12 Ways To Help Your Congested Baby Breathe

12 Ways To Help Your Congested Baby Breathe

One of the most common ailments that newborns face is congestion. If you have a congested baby on your hands, you’re probably concerned and looking for ways to help your little one breathe better. You’re in luck! This post from the baby experts at Mustela will tell you just that.

We’ll start by explaining what might be causing your baby’s congestion. Then we’ll show you 12 easy ways to help your congested baby breathe easy.

close up of a baby sleeping peacefully on their back with head turned

What Causes Baby Congestion?

Babies face a number of different illnesses in their first year or two of life. From skin conditions like eczema and rashes to the common cold and other ordinary infections, infants have a tough time in the beginning as a result of their weak immune systems. A congested baby is nearly as common as a baby with clear sinuses.

So, what specifically makes a newborn especially susceptible to congestion? There are several good reasons why babies become congested so easily.

First of all, your baby spent their first nine months of existence submerged in amniotic fluid. After delivery, there may be residual amounts of fluid left in their sinuses, which can make your little one congested.

Second, your baby has teeny-tiny little airways, so breathing can be quite a chore. It’s perfectly normal for babies to sound like they’re having a hard time breathing on a regular basis.

Third, babies have not yet learned how to do things that adults would normally do to clear their sinuses—like blowing their noses or sniffling.

As if that’s not enough, babies catch viral and bacterial infections at a higher rate than older children and adults. This is because their immune systems are still developing and learning how to ward off illnesses. And on top of all that, newborns are far more sensitive to air irritants, like dust, pet dander, pollen, and smoke.

So there you have it! There are plenty of factors that could leave you with a congested baby. But let’s not spend any more time on what’s causing the problem. Instead, let’s focus on solutions.

mother holding her baby closely and kissing her on the forehead

12 Easy Ways To Help Your Congested Baby

While there are many different things that can make your baby congested, there are also several things you can do to clear their sinuses. Here are 12 easy ways to help your congested baby breathe and rest easy.

1) Keep Your Baby Hydrated

It’s always a good idea to ensure that your baby is adequately hydrated. This is especially crucial if your little one is congested.

Hydration is beneficial because the extra fluids can help flush out any excess mucus or other substances clogging your baby’s sinuses. Give your child plenty of breastmilk, formula, or both.

2) Remove Irritants From Your Baby’s Environment

As we mentioned earlier, your baby is extremely sensitive to air irritants like pollen, dirt, dust, and pet dander. An effective way to help your congested baby is to remove the obvious irritants from your baby’s environment.

Dust and sweep your home regularly. Leave windows closed when it’s windy and in the springtime when plants are blooming. If your little one seems extra sensitive, consider purchasing an air filter for your home.

3) Let Your Baby Sit Upright

When your baby is sitting upright, the forces of gravity will help draw out some of the mucus that’s clogging their sinuses. As such, letting your little one sit upright will help clear up their congestion. It’s best to hold your baby in your arms or put them in a supportive device, like a carrier wrap or sling.

mother looking down at her baby while cradling her in an upright position

4) Give Your Congested Baby Saline Drops

Nothing helps a congested baby like good, old-fashioned saline drops. Just one or two drops per nostril will do the trick. The saline solution will help flush out any mucus that’s causing the congestion in your baby’s sinuses.

5) Run A Humidifier

Dry air can lead to congestion in both adults and infants. One excellent way to clear your congested baby up is to run a humidifier in your baby’s room or nursery. It’s especially helpful to use a humidifier while your little one is sleeping.

baby sitting on top of storage cubes while mother holds her

6) Use The Right Skin Care Products

All babies have sensitive, delicate skin. This means that you need to use gentle, safe skin care products like Mustela’s.

To treat your congested baby, try Mustela Soothing Chest Rub. It’s hypoallergenic and made from 97 percent plant-based ingredients, including pine, rosemary, and chamomile. It’s free of Camphor, Menthol, and Eucalyptus, which can all be too harsh for babies.

The soothing scents will ease your baby’s breathing discomfort while also helping to clear their sinuses.

Mother soothing congested baby

7) Sit In A Steamy Bathroom With Your Baby

Run a hot shower and simply sit in the bathroom with your little one for a few minutes. The steam will help your congested baby breathe a bit easier.

Important note: only stay in a steamy bathroom for three to five minutes at a time. If it gets too hot or if your baby seems uncomfortable, it’s time to call the sauna session off.

8) Clear Mucus Away With A Nasal Aspirator

A nasal aspirator is a small device that looks like a drop applicator but is designed to draw things in rather than push them out. Nasal aspirators are a great way to help get rid of your congested baby’s excess mucus.

Simply press the air out of the aspirator, place it just inside of your baby’s nostril, and release the bulb to suck mucus out of your little one’s sinuses.

parent using a nasal aspirator to remove mucus from the nose of congested baby

9) Give Your Baby A Gentle Nasal Massage

A gentle nasal massage can help loosen and remove any substances clogging your little one’s sinuses. Simply use two fingers to gently rub the area around the top of your baby’s nose.

This can also include the region just under your little one’s eyebrows. Monitor your baby closely to make sure they’re not experiencing any discomfort.

10) Pat Your Baby’s Back

You’re probably already in the habit of burping your baby after each feeding session. Generally, all you need to do is gently pat your baby on the back and any excess mucus or fluid in their throat and sinuses will come right up. The same practice can help your congested baby breathe.

11) Place A Towel Under Your Baby’s Mattress

Placing a folded towel underneath one end of your baby’s mattress elevates their head while they sleep. The added height, even if it’s just an inch or two, will allow mucus to drain from your baby’s nose and mouth while they’re resting.

Just make sure to put the towel under the mattress, as no pillows or blankets should ever go in the crib with your baby while they sleep. Also, remember that you should always put your baby to sleep on their back.

12) Feed Your Baby Probiotics

A small dose of probiotics in your baby’s milk or formula can strengthen their immune system and help clear up any congestion. Look for probiotics with names like Bifidobacterium animalis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Bifidobacteria.

While research has shown that probiotics are safe and effective for newborns, it’s always best to check with your doctor before giving your baby anything other than milk.

newborn baby sleeping on their back in a onesie

Does Your Congested Baby Need To See A Doctor?

As we’ve already stated, having a congested baby is nothing out of the ordinary. However, there are some symptoms that may be problematic and will require a trip to see the doctor.

If your baby shows any of the following signs, head to your pediatrician’s office right away.

  • Difficulty breathing, particularly trouble inhaling
  • Rattling, raspy, or wheezing noises while breathing 
  • A fever
  • Persistent difficulty feeding
  • Coughing up blood or bloody mucus draining from the nose
  • Severe congestion that lasts more than four to five days

If your little one has any of these symptoms, see a healthcare professional ASAP.

With all of that said, chances are that your congested baby will be just fine. It’s safe to say that virtually every child will become congested at some point in their first year of life. It’s a completely normal—and completely treatable—condition.

So, there’s no need to worry! Simply follow the 12 easy steps we’ve shown you in this post and your congested baby will be breathing easily before you know it.

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