What does a parent not want to hear in the middle of the night on their baby monitor?
That snot-nosed, irritated, and frustrated cry.
Your baby is congested, and it totally stinks.
They can’t blow their own nose, and things can get really backed up, and very messy!
They also can’t breathe well, which disrupts their sleep patterns and eating routine.
Often, for my own son, congestion led to other problems like ear infections.
While it takes about a week to clear up on its own and there’s nothing you can give them to take for this phenomenon, you can turn to other methods for cleaning out their noses for them and making things less dry in their surroundings.
Read on to learn all about what causes congestion and eight ways you can help clear things up.
What Causes Baby Congestion?
Baby congestion occurs for a few reasons.
The main reason they get stuffed up is because the inside of their nose swells up and not enough air can pass through.
And, because of this, the nose gets loaded up with mucus (sounds appetizing, right?)
Other times, they get congested because they don’t know how to physically empty their snot.
They lack the skills they need to get it out of their system and need assistance.
Sometimes, your baby gets congested because they are sensitive to their surroundings.
If your infant is exposed to smoke, perfumes, pet dander, allergens, or environmental factors, they can get a runny nose and get blocked up.
Finally, it may just come down to the simple fact that your baby is getting a cold or illness, like an upper respiratory infection.
8 Ways To Help Your Baby’s Congestion
#1. Use A Nasal Aspirator
This device sucks the snot or hard boogers right out of their nose!
There are dozens of styles and brands on the market, but the best nasal aspirator one is definitely the Snotsucker by NoseFrida.
#2. Put Moisture In The Room
A cool mist humidifier makes any room just right.
It restores moisture to the air so that it is perfectly balanced, clean, and cool.
It’s also safe, as it omits a cool mist rather than a hot one.
#3. Cut Back On Fragrances
Have you been burning a new candle or too many essential oils?
Something fragrant may be upsetting your baby’s senses, so cut back or fully eliminate the smells from your home.
#4. Keep The Heat Lower
Consider turning the heat down ever so slightly.
When a room is too hot, it can dry your little one’s nostrils out too much and make them uncomfortable and it can be hard to breathe.
#5. Use Saline Spray
Saline spray is very safe, even for infants.
It helps flush the snot out of the nose and restore moisture and provide comfort to irritated nostril passageways.
And, it can be done morning and night.
#6. Steam Soak
A steam soak can work wonders!
Get your shower going and put it on the hottest setting.
Bring your infant into the bathroom and allow them to breathe in the steam to open them up for a moment or two.
Repeat as necessary.
#7. Prop Them Up
One thing I like to do is use a wedge for your baby’s crib as they sleep.
It keeps them propped upright, rather than placing them flat on their back.
This also cuts down on the amount of drip back they experience, which can also make sleep not possible and could even cause them to gag or spit up.
#8. Go Organic
Did you know the products you’re using on your baby could be causing irritation?
Only use organic washes and lotions that are also hypoallergenic and fragrance-free.
See if you notice a difference with this approach. If so, stick with it.
This is something you may want to report to your doctor to determine if further allergy testing is needed.
3 Things Not to Do
Some parents get impatient throughout the week that it takes for congestion to clear up.
However, here are some things you should not do:
1. Give them over-the-counter liquid medicine. Never ever take it upon yourself to give your infant any kind of medication without being under the direction and care of a physician!
2. Give them menthol. Children who are two or under should not have any kind of menthol vapor cream applied to their chest or placed under their nose. Babies three months or younger cannot even have the non-medicated version rubbed on them either.
3. Give them essential oils. While some parents swear by essential oils, they are a little too risky to expose infants to, even with a carrier oil. Eucalyptus is a popular anti-congestant, but much like menthol, it can be extremely harmful when it’s exposed to your baby’s system.
When It's Time To Call The Doctor
Congestion isn’t usually a cause for concern. However, if your baby is having a very difficult time breathing, isn’t eating well, or is extremely irritable, something else may be going on.
Your paediatrician will rule out allergies or RSV.
RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) is common and is triggered when mucus won’t go away. Infants are very susceptible to this virus and starts as a common cold. But, if left untreated, the virus can seize attack on your baby’s lungs.
Be on the lookout for excessive coughing, extreme fatigue, loss of appetite, and nasal flaring.
This means that your baby is really struggling to breathe since their nostrils are opening and closing quickly and constantly. Their body is working way too hard to breathe, which is not normal.
Also, pay attention to the noises they make. If you hear any grunting as they take a breath, call the doctor right away.
No one likes when their baby gets sick.
There aren’t many options when it comes to medicines to give them, but there are products you can use to lessen their symptoms and discomforts.
Consider the eight tips above to keep your baby healthy and happy, and to help you pay closer attention to warning signs and problematic behaviours!