There is nothing more distressing for parents than to see their child struggling to breathe. If your baby is unable to breathe properly due to a blocked nose, this article could certainly help. Learn how to unclog baby’s nose without causing discomfort.
How can you tell if your baby has a stuffy nose? The symptoms…
Your baby is too small to ask for help! Know that your baby has a stuffy nose when,
- He breathes through his mouth
- He’s becoming irritable
- He snores while breathing. Snoring is an almost explosive noise coming out of the nose when forced breathing occurs
- He’s having trouble feeding himself. Because they breathe through their mouths, they can’t swallow food
A newborn, however, may have a blocked nose and may sniffle during breathing in the first few days of life. This is because in the womb, it was completely bathed in amniotic fluid and some of that fluid may still be in the nose. Sometimes such a newborn sneezes during the first two days in an attempt to get rid of this fluid left in the nasal cavity.
What are the causes of a blocked nose in babies?
The causes that can cause a blocked nose in children, including toddlers are listed here.
- Dry air. Indoor heating, especially in winter, can dry out your baby’s nasal passages.
- Irritation from dustSmoke, perfumes, pollen… can be qualified as allergens and they could either cause a runny nose or a full nose.
- Viral infections like the common cold and flu. The immune system of toddlers and young babies is not yet strong enough and they can easily get infections.
Why is it essential to treat nasal congestion in babies as soon as possible?
It does not bother us so much when we have a blocked nose, because we can handle it more easily and can devise different ways of breathing. However, your baby has not yet adapted well to the environment and to his own internal systems. Thus, you should take immediate action to clear your child’s blocked nose as soon as possible because:
- Very small babies don’t know how to breathe through their mouths. They insist on breathing through their nose, even when they are blocked. If you see your baby struggling with a blocked nose and trying to breathe through it, show him/her how to breathe through the mouth. The good news is that babies are very good learners and can copy what you do. So help him breathe through his mouth when you clean his blocked nose.
- If you don’t clear your child’s stuffy nose and let him breathe through his mouth, you will not be able to feed him easily. The baby needs his mouth to hold the food and suck it. If the nose is blocked and the mouth does the work of breathing, how will your baby eat! It is urgent then to take immediate steps to clean your baby’s blocked nose.
Here are several effective ways to clear a child’s nose.
You can try the following methods to help clean your baby’s stuffy nose. However, if the baby continues to have difficulty breathing or feeding, consult your doctor or your baby’s pediatrician immediately. It may diagnose whether the baby has an infection or other medical condition that may be causing the stuffy nose. Some conditions require medical intervention.
1. Use a nasal saline solution (sea water) to moisten and drain your baby’s dry nose
If your baby’s stuffy nose is due to dryness of the nasal mucosaThe first thing you need to do is tomoisten your child’s nose. To do this, you need saline drops. You can also make the saline solution yourself.
- Nasal saline or homemade saline solution (steps given below in the instructions for this remedy)
- Clean and sterilized dropper
If you want to make a homemade saline solutionTake a cup of warm water and add 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Stir well to dissolve the salt completely. Make a fresh batch daily if necessary and store in a clean glass jar with a lid.
- Tilt your baby down onto his or her back.
- Keep baby’s chin tilted slightly back. You can do this by placing a rolled towel or small blanket under baby’s shoulders.
- Using the dropper, place one or two drops of saline solution into each of baby’s nostrils. If you are using store-bought nasal saline, squirt it into baby’s nostril once or twice.
- Clean the dropper afterwards. Do this after each use.
- After 30 to 60 seconds, turn your baby over and lay him on his stomach to help the nose drain the dried mucus.
You can also use a cloth or swab to catch the mucus outside the nostril. Do not insert them into your child’s nostrils. If your baby coughs or sneezes, the mucus will come out with the saline.This will help moisten the dry nose and may be enough to relieve your child’s congested nose. If your baby still has Difficulty breathing through the noseYou may need to useuse a plastic syringe or nasal aspirator to draw out the mucus. Do this 30-60 seconds after moistening your baby’s nose with saline.
Caution: Do not use saline solution for more than 4 days in a row. Also do not use it more than 2-3 times a day. Excessive use of saline solution can further dry out baby’s nose and aggravate the problem..
2. Use a bulb syringe to clean your child’s blocked nose
A bulb syringe is a very effective suction device for emptying baby’s stuffy nose. Here is how to use it.
- If your child’s nose is dry in addition to being congested, first moisten the nose using a nasal saline solution as explained in the previous remedy.
- Squeeze the syringe to empty it of air. This will create a vacuum.
- Now gently insert the rubber tip of the bulb syringe into a baby’s nostril.
- Slowly and gently release the pressure to allow the mucus to be drawn out of the nostril.
- Then remove the syringe from the baby’s nostril.
- Lightly press the syringe into a tissue or towel. This will expel the mucus.
- Clean and dry the syringe.
- Then repeat the process in baby’s other nostril. Check after 5-10 minutes. If your baby’s nose is still blocked, moisten the nose again with saline solution and repeat the process.
Do not use this method more than 2-3 times a day. Frequent use may irritate the soft lining of baby’s nose. Always clean the bulb syringe with warm soapy water after each use and dry completely before the next use.
Always use the syringe gently to clean your child’s blocked nose. If you squeeze too aggressively, the baby’s nasal tissue may become inflamed or may even bleed. This can make nasal congestion worse. Never do this when your baby is irritable or resists your attempt to clean his nose. Do this when your baby is calm and cooperative.
3. Acupressure points to unblock baby’s nose
Acupressure is a great way to clear a full nose. You can also use it for your baby. If the baby is too small, do it yourself but gently. Never apply too much pressure. In fact, just rub the acupressure points with your fingers for very small children. If your child is older, for example, about 8-10 years old, you can teach him to press the acupressure points himself to relieve his stuffy nose.
- Wash hands with warm water, dry after hand
- Place 2 fingers on each side of baby’s nose and massage the 2 Yingxiang acupuncture points gently for 1-2 minutes.
- From top to bottom, from the nose outwards, on both sides of the nose
To be done several times during the day, don’t forget, after the massage, to make the child drink a cup of hot or warm water.
4. Keep your baby hydrated to avoid dry, stuffy nose
One of the main causes of a stuffy nose in babies is dry air. So, it is necessary to keep them well hydrated. Even if baby’s nose is stuffy, moisturizing can help clear the stuffy nose. You can also put a warm (lukewarm) wet cloth over his eyes from time to time, covering the nose (except the nostrils) to increase his hydration.
If your baby is under 6 months oldyou don’t need to do anything else but breastfeed. Breast milk gives your baby the moisture he needs. Do not stop feeding your baby. If your baby is not able to suck milk because of a blocked nose, use any of the ways described above to clean the nose.
If your baby is over 6 months old and is taking foods other than breast milk, you can give him water and soups, broths, etc. to keep him hydrated.
5. Add moisture to the air
Adding moisture to the air can prevent mucus from drying inside your baby’s nose.
One way to add moisture is to use a humidifier. Install a cool-mist humidifier in your baby’s room near the crib, but out of reach. Clean and dry it regularly to prevent bacteria or mold from growing inside.
You could also try taking a hot shower and sitting in the bathroom with your baby while he breathes in the warm, misty air.