The absolute WORST part about baby congestion is the snot crystals that line the rim of her nostrils like a margarita glass.
I can’t stand them. It’s like an itch I have to scratch. I see a snot crust and my hand automatically begins searching around for a warm wet T-shirt to start scrubbing.
Since I don’t think I’m the only mom desperate for a baby congestion solution, here are ten solutions that will get that nose breathing again! (And a breathing nose sleeps better… *wink*)
Solving Baby Congestion the Easy Way
The key in solving baby congestion is to…
- Make sure it’s not just noisy breathing (see below).
- Keep the air around him from being too dry.
- Suck those nasal passages clean so he can breathe. (I’ve got some great tricks below on this.)
- Know what the other sick signs that indicate your baby’s congestion needs a doctor’s opinion (see below).
The Baby Congestion Faker:
There is an imposter that likes to pose as baby congestion, though you should know about. It’s called noisy breathing. His cute little button nose has extremely tiny nasal passages that are very sensitive to dry air.
A dry nose can make congestion sounds because of the air rushing past the dried chunks of snot. (Granted, that’s not my prettiest description, but it’s accurate.)
If your infant isn’t acting like he feels sick (fussy, not eating well), and there’s no snot dripping down his face like a faucet, you most likely have a dry nose problem, and not an infection. Give him a few squirts of a saline solution, put an adorable humidifier in his room, and he’ll be as right as rain in no time.
If he is acting sick and leaving a slime trail everywhere he goes…
it’s time to hit it on the
*10 poetry points*
The World’s Most Useless Baby Congestion
Tool in the History of Mankind
Your infant is incapable of blowing his nose. This means all that nasty stuff stays in there unless you take it out. And what do most people suggest you use to get that snot out?
Yep. The blub syringe.
But I, my friend, am not most people.
I will end the tyranny of the bulb syringe once and for all. You see…*whispering* it’s evil. It looks like it should be your new best friend. Promising buckets and buckets of removed snot.
BUT IT’S LYING.
The most you’ll get is a few pathetic blobs that were hanging by a chad anyway.
Why this great deception?
First of all, the thick rubber makes it hard to squeeze and create air suction. Secondly, unless you can stick it far enough up in your baby’s nose to create a complete seal, it’s not going to be able to draw the deep stuff out. And that’s where the gold is.
The deeper the snot you mine, the longer he will remain congestion free. This means better eating and longer sleeping for everyone.
After coming to LOATHE the bulb syringe with my two oldest babies, my husband and I took a chance at an odd looking tube-contraption and found the device we were dreaming of. Seriously, it hits jackpot every single time.
It’s my #1 gift for baby showers, and I love it so much that I’m willing to endure the YUCK face that every pre-mother gives when opening it. I can see them trying to be polite, thanking me for a gift they are SURE they will never use.
Until it’s 2am and they are so desperate they would try anything. Usually I get a call about 8 hours after that, thanking me so much for the gift they had sworn off. Yep, I’m a ninja gift giver for sure.
Do You Know When to Call the Doctor?
Print off this freebie and put it on the fridge for a quick reference guide!
A Quick List of Baby Congestion Home Remedies
Besides my favorite nuclear nose-sucker, here are some other nasal baby congestion remedies I recommend.
- Offer breastmilk or formula more frequently throughout the day. A well-hydrated infant will keep the snots from solidifying, making baby congestion worse.
- Put some vaseline on his upper lip to protect the skin from the constant wiping and use extra-soft T-shirts or boogie wipes to prevent irritating the skin.
- For all-natural mamas, try the homeopathic Sinus Soothe to help baby breathe better at night. If he seems to be producing extra buckets of snot, add in some Mucus Clear. The same company also makes a wonderful health supplement for babies over a year old called Kiddie Boost to avoid those nasty colds in the first place!
- Place a pillow between the crib springs and the mattress, so the mattress is slightly inclined. (Slightly. You don’t want her rolling down a hill.) The incline helps the mucus to drain better down the throat and avoid sticking around (get it? STICKING? *eye roll*) inside the nasal cavities.
- Hylands makes a really good homeopathic nighttime mucus and cold remedy that generations of parents have found effective. Considering the crappy sleep everyone has been getting, it’s worth the try!
- Add a cute humidifier to your infant’s room. Extra moisture is essential in keeping the snot from crystallizing and blocking up the nose.
- Wear your baby in a sling in an upright or angled position. Not only will he be soothed by your close presence, the angle will help with drainage.
- Give your baby probiotics to strengthen his immune system.
- Give a little nasal massage to help with baby congestion. This YouTube video demonstrates how to do this on an adult, but it can be easily adapted for an infant.
- Shallots! Reader Lucy had a great tip using eucalpytus oil and shallots. See her tip here.
ESSENTIAL UPDATE! A helpful reader *ahem Jason* shared this link – which reiterates that Vicks Vapo-Rub should not be used in children under the age of 2. I would recommend using this all natural eucalyptus tummy rub instead.
What You Need to Watch For
When it comes to your congested baby, there are two major things you should be watching for.
Signs of Troubled Breathing
Firstly, you want to watch for signs of troubled breathing. Place your ear on your baby’s bare chest. If you hear any rasping sound while he breathes, that’s wheezing. It means the cold has settled into your infant’s lungs and antibiotics may be required to get them clear again. Call your doctor, even if it’s after hours. He may tell you to schedule an appointment for the next day, OR he may tell you to take him to the Emergency Room – but let him make that decision.
Signs of Dehydration
Secondly, you want to watch for signs of dehydration. Dehydration is the #1 reasons most babies are admitted to the hospital because congested baby isn’t going to eat well, which increases his chances of becoming dehydrated.
You will need to increase the number of bottles or nursing sessions you have, perhaps every 30-40 minutes if necessary to compensate for this. If your baby hasn’t had a wet diaper in 6-8 hours, call your doctor. She may encourage you to give him a few drops of Pedialyte, so I would have some on hand.
If you see any of these signs, your infant is in the danger-dehydration zone and needs immediate medical attention.
- A sunken soft-spot on the top of his head (easily felt in first 6 months).
- Has a dry mouth or cries without tears. (Remember, newborns don’t have tears yet!)
- Cool skin with blotchy red patches
- A faint pulse that seems too quick
- Breathing rapidly, like he’s run a race
- A feeble whine-cry, rather than a strong wail
- What the doctor’s call “listlessness”. In other words, he has no interest in playing or feeding, doesn’t respond to being held, and isn’t moving his arms or legs much.
- Eyes that appear to be sunken into the skull.
Winning the Booger Battle
It is completely possible to win the Snot War. You can keep that nose crust-free and build up his cold combat skills at the same time.
- Keep him well-hydrated.
- Keep his nose as sucked-free as possible. Let him breathe in warm medicinal air to open those inflamed nasal passages.
- Try one of the methods above to help alleviate the crusty nastiness.
These simple things will allow him to get the rest he needs to attack the cold that’s causing the baby congestion in the first place. So tell me friend, how do you fight the booger battle at your house?
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Heather is the Chief Encouragement Officer here at MightyMoms.club and has been writing and encouraging parents online since 2007. She’s a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach, has been a featured parenting expert writer on blogs like DaveRamsey.com, SimpleKids.net, Cafe Mom, and others. If it’s 2am and you’re desperate to read SOMETHING, check out her deepest darkest secrets, including why she really shouldn’t be allowed to blog.