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The final edition of Food Roots will run next Thursday. My apologies for not posting yesterday.

Our 14 month old woke up yesterday morning with a runny nose and this morning had a bit of a cough. We are thankful that it hasn’t gotten too bad, but still we want to make sure that we make him comfortable and assist his body in ridding whatever it is that is causing his symptoms.

Because he is just learning to do things like talk and drink from a cup it is a bit more tricky than treating our 3 year old or one of the adults in our home. We are using the same foods and supplements as we would for myself or my husband, but in smaller quantities and at times hidden in familiar foods.

So today I thought I would share the things that have worked for us in treating a cold in our toddler, or anyone else for that matter. And if you have any tips I would love to hear them.

  • Breastfeed. It might sound strange that a woman who feeds her toddler bottles of milk would say to breastfeed. The fact is if I could I would, but sadly he self-weaned a few months ago and while I have attempted to reintroduce him to it in the past, he simply refuses to nurse. But, if you have maintained a milk supply for your toddler, have a friend who is nursing a baby, or can pump extra milk because you are breastfeeding a baby yourself, then breast milk would be a wonderful immune boosting food for your toddler, sick or not.
  • Take them off of dairy. We are big fans of the raw dairy products that we pick up from a local farm every week. That said dairy in general can be mucus forming for those who are suffering from any ailment, so removing dairy from the diet seems to be helpful. He’s not too happy about this right now because he still loves his bottles, but water and coconut milk should keep him plenty hydrated.
  • No Sugar of Sugar Forming Foods. Generally speaking we don’t give our boys sweets, but especially when their immune system is being challenged we try to limit fruits and starchy foods as well. Many studies show that sugar can bring the immune system down for hours after consumption.
  • Cod liver oil. Vitamin D is so important for so many reasons. We have been sneaking in cod liver oil wherever we can – bottles, mixing it into food, and trying (not so successfully) to give it to him on a spoon. We use the brand found on my resources page.
  • Coconut oil. Because coconut oil is an antiviral it is another great fat to give to anyone, especially someone with a cold. I have been putting it on squash instead of butter, mixing it into soaked oatmeal, and giving it to both him and our 3 year old off of a spoon. They love it!
  • Vitamin C. We all know that vitamin C is great for fighting colds, but juice contains lots of sugar (even if it is naturally derived). One option that I read about in Nourishing Traditions is acerola powder. I have this on hand as a supplement and because it is an ingredient in the raw milk baby formula. Acerola is a berry that is very high in vitamin C. Foods like bell peppers and sauerkraut are also good low-sugar vitamin C sources.
  • Probiotics. Speaking of sauerkraut… Since most of our immune system is dependent on the health of our gut then making sure that we are feeding it good bacteria is a good idea. Fermented vegetables are probably a better option than yogurt, kefir, or kombucha. You can also purchase an infant strain of probiotics that is well-matched to the bacteria found in young children.
  • Lots of liquids. To help flush the "ickies" out of their systems giving them plenty of water or chicken stock is a good idea. Some even refer to real chicken stock as "Jewish penicillin" because it was traditionally found to fight off illnesses.
  • Echinacea and/or Elderberry Tinctures. You can purchase children’s echinacea tinctures that are less concentrated and are made using glycerin instead of alcohol. Our 3 year old loves to take his off of a spoon and our toddler doesn’t even notice it when mixed with water.
  • Eucalyptus Essential oil. If you’re familiar with Vick’s vapor rub then you will recognize the smell of this oil. It is great when added to a warm bath. It helps clear out the sinuses and can be rubbed on the chest just before bed time to aid in clearer breathing through the night.

Those are the methods we are using. How about you… do you have any tips for treating a toddler’s (or any other age’s) cold?

This post is a contribution to Fight Back & Frugal Fridays.