Infant Congestion - Natural Remedies for Baby Stuffy Nose
What Causes Infant Congestion?
Infant Congestion is when the nasal membranes swell due to infection or irritation, or when nasal mucus obstructs the nasal passageways. Infants don't have an open sinus passageway that connects the nose to the throat like children and adults do. This is evolutionary insurance to keep them from drowning while nursing. Babies only breathe through the nose so infant congestion can make feeding difficult and sleeping a nightmare.
Natural Remedies for Baby Stuffy Nose or Infant Congestion
Children's cold medications, including antihistamines, decongestants, and cough suppressants have been found in several studies to be ineffective and to potentially cause adverse reactions. It is always very difficult to get the dose of any medication correct in young babies. Natural remedies are the only safe course you have as a parent.
If nasal congestion is preventing your baby from feeding, try these remedies just before feeding and before naptime or bedtime.
Cures for Infant Nasal Congestion
Steam Infant Nasal Congestion Open
Turn on the shower to steam up the bathroom, then either give baby a warm bath or hangout in the bathroom for 10-15 minutes. You can also use a vaporizer in the baby's room. Warm vapor is better for a cold but be sure it is not close to the crib or in an area where your baby could get burned.
Irrigate with Saline or Breastmilk
Saline solution or breastmilk can be soothing to the inflamed membranes and help to loosen up dried mucus that may be blocking the nasal passages. You can buy infant or adult saline spray, or make your own using 1/4 teaspoon non-iodine table salt to 1 cup of gently warmed water. Use a dropper to get several drops in each nostril or use a wet cotton ball to squeeze several drops in. When irrigating the nose lay your baby down or tilt the head back and only do one nostril at a time. One benefit to the saline sprays versus a dropper is that they suddenly enter the nasal passages and can trigger sneezing, which can clear out the mucus.
Avoid Baby Nasal Syringes
Once you have used saline spray don't be tempted to use a baby nasal syringe. The suction these provide, as well as the rubbing of the syringe itself on the nasal membranes, can be irritating which in turn can cause even more inflammation and worsen or prolong the congestion.
An old fashioned way to clean out infant nasal congestion was to gently suck the mucus out by placing your mouth over the nostrils. If you do try this method be sure to suck only very gently and for only a few seconds at a time so your baby can breathe, keeping in mind that he can only breathe through his nose.
Wash all bedding and remove any airborne irritants
Nasal mucus, like nasal hair that develops later, is designed to protect the lungs and other organs by keeping foreign irritants out. Airborne irritants like perfumes, fragrances, smoke, or dust can all cause the body to produce extra mucus. Try changing your infant care products to all natural baby products that don't have any fragrances. Be sure to rinse the laundry an extra time and avoid detergents that contain fragrances or scents. Don't trust the label on the box if it says "fragrance free". Hold the box close to your nose and smell it.
Elevating your baby's head can help keep the airways free for naps and night time sleep. The only way to safely elevate your baby high enough to provide any real relief is with a infant sleeping wedge that has a harness or sling to prevent your baby from rolling down to the foot of the crib. During the day you may need to wear your baby or keep him upright in a swing or bouncy seat.
Aromotherapy Chest Rub
Certain essential oils can help keep the nasal passages open but many are unsafe for young babies. Our baby vapor rub is an all natural, non-petroleum based product that is safe for use with all ages. It can be placed directly on and around your baby's nostrils, chest, back and foot soles for maximum benefit.
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