Colds in newborns—babies up to 28 days of life—are similar to those in older children.
A runny nose is usually the first sign that something is amiss, and they may have some increased nasal congestion. Sneezing may be a sign but often happens in well newborns because they need to keep their nasal passages clear. With a cold, the sneezing will become more frequent and be associated with increased mucus in the nose. They may have watery eyes as well. Saline nasal drops can be useful to loosen mild nasal congestion making nursing easier and more comfortable. Fever and cough are signs of more serious infection and always warrant an evaluation in a newborn. While a mild cold is not an emergency in a newborn, it is a good idea to have them examined by your pediatrician to make sure it is nothing more serious.
Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, April 2019