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Is your baby congested? Looking for ways to decongest your baby? Look no further. Here are some natural steps and remedies to help alleviate your little ones congestion. These tricks will work for any age just adjust as appropriate (i.e.: instead of crib think toddler bed). Speaking of toddlers, if you have a toddler he might be capable of blowing his nose already. If you are wondering how to teach your child to blow his nose checkout my post on How to Teach Your Child to Blow Their Nose.
Tools to Decongest Your Baby
There are several tools that are not necessary, but very helpful to have on hand just in case your baby gets congested. Some decongestion essentials:
- nasal aspirator (this is the one we have although any one would work)
- saline drops (these only have 2 ingredients)
- humidifier or diffuser
- baby carrier or baby wrap
What to do to help decongest baby?
When baby is congested there are 5 simple steps to help baby with congestion
- Make Sure Baby is Hydrated
- Loosen Mucus
- Remove Mucus
- Encourage Nasal Drainage
- Comfort Baby
I will break them down in a moment for you.
Hydration is Vital
Decongest your baby by making sure your stuffy nosed baby is hydrated. Hydration is important in ensuring that her sinuses will drain. It also serves as a good marker of how serious this illness is. If baby is still eating and drinking producing a good amount of wet diapers it is a good sign that baby is not seriously sick.
Mother’s breast milk is really great for illness in little children. If you have not already learned about how mother’s milk changes according babies needs. Then you should read up about that here. When your baby is sick your milk adjusts to provide optimal nutrients needed to heal your baby.
So if your little one is congested it is a good opportunity to nurse all day long.
But what if you’re not nursing? If your little one is eating solids water is also a great source of hydration for little ones. It is a good idea to keep offering water periodically when your babe is congested.
Loosen the Mucus to Relieve Congestion
There are several ways to loosen mucus in your child’s nose. If you are at home the simplest way to loosen mucus is to take your baby into a steamy bathroom. Run the shower for a bit and allow the bathroom to get nice and steamy (but not too hot). Take baby into the steamy bathroom and let him inhale the steam. This will help moisten the mucus and help it run out of baby’s nose.
Another way to decongest your baby is to utilize saline drops. Saline drops are made up of salt and water. They help to loosen up the mucus by creating a fine mist to go up baby’s nose. Salt dehydrates the mucus and the water helps it to get it up there. It also helps the mucus to drip out. If you have ever use a neti pot or a sinus rinse it is the same idea. Just made gentler for little babies.
Humidifiers or diffusers can also a great tool for loosening the mucus that is congesting your baby. Simply place the humidifier in the same room as baby is while sleeping. The humidifier will help to moisten the air which helps with the gunk in your child’s nose as she sleeps.
If you feel comfortable using essential oils you can do that too. Just be sure to use proper dilution and do some research on which oils are safe for you little one. Depending on your child’s age you may just want to use purified water. Be sure to clean your humidifier when not in use. The last thing you want is a moldy diffuser in the same room as your sick baby. Here is a great post explaining how to clean your humidifier if you don’t know how.
Removing mucus from to decongest your baby’s nose can be done simply with a tissue if the congestion is not too deep. I personally love using the Nose Frida for when our babies have congestion. It might seem like a disgusting product, but anyone who has been a parent long enough has a higher tolerance for gross-ness (that isn’t a word)
Bulb syringes work just as well too if you have one from the hospital that is super handy. I personally have a harder time with the bulb syringe. In a pinch I can make the bulb syringe work, but I do prefer the NoseFrida for sure.
Be sure to clean out whatever tool you use well and thankfully it is relatively affordable to replace the bulb syringe or to change out the filters on the NoseFrida.
Encourage Nasal Drainage
A really helpful non invasive way to help to decongest your baby is to encourage nasal drainage. I personally love to do lymphatic drainage massage videos when I am starting to feel congested. This is my go to, but all of them on Youtube are really great. If my little ones if they will let me I like to do an even more gentle version. You can also checkout this video, if you want a massage more tailored for children. If you want to find your own you can look up “sinus drainage massage” on Youtube.
Another helpful way to encourage nasal drainage is to prop baby up whenever possible. You can roll up a towel and stick it under your baby’s crib mattress. This will slightly incline the side that baby’s head will be on helping the sinuses to drain. If you have a baby swing or bouncer you may want to allow baby to sleep in there, under supervision. A slight incline will prevent mucus from dripping down baby’s throat. Otherwise your little one might have hard time falling asleep.
After Doing Your Best to Decongest Your Baby, Comfort Him
Once you have done your best to decongest baby. Just snuggle him up. He may not feel very good, but there is something about being held and comforted that really eases most pains.
Baby wearing is a simple way to hold your baby close to you and upright (for the congestion), while doing other things. At first your little one might not like the idea of you moving around, but once she is asleep you will be able to move freely. I have several types of carriers and each work differently and have certain benefits.
My go to carrier is my ergo. The ergo is simple to put on because it is a structured carrier and has two buckles for securing. I also like that it is fairly breathable. Other options to consider are the solly or a ring sling.
The solly is great especially if you are in a colder climate or have AC. In Hawai’i I find that most times it leaves me and baby dripping in sweat, but it is a great option and really gives you the opportunity to get baby snug. Plus the prints and colors are SOOOO CUTE.
The last option and my least favorite of the three is the ring sling. The ring sling takes some getting used to and even though I have been using it more I find that I still struggle sometimes to get the fit right. Plus unlike the other two carriers you have to completely undo it to get your little one out which is inconvenient. However, it will do the trick if you only have a ring sling on hand.
Breastfeed for Comfort
Nursing your baby to comfort her can be a great thing to do when she is sick. If you are breastfeeding offer to breast feed your child and use that time to intentionally comfort her. The time goes by so quickly and even though it may have ruined your time to yourself in the evening to be comforting a little baby. You will never get these moments back to care for her in this way.
If this is the first time your baby is congested chances are it won’t be the last. It is very hard to see your child in discomfort, but know it will get better eventually. Do not hesitate to reach out to other mamas (myself included) if you are concerned. We have all been there. If you are concerned for baby’s safety reach out to a medical professional, most doctors these days have an easy way to get in contact right away. Take baby to the hospital or urgent if you are concerned he is not breathing.
Have a congested toddler?
Check out my post on how to teach your child to blow their nose (easy).
If you have any tricks up your sleeve for decongesting a baby please leave a comment below to help out a mother in need.
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This is such a well-written and practical post!
Good tutorial! I have the hardest time getting my boys to cooperate when I need to suction mucus from their noses. Any tips?
My best tip is to make it a game, I pretend we are playing and the game is I am going to put the snot sucker to your nose. Instead of screaming it usually results in laughing which makes the whole process easier!
Thanks for the tips! This is absolutely a no fun time for mama or babies.
Agreed! Thanks for stopping by.