What to Do For Your Baby's Stuffy Nose

mom comforting baby

When you have a baby, there are many sounds you can’t get enough of -- like those adorable squeaks, coos and grunts. But if your baby has a stuffy nose and sounds like he or she is having trouble breathing, even the most experienced parent can worry.

Fortunately, you can take a variety of steps to help clear up your baby’s congestion so you can all breathe easy again.

Try these tips from Naser Danan, MD, a UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s pediatrician at Northeast Pediatrics.

Nose Drops and Suction

Squeeze one to two drops of saline nose drops in each nostril to help loosen any dried mucus and then use a rubber suction bulb.

To use it, first squeeze the bulb. Next, gently stick the tip of the bulb into a nostril. Finally, slowly release the bulb and it will pull out clogged mucus. Repeat on the other nostril.

“You may want to use saline nose drops before each feeding to help your baby breathe more easily while eating,” Dr. Danan says.

Raise the Humidity

Adding moisture to the air can keep mucus from drying up inside your baby’s nose.

One way to add humidity is with a humidifier. Set up a cool-mist humidifier in your baby’s room near the crib, but out of the baby’s reach. Regularly clean and dry it to keep bacteria or mold from growing inside.

“You could also try running a warm shower and sitting in the bathroom with your baby while he or she breathes in the warm, misty air,” Dr. Danan says.

Wipe It Away

Use a wet cotton swab to wipe away sticky mucus that may be blocking your baby’s nostrils.

When to Call the Doctor

If you have any concerns about your baby’s 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.”

Related links

UH Virtual Visit gives you convenient 24/7 access to quality non-emergency health care, using your phone, tablet or PC. Need to see a doctor? Find a pediatric primary care physician near you.

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