Colds, otherwise known as upper-respiratory infections, are caused by viruses. These viruses are spread through skin-to-skin contact, droplet transmission from coughs or sneezes, and contact with an object that’s been contaminated.
That means touching, kissing, picking up toys, cuddling — all the delightful things that go on when an adorable baby is around — can spread the cold virus. And there are more than 200 viruses known to cause colds, which explains why they’re so common.
The common cold usually lasts seven to 10 days (day three is often the worst), though a residual cough may linger for longer.
The incubation period for a cold is between one and four days. It’s typically most contagious a day or two before symptoms appear but can be passed along when the cold is already under way. Once the really runny nose dries up, it’s less contagious.
Unfortunately there’s no way to entirely protect your little one from cold viruses. The number one way to prevent a cold is to wash your baby’s (and everyone else's) hands regularly, especially after diaper changes.
Can’t get to a sink? Hand-sanitizing gels or wipes will do in a pinch, though they’re not as effective as soap and water in washing away germs.
Other helpful strategies: Try to keep your baby away from anyone with a cold when possible. Use a disinfectant solution to clean surfaces that may be contaminated with cold germs. While breastfeeding can reduce susceptibility to colds, it’s not foolproof.