On Your Health

Check back to the INTEGRIS On Your Health blog for the latest health and wellness news for all Oklahomans.

Nasal Congestion: How To Clear Your Baby's Nose Naturally

A common rite of passage into parenthood is clearing out your baby’s nose for the first time. It can be scary and there are often tears involved. But don’t worry, it will get easier. Hopefully, these natural home remedies can help make the experience a little less stressful and help you clear your baby’s nose like a pro.

How to tell if your baby’s nose is clogged

Other than obvious signs of a cold or infection, if your baby snorts, has noisy breathing, finds it difficult to feed or is very irritable, it could be because of a stuffy nose. Another sign your baby is congested is when your baby is breathing through his/her mouth.

If your baby is really stuffed up and is having trouble breathing, it can be a bit concerning, especially when it comes to sleeping and eating. Here are some natural ways you can help clear your baby’s nose, so you both get some relief.

Use saline drops or spray

One of easiest ways to clear a baby’s or toddler’s nose is to use a saline nasal spray. Nasal spray works by thinning out the mucus, allowing the nose to clear out and ease congestion.

If you can’t run to the store for saline drops or spray, try mixing one cup of warm, filtered water and a ½ teaspoon of salt. Make sure your mixture is completely cooled before using.

Try tilting your baby’s head back and spraying or squeezing a couple of drops inside the nose. Then, follow with some tummy time or by tilting your baby on its side, allowing the mucus to drain. Keep a soft tissue handy to wipe his/her nose.

Try a steam session

Steam can work wonders for nasal congestion by loosening dry congestion. Try steaming the bathroom by turning your shower on hot and allowing the steam to build up in the bathroom. Sit with your baby or breastfeed there for about 20 minutes. Try using peppermint or eucalyptus essential oils in the water to help make breathing easier.

Place a humidifier in the baby’s room

Fill a humidifier and run it in the baby’s room. Try not to use Vicks medication – the moisture alone when placed close to the crib can help the baby breathe while sleeping.  In fact, even when your baby isn’t sick, a humidifier adds moisture into dry air which can help relieve irritated, dry skin.

Sleeping positions for a blocked nose

If you’re like any new parent, you often wake several times throughout the night to check on your baby, especially if your baby is sick. If you’re afraid your baby isn’t breathing well, try and raise the mattress by placing a rolled towel underneath, which will gently raise the baby’s head. Remember to never place loose items inside the crib to prevent choking hazards.

If you are looking to provide relief during the day, give your little one some extra tummy time which allows mucus to drain.

Natural chest rubs

You can make a natural chest rub at home using a thick lotion and essential oils such as lavender, chamomile and eucalyptus to help your baby with a congested nose. If you want over-the-counter rubs, there are natural products such as Zarbee's chest rub that you can buy. Chest rubs work well right before bedtime. Simply rub a small amount on your baby’s chest to soothe him/her to sleep.

Nasal aspirator

Last, but certainly not least, is a nasal aspirator. Some of the most popular devices used today are the NoseFrida nasal aspirator or the traditional bulb syringe. Both work well in combination with the other nose clearing techniques already discussed. For example, use a little saline spray to loosen up the mucus and follow up with the nasal aspirator. This will really get all the gunk out and leave your baby breathing much better.

Why natural is best for babies

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, over-the-counter cough and cold medicine makers have responded to the FDA ruling that their products must not be given to children under age four by removing them from store shelves. Research has shown these products offer little benefit to young children, and can have potentially serious side effects and a high chance of overdose when mixed with other medications.

Children’s at Baptist Medical Center

INTEGRIS Health Children’s at Baptist Medical Center provides comprehensive services for children, from newborns in our neonatal intensive care unit to a continuum of inpatient and outpatient care throughout adolescence. We’re here when you need us.