Nobody enjoys a stuffy nose, least of all a small baby. Not only does it make breathing difficult, it can also affect baby while eating and sleeping. A stuffy nose can be due to mucus in the nose or it can be due to inflamed blood vessels in the nose which cause the nasal membranes to become swollen. Here are some steps you can take to reduce nasal congestion and hopefully bring some relief to your little one.
-Saline nasal spray: Spray some in your baby’s nose to relieve congestion and soften up any hardened mucus. You can also make your own saline solution by mixing a quarter teaspoon of salt with a half cup of water. Put a drop or two in each nostril using a dropper, then turn your baby over so that any loosened mucus can drip out.
-Nasal aspirator: Use this to suction out mucus, preferably after you’ve put some saline solution in your baby’s nose. This will make the mucus come out easier and faster, both pluses since most babies don’t like nasal aspirators. When using an aspirator, squeeze the bulb, then insert as little of the tip as you can into one of your baby’s nostrils. Close both nostrils with your other hand and release the pressure on the bulb. You may see nothing coming out at first but keep at it a few times. Clean both nostrils this way. If it is causing your baby much distress and it doesn’t seem to be working, try another step, since your baby may just be congested.
-Humidifier: If the air is dry in your home, which can happen especially in winter, put a humidifier in your baby’s nursery. If you don’t have a humidifier, you can boil a large pot of water on the stove. Or you can run a hot shower, close the bathroom door, and sit with baby in the bathroom for a while.
-Fluids: Drinking lots of fluids will help. Breastfeed or give your baby a bottle often. Older babies can drink extra water or fruit juice mixed with water. This will thin out any mucus in baby’s nose and allow it to drain out.
-Allow your baby to sleep slightly reclined if possible. He or she can nap in their swing or bouncer. An older child can sleep with a pillow; however, they are not recommended for children under 2 years old. For babies and young toddlers, you can try elevating one side of their mattress slightly by placing a foam wedge or rolled up towel under the side where baby’s head will be.
Avoid over the counter cold medications or nasal decongestants unless prescribed by your doctor.
If your baby’s nasal congestion lasts for a long time and isn’t accompanied by illness, you may want to speak with your baby’s pediatrician about allergies.