Our 3-year-old had a cough and runny nose that didn’t go away for months. The cough was raspy and deep in the chest, and we were concerned it was pneumonia. We went to get him checked out by the doctor several times and thankfully pneumonia was ruled out. The doctor thought it was allergies, but to me, my mother’s instinct knew it was something different.
I went down the rabbit hole that is Google and discovered something known as the “milk and cookies” disease. A-ha!
My toddler is a picky eater, and so we try to get calories in him through any means. This includes those yummy (and sugar-laden!) organic, yogurt-based smoothies, and milk. The problem is, consuming all of that dairy and sugar create acid reflux in his body, which presents itself as a runny nose, cough, and other symptoms. Look out for these:
- Nasal congestion
- Stuffy nose
- Runny nose
- Constant Cough
I knew I was onto something because our toddler loves to drink those smoothies during the day, and finish off his day with a huge bottle of milk. So I decided to take him off of those smoothies entirely, and as for that bottle of milk, he gets a heavily watered-down bottle in the evening. He complains that it doesn’t taste good, but mama is very happy that his cough and runny nose have finally gone away!
If your toddler has similar symptoms, don’t fret. The key to managing this “disease” is to make sure that you do not give sugary items or dairy in the evening, because that is when the stomach acid will back up and cause these problems.
Here is a wonderful Ted Talk from the ear, nose, and throat doctor that describes this phenomenon. And if you’ve got a toddler with a chronic runny nose and cough, try to remove sugar from their diet and restrict dairy consumption at night. Drop your comments below!