I kept Mason home from school today. He’s had a bad cough all week, even coughing hard in his sleep. During his nighttime coughing bouts I’ve hovered over him to make sure he’s not suffocating on all the drainage (a little crazy, I know, but I can be a Worst Case Scenario mom, especially when it comes to my 17-month-old’s scary cough), so neither one of us have slept particularly well lately. But he has no fever, he doesn’t have a cough that sounds like a seal barking (a telltale sign of Whooping cough), and he’s still eating, playing, and napping normally, so I decided to ride it out and see if the cough would go away naturally. To help ease Mason’s symptoms, I’ve been having him breathe in steam before meals and bedtime, rubbing Vicks on his chest and feet every night after his bath, and turning on the humidifier at bedtime. I suspect that the dramatically fluctuating temperatures aren’t helping. Today it’s in the 60s in NYC, tomorrow it will be back down to the 40s, and it seems that every time there’s an extreme change in weather he gets a cough.
But then one of Mason’s teachers made me second-guess myself last night. When I arrived at school to pick him up she told me that she thought he had an ear infection. He had been crying, which he seldom does, and pulling on his left ear for the last hour. I looked at Bug who was happily cooing in my arms and then he coughed that awful cough and I decided to call the pediatrician’s office right then. The nurse told us to be there by 6:30. Turns out, it’s just a bad cold. No ear infection and no scary lung infection (thank God). We saw a different pediatrician than usual and he advised me to elevate one side of Mason’s mattress and give him 3/4 teaspoon honey periodically to help ease his cough. I’d never heard of the honey advice, but I loved that it was a natural approach. (Important note: Do not give honey to babies under age 1–it could cause botulism, a serious form of food poisoning.) The doc also suggested that I keep Mason home today and give him as many “steam baths” a possible, as well as the honey and Vick’s.
I totally trust this pediatrician, but I was curious to see if any of you had ever tried honey for a cough. I posed the question on the High Chair Times fan page on Facebook, and several of you said that honey has worked well for your kids. You also had some additional tips that I thought were great:
Lindsay: We used manuka honey and noticed a difference by the next day.
Kristin: My grandmother always used honey and lemon juice as homemade cough syrup.
Andrea: Yes! There is also a natural cough syrup called Stodal, it’s made by Boiron, but it’s mostly honey anyway!
Michelle: In Bolivia, they mix honey, hot water and lemon juice for us if we have a cough.
Kerry: There is also a “Little Colds” brand of honey elixir for coughs.
Based on these tips, I decided to mix honey and lemon juice into warm water for Mason to drink, but he refused to touch it. (This drink did help my cough, however–yes, Mason and I are sharing this lovely cold.) After some coaxing, Mason did lick honey from a spoon and seemed to love it. I’m hopeful we’ll see the same positive results that Lindsay’s family did. Fingers crossed!
Photo: Shutterstock/Ljupco Smokovski