Infant Nasal Congestion: What Should Parents Do?
You can't help but pity your little one when they can't sniff, breathe or blow their noses that they just end up crying. You feel bad as a mom when that happens, right? Especially when you baby just seems to have colds on and off. It can get very frustrating when it is your infant suffering from nasal congestion. By ages 6 months and up, babies can already breathe through their nose. Newborns cannot and it interferes with feeding when they get a stuffy nose.
And it is especially worrying when your little one has a baby stuffy nose at night . Your baby has this feeling of drowning or choking when their nose is stuffy. And sometimes, we lose it and get easily irritated over things too because of mere concern for our little ones. There are several nasal congestion in infants home remedies that can help relieve your baby when they suffer from nasal congestion.
What exactly is Nasal Congestion?
Nasal Congestion is otherwise known as a stuffy nose. Stuffy nose is actually the inflamed blood vessels that are found inside your nose or nasal cavity. Once they swell up, it produces mucus. And that's why our noses especially your baby's get really clogged up.
What causes Nasal Congestion?
Initially, we only think of our babies catching a cold when they have a stuffy nose. That's not always the case. There are plenty of the reasons why your baby gets a plugged nose.
• Colds or Viral Illness
Colds is the most common impression we have when we think about nasal congestion in infants. When our babies noses get stuffed it becomes a real bother. Colds, flu or sinus infection can cause or trigger your nose vessels to swell. This trigger then results to extra amounts of mucus that causes a stuffy nose.
Babies with allergies often start with sneezing and baby nasal congestion. Allergies to pollen and certain smells can cause congestion in babies. They get irritated easily with things that trigger their allergies. But these allergic stuffiness don't last long but they last well enough to make your baby feel really uncomfortable.
• Dry Air
When the air is really dry, our nose compensates for this dry air and produces extra mucus so that the dry air won't cause any problems and irritations in our noses. This affects our babies even more because their tiny nose and tiny nasal cavity need to work extra hard.
Asthma comes with the typical allergic rhinitis. This is a common effect of asthma where our babies get easily irritated. Their noses are extra sensitive and they have a series of sneezes and clogged noses. Asthma has a cycle, often times early in the morning or late in the afternoon, the stuffiness is triggered and our babies get nasal congestion.
Babies are very sensitive about practically everything around them, even you. Your child might end up being irritated with your perfume. Irritations like scents, perfumes, dust, smoke and the like can cause non-stop coughing, sneezing and lead to nasal congestion. Babies have a sensitive sense of smell and these strong smells can really affect your little one.
What are Symptoms of Nasal Congestion in Newborns?
If you notice that your baby has nasal discharge or mucus dripping off his/ her nose then your little one may have nasal congestion but there are other symptoms that show that you have a congested baby. If there are other symptoms that come with nasal congestion then that might be a different case all in all. But here are the typical signs that point to a stuffy nose:
- Nasal discharge
- Noisy breathing
- Plenty of sneezing
- Overall Fussiness
- Losing breath while feeding
- Relief when sitting or held upright
If other symptoms like fever higher than 100.4-- in newborns--, refusal to feed or extremely difficult to feed, constantly irritated and awake, and stronger raspy heavy breathing, a further difficulty in breathing with flaring nostrils, you must go and seek for medical attention.
What are the Don'ts in dealing with baby nasal congestion?
There are things that one should not do when your baby is congested.
• Suck don't blow
We've been told that when your baby has a stuffy nose blow to push the mucus out of the way. DON'T! That is potentially dangerous for your child. Mucus is supposed to be removed and not pushed in because that's where the germs and the virus are. If you can and you're not completely grossed out by the idea, suck it out instead!
• Don't be too eager to give medicine
Most doctors and pediatricians prefer not to give medicine to infants under the age of 2 months and if possible even under 6 months. Parents should never be too eager to give medication to very young babies because little tots might have immediate or worse side effects with drugs that their bodies cannot completely process. Antihistamines, mucolytic and decongestants are anesthetics on children. They make your little one sedated and feel drugged.
• Don't rely on home remedies
When your little one has typical baby congestion, you can do home treatment but when your baby is suffering from a nasal congestion for more than one week, go seek medical attention. Relying on home treatment isn't always the best solution for your baby, especially if your baby is under one year old.
What Should a Parent Do?
You need to expel the mucus off of your baby's nose. You can do this with the use of a nasal aspirator but you also need to soften the mucus first before you use any ways of suctioning out the gunk off your baby's nose.
You can soften the mucus out by:
1. Steaming it out
A simple and easy way to help ease the mucus off your baby's nose is by running the bath and let the toilet steam up. Once the toilet fills up with steam, bring your baby in, you can bathe your baby or simply just stay there and let the steam do its magic. This will allow the mucus to soften up. It also helps relieve chest decongestion.
