When To Call The Doctor
If you have any concerns about your babys congestion or if he or she has any other signs of illness, such as a fever or cough, contact your pediatrician.
Sometimes it can be difficult to tell when a newborn is sick, Dr. Danan says. A simple cold can become something more serious such as croup or pneumonia. If your baby is struggling to breathe or seems to be breathing rapidly, contact your pediatrician right away.
The Difference Between A Dry And Wet Cough
If your babyâs cough sounds wet, itâs most likely due to chest congestion. The cough will often last longer than a runny nose, if your baby has that symptom as well. Itâs best to consult your babyâs healthcare provider if she has a cough, especially if sheâs under 2 months old.If the cough sounds dry or irritated, your baby most likely wonât have chest congestion. Dry coughs are often characteristic of conditions like croup or whooping cough, both of which can have a barking sound.If your baby does indeed have a dry cough that has a barking sound, or if your baby makes a wheezing sound when breathing, contact her healthcare provider as she may need prescription medication to treat the underlying cause.Be aware that experts do not recommend over-the-counter cough medicine for children younger than 6 years old as it may cause serious side effects such as slowed breathing.
What Is Newborn Congestion
Newborn congestion is when your babys tiny airways get clogged with excess mucus. This can be uncomfortable for your baby and in some cases make them easily irritated and restless.
During the first few months of life babies breathe exclusively through their nose. This is because it supports suckling by keeping the mouth available for feeding. By breathing through their nose babies are able to breathe and eat at the same time.
In order to keep the nasal passage clear, small amounts of thin clear mucus are produced to rid the airways of any irritating pollutants like dust.
When there is an increase in irritants the infants body responds by producing more mucus, this can result in congestion.
There are two main types of congestion your newborn could be experiencing, these are nasal congestion and chest congestion.
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What To Do For A Congested Baby
Fortunately, many home remedies are quite effective at making your little one more comfortable. Here are a few easy treatments to try. Best part? You probably have many of these already at home.
Breast milk. It doesnt get more naturalor easierthan this. A drop or two in the nose can help loosen congestion, Altmann says. Let baby sniff it up, then give him tummy time when he lifts his head, itll drain out. You can also drain by holding your congested baby upright.
Nasal saline. As with breast milk, add a drop or two in each nostril. You can buy nasal saline or make it at home: Mix a quarter teaspoon of table salt and 8 ounces of bottled water, Altmann says.
Cool mist humidifier. Fill up the humidifier with plain waterno Vicks or other substancesand run it in babys room while shes sleeping. Put this close to the crib it really makes a difference, Posner says.
Steam room. Steam up the bathroom and sit baby on your lap or breastfeed in there for 20 minutes, Altmann says. The humidity loosens any dry congestion in the nose to help it drain.
Warm juice. For babies 6 months and up, try feeding baby a little warm, unsweetened apple juice or water . Just as with OTC products, theyll soften any mucus that ends up in the back of babys throat.
Babies Have Very Small Nasal Passages And May Only Sound Congested
Congestion in babies is caused either by swelling of the nasal passages, so air cant get through, or by the nasal passages being filled up with mucus, says Dr. Roy Benaroch, a pediatrician and author of Solving Health and Behavioral Problems from Birth through Preschool.Infant noses are so small to begin with, so even a little swelling or mucus can cause congestion.
Kristina Duda, a registered nurse and cold and flu expert agrees. Sometimes babies just sound congested when there really isnt anything to worry about, she says.
What you can do: For typical congestion caused solely by infant anatomy, Duda says, Keeping babies noses clear with a bulb syringe can be a good idea. If baby is eating OK and doesnt seem to be too bothered by their congestion, then there shouldnt be too much to worry about.
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Is There Anything Parents Can Do To Prevent A Cold
Avoid close contact with your child. More specifically, no sharing cups, spoons or straws. Your child should also have their own towel when they have a cold. You should avoid close kissing as well. You can maybe kiss them on the forehead, but not too close.
What do you know about the common cold?Take our quiz.
When To Call A Healthcare Provider
You know your child best, so call your healthcare provider anytime youre concerned about their cough. Always seek treatment if your child becomes short of breath or seems to be working hard to breathe.
If your child develops a tight, barky cough, call your pediatrician. This is a classic sign of croup, which sometimes requires steroids to reduce the inflammation.
- Cough lasting longer than ten days
- Labored breathing
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Muscle pulling around their neck or rib cage
- Blue tint to their lips, nail beds, or tongue
- Wheezing or loud breathing
- Unable to eat or drink
- Seems weak and irritable
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What Are The Symptoms
It is important to know the symptoms associated with nasal congestion so you can determine if that is actually the issue your baby is experiencing. Nasal congestion is a fairly obvious problem, but there are some things that go along with it that may not be as apparent.
- Feeding difficulties.
- Spitting up through the nose.
- Baby picking at the nose.
Your baby may experience several of these and that does not necessarily mean that he or she is suffering from nasal congestion. The most tell-tale symptoms are nasal discharge and noisy breathing.
Its common for your baby to have noisy nasal breathing and sneezing in the first few days of life, and it improves over the first week. It is likely that your baby still has some amniotic fluids they are trying to expel.
Types Of Baby Congestion
Baby congested but no mucus in the nose. Some babies might sound congested, but theres no mucus in their nose, which is also super common. The Texas Childrens Hospital explained nasal congestion in newborns is so common they call it nasal congestion of the newborn. Not only do babies have tiny nostrils, but theyre also obligate nose breathers, which means they can only breathe through their mouth when theyre crying, making even the most infinitesimal blockage sound awful.
Baby congestion in the chest. This one is trickier. If your newborn sounds congested, is coughing or wheezing, here are a few things to try to help soothe their symptoms. Babies under four years old cant take cough and cold medicines, so youll need to go the natural route here.
