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Baby Congestion: How to Clear Baby’s Stuffy Nose

how to clear baby's nose

Baby congestion can be hard to handle, and play with your mommy feelings. A baby with a stuffy nose are cranky and miserable, and as a parent, it hurts your heart to see your baby all congested and crying. A baby’s stuffy nose can make it hard for her to breathe well, and if you’re breastfeeding, it can make it more difficult for your baby to nurse well. Young babies under four months old with congestion can have a difficult time sleeping and feeding, so it’s your job to clear your baby’s congested, stuffy nose and get them to feeling better soon.

Infants can’t blow their nose – they don’t start learning how to until they’re toddlers. It’s up to you to help your baby feel better – fast. So what can you do to clear your baby’s congested, stuffy nose?

Saline Nasal Spray or Drops

You cannot use medicate nasal sprays in babies, but you can purchase saline nasal sprays or drops. These are basically salt water solutions that you can buy over-the-counter at any pharmacy. They will help thin your baby’s mucus.

Can be used with a baby nasal aspirator (below).

To use a saline nasal spray or drops, hold squirt or spray a few drops into each nostril. Your baby will probably sneeze some of the spray out; just wipe his nose with a tissue and keep fingers crossed more sneezes with mucus comes out.

Baby Nasal Aspirator (or Bulb Syringe) to Suck Out His Snot

Make sure you find a nasal aspirator that is designed for infants in mind. There are many nasal aspirators made for infants on the market – the Nosefrida Snotsucker Nasal Aspirator is one of the most popular styles, but a cheap bulb syringe will also do the trick.

To use a traditional bulb syringe, squeeze the bulb to create a vacuum, and gently insert the tip into your infant’s stuffed up nostril. Slowly release the bulb, and this will suck up his snot. Gently remove the bulb syringe and take it to the bathroom sink. Rinse the bulb and repeat. Please be very gentle when suctioning. You do not want to inflame your baby’s nasal passage.

You may want to use saline nasal drops (or the spray) into the stuffed nostril before trying to suctioning.

If your baby is still congested after using a baby nasal aspirator or bulb syringe, use more saline drops.

Caution: avoid suctioning more than three times a day or else you may end up irritating your baby’s nasal lining.

The newer, more advanced baby nasal aspirators work differently than a traditional bulb syringe. Make sure that you read the instructions before using them.

Some of the newer infant nasal aspirators have you using your mouth to gently suck out your baby’s mucus.

Be sure to thoroughly clean your nasal aspirator or bulb syringe with soap and water and rinse well after use.

Get Your Infant to Sneeze

When all else fails, try to get your baby to sneeze. Sometimes, sneezing can get a lot of gunk out of his nose and clear him up and give him some much needed relief.

You can try tickling the end of his blocked nostril to get him to sneeze. Another way is to gently blow into one of his nostrils.

Some moms use a little bit of black pepper to induce a sneeze.

Use a Humidifier in Baby’s Room

You can ease your infant’s congestion by making sure the air in his nursery is moist. Use a humidifier or vaporizer to help loose the mucus.

If you don’t have a humidifier, you can also steam up your bathroom, take baby in there, and close the door.

About the author: DP Nguyen is founder and editor of Hip Chick’s Guide to PMS, Pregnancy and Babies. She’s an expert pregnancy and women’s health blogger. She is NOT a medical doctor and does NOT offer medical advice. Connect with her on Google+, Twitter and Facebook.

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Betty February 19, 2017, 7:44 am

    I’ve used all of the suggestions and my 4 month old stuffy nose won’t come out. It is really stuck. AT what point should I take her to the ER?

  • Barbara July 13, 2016, 2:20 am

    Excellent info here, I am currently doing some research and found exactly what I was looking for. Thanks!

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  • Jack Palmer March 3, 2016, 7:35 am

    It’s really good to know that, “You cannot use medicate nasal sprays in babies, buy you can purchase saline nasal sprays or drops.” My wife is expecting and It kind of hit me the other day that I have no idea how to take care of a baby! Now I’m probably over thinking everything, but at least we will be prepared. I want to be able to know what to do if our baby is sick. Thanks for the advice!

  • Teia August 6, 2015, 2:17 am

    My baby is allergic to dust. I made my own saline drops, it’s easy and economical though saline drops in drug stores are really cheap.

  • Nikolett Ludányi July 22, 2015, 5:22 pm

    The blocked nose is everyone’s nightmare!i was so frustrated when my Firstborn got cold or Flu.So many night awake.Anyway..
    One Mum -from our local children centre -recommended the Arianna Vacuum Nasal Aspirator .It cleans your little one nose safely as nothing else .
    You can easily purchase from EBay .
    I hope I could help and you could easily survive the next “bug time”!

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