2. Using baby saline drops
A nasal decongestant can easily be loosened by baby saline drops. You can either buy saline drops for nasal decongestion or make one yourself. How to make saline drops for infants? Just follow these steps:
- Pour 1 cup distilled water in a pot.
- Add half a teaspoon of baking soda and half a teaspoon of salt.
- Let it boil for one minute.
- Transfer the solution in a sterile container.
- Let the solution set until the water is lightly lukewarm.
- You can then spray it or use an infant dropper up your baby’s nose.
NOTE: You can only store this solution for three days. It is better to use distilled water. If you use tap water, make sure you boil it very well before you stir in the salt and baking soda.
How to use a nose syringe on your baby ? Here's how you should do it.
- Get a syringe or an infant dropper. If you have an empty nasal spray, sterilize it first before filling it up with your homemade solution.
- Tilt your baby’s head back, you can either use a pillow or the crook of your arm to support your infant’s head.
- Once your baby’s head is tilted back, drop two or three saline solution in your baby’s nostril. Do it one nostril at a time. And don’t rush it.
- Let the saline solution set for a minute.
- Suck the loosened mucus out with a nasal aspirator.
TIP: You can also use a few drops of breastmilk!
3. Use a vaporizer or Humidifier
Get your baby a humidifier or vaporizer, it blows off steam to make the room warm and also to loosen up the dried and tough mucus in your little one's nasal cavity. This is a good solution to soften up the gunk without bothering your child too much. It will also help your baby feel relaxed too.
4. Use a chest rub
There are plenty of minty infant chest rubs that you can buy over the counter. They are relatively safe for your baby to use so don't worry too much if you get any brand. Rub it over your little one's back and chest. You can also massage it on your baby's back and chest. This brings in instant relief and a quick solution to a newborn chest congestion as well as a baby nasal congestion.
You may hate onions when peeling it and slice it but this is one effective remedy for a clogged nose not just for baby but for anyone. Leaving slices of onions beside your baby as your little tot sleeps is a good way of opening up your baby's tear glands. These will serve as your infant saline drops that will loosen up the mucus in your baby's nose. It will make it easier for your baby to expel it.
How to help your baby expel mucus?
You can help your congested baby to expel the mucus out. You should only do help expel your baby's mucus out if your baby is suffering from a congested nose. But if your baby is still active, has a good appetite, and isn't so bothered about the stuffy nose, you can wait it out.
1. Suck it out
The idea may seem absurd and utterly disgusting but this is how they used to do it before nasal aspirators were invented. Just make sure that your mouth covers your infant's entire nose and suck. Then spit it out and rinse your mouth. This is very effective since it is an immediate and one-time removal of mucus.
2. Use a nasal aspirator
You can either use a nasal bulb, a manual aspirator or an electric aspirator. When using a bulb, you have to use something that will really fit your baby's tiny nostril. A nasal bulb requires you to push the tip into the nostril to pump the mucus out.
A manual aspirator is almost the same as manually sucking the mucus out with the use of a tube. Just put the end of the tube in your baby's nose and suck. Just one nostril at a time. While the electric aspirator is a tiny machine that is made only to suck mucus out of your baby's nose.
3. Encourage spit-ups
When babies have a deeper congestion like a chest congestion, spit-ups can be helpful. This I actually their way of spitting out phlegm inside their lungs. But this doesn't mean you should overfeed your baby, you might end up giving them another discomfort.
How to make your baby feel comfortable during colds or long-term nasal congestion?
Sometimes it doesn't take a day for your baby to loosen up and expel the mucus. It can take days to a week. Here are some ways you can help relieve your baby from being bothered too much by a stuffy nose.
Is your baby congested at night ? Let your little sleep on an elevated pillow. This way they can sleep better because the mucus won't easily play in the nose and block the airways. Your baby won't feel like he/ she is choking or drowning in the middle of the night.
2. Spice it up
Older babies who are already eating solids can eat slightly spicy foods. Spicy soup can loosen up nasal congestion when their nose becomes runny from hot food. You can give your baby a few spoons of hot soup to three times a day.
3. Chest Nap
You can let your infant sleep on his/her tummy on your chest, but not when you're lying on your back but rather when you are seated on a chair. When you are seated, let your baby take a nap of your chest and pat his/ her back gently. Your baby will be able to sleep well and at the same time help loosen up the mucus.
Nasal Congestion in baby may not be so serious but it is very discomforting for our babies. And as parents, we would do all we can to provide comfort for our little one. No matter what steps you take in order to give your child a better comfort is more than enough reason to try it all. This information about infant nasal congestion will definitely help you and your baby in these troubling times.