Here’s the good news! Baby congestion is a common problem that typically resolves itself in a few days. The bad news is those few days may run together as your fussy baby struggles to eat, sleep and breathe through it all. Baby’s congestion should never be ignored, and chances are they won’t let you ignore it, with all the snot of many colors; fussy feedings and restless sleep that can accompany congestion in babies. With some simple home remedies for baby cough and chest congestion, along with the following tips for clearing mucus from tiny airways, your baby will be back to normal before you know it.
Why Do Babies Frequently Have Congestion?
What causes a congested baby? A newborn arrives into the world having spent nine months submerged in amniotic fluid. The residual fluid is leaving the body by way of excess mucus. Their tiny airways are easily clogged, and they have not yet learned how to clear their own sinuses and airways by blowing their nose, coughing or sniffling. Infants still have immature immune systems and are susceptible to infections from common colds and viruses. Here’s more good news though! That infection will build their immunity and make them less likely to become ill in the future. Babies are also more susceptible to air pollutants that cause allergies such as dust, pet dander, pollen, and smoke. The irritation stimulates the production of mucus that causes congestion.
How to Tell if Your Baby is Congested?A baby with nasal congestion may have the following symptoms:
- Thick nasal mucus
- Discolored nasal mucus
- Snoring or noisy breathing
- Difficulty eating or nursing
Baby chest congestion symptoms:
- Rapid breathing; wheezing
- Difficulty eating or nursing
- Flared nostrils when breathing
- Retracting ribs when breathing
- Unusual tiredness or lethargy
How You Can Alleviate Symptoms at Home
The ways to help baby’s congestion are simple and usually effective. Home remedies for baby cough and congestion are tried and true and easily administered with tender, loving care. How to help a baby with congestion? Try the following:
- Administer saline drops/spray in the nostrils
- Suction nostrils gently with a bulb syringe, especially prior to feeding
- Gently clean crusty nostrils with a wet cotton swab or warm washcloth
- Place a vaporizer or humidifier in the baby’s room to add moisture to the air
- Keep your baby hydrated by feeding or nursing often
- Give a warm bath in a steamy bathroom
- Gently massage your baby’s face at the bridge of the nose, forehead, temples and cheekbones
- Never use vapor rubs or baby congestion medication without consulting your pediatrician
- To loosen chest congestion in babies, lay them down across your knees or while sitting at a 30-degree angle and gently pat their back with your cupped hand
- Don’t forget to dust and vacuum regularly and keep doors and windows closed during high pollen times of the year
How to Help a Congested Baby Sleep
To keep a congested baby sleeping, you may want to begin your bedtime routine with a warm steamy bath. Be sure to elevate their crib mattress by placing rolled Woolino blankets at the head end of the crib to assist gravity in draining mucus more efficiently. During the day, place your congested baby in an upright position whenever possible. Now would be the time to nap in a sling, upright on Mama’s chest. Remember to use their Woolino Sleep Bag to reduce temperature fluctuations that can wake your child unnecessarily. Turn on the humidifier before turning out the lights.
When to Worry About Baby Congestion?
You may be asking “When should I see a doctor?” regarding your baby’s congestion. If your congested baby exhibits any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- Baby is younger than three months old
- Fewer wet diapers than usual
- A 100-degree fever for more than three days
- Ear or sinus pain
- Yellow eye discharge
- A cough that lasts for more than one week
- Green mucus that lasts for more than one week
A trip to the emergency room would be warranted if:
- Baby has difficulty breathing (more than 60 breaths per minute)
- Breathing is rattling, raspy or wheezy
- Persistent difficulty feeding
- Coughing up blood or bloody mucus from the nose
- Blue tint to lips or nose
- Retraction of the ribs when breathing
- Flaring nostrils when breathing
- Persistent vomiting
This will certainly not be the last time you see yellow crusties on a bulb syringe; or sweat it out in your homemade bathroom sauna until a baby’s cough subsides. The realities of parenthood are both messy and rewarding. Here’s to a speedy recovery!