immune system problems.

These situations may require evaluation and treatment by a medical professional. If you're concerned about your baby's cough symptoms or if it's affecting their normal activities, it's also a good idea to consult a doctor. Remember, doctors can provide the best advice and treatment options based on your baby's specific situation.


As the night goes on and your energy gets more and more zapped, take comfort in knowing we're all in this together. Reading Kaiya's piece really gives some awesome insight and ideas to get through these nights with a coughing bub. Now you're armed with new tips on natural remedies to try, knowing when it's time to call the doc, and drawing on the strength of being a mama - you've got this! We're all just doing our best to keep these kiddos healthy and happy. I know some nights feel never ending, but we'll support each other through. These little ones won't be little forever, so let's enjoy the snuggles even when the coughing gets loud. You're not alone mama - we're all in the same boat. Keep your head up, you've got this parenting thing on lockdown. Our babies are so lucky to have us!

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Yujia Shi

An expert in sleep sack design, is a valued contributor to Kaiya Baby's blog. With a strong background in baby sleep bags and maternal care, she is highly regarded for her professionalism. Yujia Shi prioritizes baby comfort and safety in her designs, using high-quality materials. Her insightful articles on sleep bags have been featured in reputable publications and have gained a significant readership. Trust Yujia Shi to help you create a comfortable and safe sleep environment for your baby, backed by her proven track record in the industry.

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