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Try Some Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus is also a medicinal plant. It can help the human body to deal with a lot of medical ailments. Eucalyptus has amazing benefits for cough and cold problems. Eucalyptus oil has the right fragrance which the baby will like. Inhaling the scent and fragrance of eucalyptus oil can help in loosening the cold and cough which will, in turn, remove the mucous and help in avoiding congestion in the chest.
How Can I Help My Congested Baby Sleep
When a young baby is congested due to a cold, sleeping can be a challenge. But there are things you can do to improve their sleep. First, try using a cool-mist humidifier in their room. Not only is the moist air comforting, but it also can keep mucus flowing and keep it from clogging your baby’s nose.
Before bed, try using saline drops to thin the mucus and a nasal aspirator to clear away any excess mucus. Then, if your baby wakes in the middle of the night to feed, you can try clearing their nasal passages again if they seem particularly stuffy.
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Tips For Using Baby Saline Drops
These tips can help make the process go smoothly:
- If your baby is frustrated or squirming, have another adult help you. A second person can help keep the baby’s head and hands still.
- Use the saline drops before the baby feeds or goes to sleep.
- Use a warm washcloth or cotton swab to clean the nostrils.
- Bulb syringes can be difficult to clean and may harbor bacteria. Be sure to clean your bulb syringe after each use. Use soap and water. Only expel the air in the bulb when it is not in your baby’s nose.
It is also important to learn how to tell if your child could be having difficulty breathing. Babies breathe through their noses, so they can have trouble getting enough oxygen when they are sick. The signs are not always obvious and can include:
- Intercostal retracting, which is when the between the ribs sinks visibly with each breath
What Causes Baby Congestion
Several issues can lead to a congested baby. Some newborns get congested simply because their nasal passages are so tiny that a little bit of mucus, irritation from things in the air, or even a little bit of breast milk they spit up and goes into the nose can cause it, says Tanya Altmann, MD, an American Academy of Pediatrics spokesperson and founder of Calabasas Pediatrics in California. While allergies arent typically a culprit behind baby congestion, cold or flu is. In fact, says Gina Posner, MD, a pediatrician at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California, the majority of congestion in infants is caused by viruses.
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Newborn Baby Congestion: Chest & Nose Congestion
05/08/2021 If it appears that your infant has nasal congestion and it is bothering her, you can follow this two-step process to help clear her nose. Do this every few hours, and ideally 15 to 20 minutes before a feeding or bedtime: Use saline drops or spray. Two drops or sprays per nostril are enough.
Babies Cant Blow Their Noses And Need A Little Help
Older children and adults can easily clear mucus out of their noses by blowing them, says Benaroch. Little babies cant do that, so they tend to stay congested.
What you can do: To clear out baby noses safely and easily, both Benaroch and Duda suggest the NoseFrida baby nostril aspirator because it works well and is safe to use for babies. Generally, it does the same thing as a bulb syringe by clearing out the mucus in their noses, but its easier to clean than typical syringes. Parents suck the mucus out of their babies noses using the nostril aspirator .
Where to buy: NoseFrida The Snotsucker
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Causes Of Baby And Newborn Congestion
As long as your baby’s congestion is not accompanied by other symptoms or interfering with their eating or breathing, there is probably not a lot to worry about. When babies are first born, it’s normal for them to be congested. Babies typically get some amniotic fluid in their noses that can make them a little stuffy for the first few days.
Saliva and milk from feeding also can get in their nasal passages and may cause your baby to sneeze a lot to clear it. Sometimes irritants like dust, pet dander, hair spray, perfumes, and cigarette smoke can irritate their nasal passages causing congestion as well.
Other causes of nasal congestion include dry air, colds, viruses, and allergies. Keep an eye on your baby and their symptoms and contact your doctor with any concerns.
When To Call Your Child’s Healthcare Provider
An occasional sneeze or stuffy nose usually isnt a sign of a problem. But if these happen often, they could mean the baby has a cold or other health problem. Call your baby’s healthcare provider if your baby:
Doesnt eat as much as normal
Is more sleepy than usual or less energetic than normal
Has a fever of 100.4°F or higher
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What Causes Our Babys Stuffy Nose
As stated above, when we have a cold or something similar, our noses get inflamed. The tissues, blood vessels, and nasal polyps inside your nose become swollen with extra fluid and it creates that very âfullâ or âstuffyâ feeling. With our little babes, their noses are so tiny! So a little inflammation for us is very different compared to their tiny baby congested nose. And does it seem like your baby is more congested at night? This isnât just to spite you poor, hard working parents! Our bodies react differently to allergens at night and as much as we need gravity, it is not helpful when it comes to a babyâs stuffy nose at night. Mucus builds up and has nowhere to go, increasing nasal congestion.
âYou know whatâs really common beginning at 6 months of age? The common cold. You know what else? Teething. Great, I know. Another mystery of wondering what ailment your little one is dealing with. So, do babies get stuffy noses while theyâre teething? Usually not. Teething can sometimes be related to a runny nose due to inflammation of the mouth and gums, but if what youâre seeing in your infant is nasal congestion, itâs likely the common cold. The good news is that neither of these are cause for alarm or a reason to see the pediatrician, unless other symptoms arise that weâll discuss shortly.
Our babies can have a stuffy nose with no other symptoms but oftentimes, our babyâs stuffy nose can come with other symptoms.
Clear Mucus Away With A Nasal Aspirator
A nasal aspirator is a small device that looks like a drop applicator but is designed to draw things in rather than push them out. Nasal aspirators are a great way to help get rid of your congested babys excess mucus.
Simply press the air out of the aspirator, place it just inside of your babys nostril, and release the bulb to suck mucus out of your little ones sinuses.
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